Mal Brown Scrimmage Thoughts

Providence held its annual Mal Brown scrimmage and about 1500 fans showed up to acquaint themselves with a young and new team.

Black Team – Marshon Brooks, Kadeem Batts, Brian McKenzie, Vincent Council, Bilal Dixon, Johnnie Lacy.

White Team – Duke Mondy, Kyle Wright, Luke Burchett, Russ Permenter, James Still, Xavier Davis, Chris Carter.

First of all, the Mal Brown scrimmage was played without Sharaud Curry and Jamine Peterson. Both were a little banged up, but not injured, and were held out just as an opportunity for them to heal up and get ready for an intense week of practice leading up to the first exhibition game next Saturday.

Without Curry, the White Team was at a distinct disadvantage, as they were playing without a scholarship point guard. For most of the scrimmage, which consisted of one twenty-minute half, Luke Burchett was the one bringing the ball up court and he struggled against stiff man pressure, turning the ball over four times. Duke Mondy, also not a true point guard, helped later in the scrimmage, and he did passably well handling the pressure. With Council and Lacy both on the same team, it was obvious that Keno Davis wanted to see the two on the floor together.

Rather than go into detail on how the scrimmage played out (the Black Team won by a 43-32 score), what follows is a player-by-player breakdown:

Marshon is a player who has the chance to play at the next level. Brooks scored a scrimmage-high 18 points, on 6-13 shooting, had 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Did everything well, except shoot threes (0-2). Threw a pair of beautiful no-look passes. Scored well going to the basket. Played tough pressure defense. Brooks was by far the best player on the court and seems primed to take a big step forward this season. Consistency will be his key.

Scored four points on 2-5 shooting, including 0-2 on threes, had 6 rebounds and 3 assists. McKenzie's two field goals were layups, one with forty seconds left. He hit the glass and played tough on Kyle Wright on defense, but was largely invisible throughout the scrimmage. Has obvious talent and ability but the feeling remains that, as a senior, he should be more productive.

Council looks ready to start right now. He had 6 points on 1-7 shooting, and hit 1-4 threes. Also had an assist and 5 steals. Council handles the ball very well and makes some spectacular no-look passes. When he and Johnnie Lacy were on the floor together, it was Council who brought the ball up and ran the offense. Needs to improve his shooting as he has a little hitch at the top of his form. After Brooks, was maybe the second best player on the floor and can really get after it defensively, poking at the ball and anticipating well. Not a speed merchant but quick enough and very solid.

The big man anchored the middle on defense and scored 8 points on 3-9 shooting, along with 6 rebounds and a block. Dixon misses a lot of inside shots but he battles and is extremely emotional and energetic. Not afraid to use his body. Does not possess exceptional leaping ability but will stay after rebounds. Will probably score most of his points on put backs and second attempts.

Lacy scored 5 points on 2-5 shooting (1-3 threes), had 2 assists and a steal. Smaller and faster than Council, Lacy played mostly off the ball. When he does handle it, he tends to overdribble and dribble into trouble. Passes very well though and has the definite ability to hit shots. Streaky shooter who can also get after it defensively.

Batts was very quiet once again. He scored 2 points on 1-3 shooting, had 2 rebounds and was 0-2 from the charity stripe. He certainly looks like a Big East big forward, but he has very little offensive game at this point. A decent defender inside, he'll also use his body and battle for rebounds. Needs to develop his overall game to make an impact at this level… or he may just have picked the two times we saw him to play unproductively.

Mondy led the White Team with 11 points, on 4-8 shooting, including 3-6 threes. He had 2 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and 3 turnovers. Without question, Mondy was the most impressive three point shooter on the floor for the second time watching the team. He plays very composed, makes the right pass, and is a decent defender. Style-wise, he reminds you a little of a young Michael Brown, and he has a chance to carve some serious playing time for himself. He tried to put the White Team on his shoulders.

Wright scored 8 points on 4-7 shooting, including 0-1 from three, had 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Wright scored his four buckets on four drives to the basket, resulting in two layups and two dunks. Can certainly penetrate and drive in the open floor. Definitely has a hitch/push in his three point stroke and he did not look to shoot it much. Anticipates well on defense and puts the ball on the floor well. Is a bit of a tweener and we'd feel better if we saw him make even one three pointer in warm-ups.

Big Russ scored 7 points on 3-6 shooting, pulled down 6 rebounds and had 2 blocks. Permenter is another high energy player who plays tough inside. He grabs rebounds in a crowd and has a nice ten-twelve foot jumper. He needs to be a little more consistently assertive and active, but he can be a productive player for the Friars.

This intriguing big man scored 3 points on 1-8 shooting, had 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Without question, Still is a natural shotblocker and has great instincts. He looked stronger with the ball than he did a week ago, but still needs to bulk up to reach his vast potential. A long, active rebounder, Still needs to learn better shot selection as he falls in love with the twelve foot jumper, but doesn't make them. Still, his form and rotation are good, and in time, he has a chance to be very good.

Of the walk-ons, Luke Burchett (0 points, 0-1 shooting) played the most, but Xavier Davis showed a nice outside jumper with 4 points on 2-2 shooting.

Shooting could be a concern for this team. Outside of Mondy, no one has shown the ability to consistently hit threes, although Curry and Brooks are proven commodities. Free throw shooting was spotty, although the Friars, who played strictly straight pressure man defense, generated a lot of steals. One week of practice to go, and the real games begin.

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