Brown Impresses in Centennial's Opening Win

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Playing in front of a packed house at Broughton's Holliday Gym, Centennial (GA) combo guard Lorenzo Brown was looking to impress in Centennial's opener of the 2008 GSK Invitational and he did just that.

Playing in front of a packed house at Broughton's Holliday Gym, Centennial (GA) combo guard Lorenzo Brown was looking to impress in Centennial's opener of the 2008 GSK Invitational and he did just that.

Facing an overmatched Ontario (Can.) Father Carr, Centennial jumped on them early and exploded to a 24-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The Knights cruised to a 64-40 win and was able to rest Brown and the starters for much of the fourth quarter.

Brown, a 6-foot-5 guard who is capable of playing three or four positions for Centennial, totaled 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. The Wolfpack signee added four assists, three rebounds, three steals, and three blocks, proving to be the difference in the game.

"I tried to come out and play my game," said Brown. "I knew there were some NC State fans here... I liked it a lot. I felt welcomed."

"I told my guys that he is a star, and he played like a superstar," Father Carr head coach Paul Melnik said of Brown. "His teammates believe in him. He's a big guard, and he was very difficult for us to defend."

"He's a complete player," said Centennial head coach Allen Whitehart. "He gives the ball up... he's a big team player. NC State is lucky to get him. I think he's going to do great things for NC State. He's just the ultimate basketball player. He does everything well."

Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is the first international team to play in the 37-year history of the GSK. The team has won the competitive Toronto Catholic school championship three straight years (2006-08) and finished 46-5 last season but was never able to get going against Centennial.

Father Carr looks to pressure and play an uptempo style but was unable to play their game against Centennial's offensive attack led by guards Devonta White, Ryan Fleming, and Brown.

"We're so interchangeable at guard between the three of them," said coach Whitehart. "Lorenzo is going to be a poitn guard in college... great things happen when the ball is in his hands. Devonta's a natural point guard and Ryan is a point guard. With our three guards, we're interchangeable... it's really whoever gets the ball.

"Lorenzo is comfortable anywhere on the floor... he'll even play the post for us against bigger teams, and he doesn't mind that because he's the consummate team player. I'm just fortunate. It's a lot easier to coach when you have really good, strong, talented basketball players and that's what I'm fortunate to have."

Wolfpack head coach Sidney Lowe and assistants Monte Towe and Larry Harris were in the building for Saturday's game. Pack players Simon Harris, Tracy Smith, Trevor Ferguson, C.J. Williams, and Julius Mays were also spotted catching the action. Brown, who watched last night's games with his team from the stands, has been impressed with the atmosphere.

"It's crazy here," he said. "I was here last night when a lot of people came out to watch [John] Wall and C.J. [Leslie] play. Those two play good together... made a lot of plays for the crowd. It would be crazy if we got to play them, but I think they are in the other bracket."

With the win Centennial improved to 7-1 on the season and advanced to the semifinals in their bracket of the 2008 GSK Holiday Invitational. They return to the court Monday at 5:40 against Knightdale High School. Knightdale upset Richland (TX) High on Saturday.


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