In basketball, being a little guy can become a tall order, but Tookie Brown makes it work. The 5-10 senior point guard at Madison (Ga.) Morgan County fully utilizes the positive aspects of being small while compensating for many of the inherent disadvantages.
He clearly understood the significance of his individual matchup versus elite junior point guard Dennis Smith on Saturday, and he delivered a resounding performance to lead Morgan Country to a hard-fought victory in which they needed Brown's poise down the stretch.
He tallied 14 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and four steals versus his more heralded foe, turning the ball over only twice against constant pressure from an athletic team.
Brown relies primarily on outstanding quickness and speed. He boasts top-shelf reflexes and might be even more impactful on defense than offense, at least in terms of his athleticism. He gets under the dribble of opposing ballhandlers and rips away steals. He victimized Smith once in a one-on-one play as Smith raced to the rim, casually poking the ball away and racing in the other direction.
His speed shows up on offense as well. He loves to get ahead on the break and can finish with dunks (!), exploding off one foot and throwing it down with two hands.
Brown's strength also carries high value. He's built like a linebacker and, combined with his athletic gifts, is a tough finisher at the rim who seems to enjoy contact. He does get his shot blocked some, as you'd expect for a 5-10 player, but he'll also draw some fouls at the SEC level.
His jump shot looks streaky. He doesn't possess poor mechanics but does shoot a heavy ball and does feature a release with a slight hitch, so he doesn't get much margin for error when the ball hits the rim.
Because he's strong, quick and tough, he's likely to earn early playing time in Starkville. The Bulldogs have limped out of the gate to a 5-5 record, and the program needs a surge of talent and energy. Brown can provide that yet remains committed to further improvement, and he already feels a high degree of comfort with the coaching staff and program.
"I just felt like it was home," Brown said about his commitment. "They made me feel like a part of the family, and they recruited me since my sophomore year."
He said the coaches already have ideas about how to deploy him next season and beyond.
"They like that I know my role on the team and that I can control tempo," Brown said.
Given that the Bulldogs are playing at a slower pace this year, his ability to speed up the offense could help considerably.
Brown appears to be just what the program needs, and his play in Columbia has reinforced his reputation for surpassing expectations and tackling all comers.