Engel Evaluations

Patrick breaks down SMU hoops prospects: SG Brandon Sampson, SG Bruce Brown and SG Mark Crowe.

Bruce Brown

2016 SG, Vermont Academy (Saxtons River, VT)

SCORING: Brown is a good but not elite scorer, but is more patient and deliberate than Sampson. He picks his spots well and can shoot from all three levels. Like Sampson, he excels in transition, but is a more polished half-court scorer. He isn’t a super high-volume three-point shooter, but will shoot off the dribble, off screens and kick-outs. Brown is a good slasher who finishes well through contact at the rim and hits a lot of field goals around the rim, making him a pretty efficient offensive player. He will need a little ball handling work to be a good slasher at the college level, but his active hands should allow him to make those improvements. He’s even got a tiny bit of a post game to him; he can make short hook shots over slightly bigger guards who defend him.

PLAYMAKING ABILITY: The junior is a playmaker in transition and in the half court. He’s a tough player who isn’t afraid of contact and comes up with big buckets that get his teammates fired up. Brown is a good passer in transition, but isn’t the type to run an offense through in the half-court. At 6-foot-3, he won’t pull down a lot of rebounds, but his toughness helps him pull some away. He has a tough, attacking mentality that helps him make the gritty plays that can swing momentum in a game. He’s a smart player who will look for the best shot and relentlessly go for it.

DEFENSE: Defensively, Brown is a stud. He’s a bit undersized and won’t be a true off-ball defender in college, but has quickness and enough length to defend both guard spots. His quickness plus active hands helps him come up with steals on the perimeter. His toughness, grittiness and quick feet make him a sticky perimeter defender as well.

SIDE NOTE: Brown was considering a move up to 2015, with Indiana as a good bet to land him. However, those talks have quieted but not died completely.

OFFERS: SMU, Indiana, Georgetown, UConn, Michigan, UCLA, Boston College, Xavier, Providence, VCU, among others. HT: 6-3
WT: 185 pounds
RANKING: Scout’s No. 52 overall player in the Class of 2016 and No. 7 shooting guard.

Bruce Brown's mixtape

Brandon Sampson

2015 SG, Madison Prep Academy (Baton Rouge, La.)

SCORING: Sampson is an aggressive wing scorer with top-tier athleticism. He attacks the rim well, but also mixes in a nice jump shot and plenty of three-point range. Louisiana’s reigning Mr. Basketball isn’t afraid to hoist it from deep; he can shoot off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot spots. At 6-foot-4 and with a high release on his jumper, he will shoot over just about anyone. His athleticism shows up in some highlight-reel dunks, but his ball-handling in traffic could use a little cleaning up. Sampson is smooth and fast, which helps him win in transition and finish above the rim.

PLAYMAKING ABILITY: The 6-foot-4, 175-pound Sampson is not known for beating a man 1-on-1 and taking it to the hoop, so he isn’t an elite playmaker in the half-court offense. He’s a nightmare in transition though with his speed and killer instinct. While he has plenty of range with his jumper, he can go hot-and-cold and sometimes get a little trigger-happy. Sampson wins in transition and might need a little bit of adjusting to the college game and dribbling improvement before he becomes a true half-court playmaker on offense. Adding weight will speed up the learning curve on both ends of the floor. But he’ll bring explosiveness in transition and shooting help right away.

DEFENSE: Sampson has enough size that he can play exclusively off-ball defense in college. He has needs to get stronger, but has length, athleticism and quickness to lock up opponent once he adds the weight. He has the versatility to defend an opponent’s one-, two- or three-man. The Madison Prep senior is probably best defending a point guard or off-guard right away, or playing at the top of a zone.

SIDE NOTE: Sampson played AAU for Team Louisiana Elite.

OFFERS: Sampson is considering St. John’s, SMU, LSU, Oklahoma State, Cal and Oklahoma. The former Red Storm commit decided to rethink his options after Steve Lavin was fired at SJU. HT: 6-4
WT: 180 pounds
RANKING: Scout’s No. 62 overall player in the Class of 2015 and No. 19 shooting guard

Brandon Sampson at the NBPA Top 100 Camp

Mark Crowe

2016 SG, Woodrow Wilson HS (Dallas)

SCORING: Crowe isn’t a go-to scorer, but he provides a steady presence on the wing that will pump out 10 points most nights. He’s got plenty of length at 6-foot-5 and has a nice three-point stroke. Crowe shot 56 percent (35 of 62) from downtown in his junior season, but he’s not the type to jack up four or five threes per game. He won’t shoot off the dribble much; he takes most of his threes on designed open looks, coming off screens or kick-outs, kinds of in the mold of Sterling Brown. The patient but accurate three-point shooting Crowe brings makes him a highly efficient offensive player. Crowe can be a slasher and is a solid finisher, but he isn’t one to fight through a lot of contact, often opting to be patient and get a defender to overcommit. He also comes off screens a lot for clear lanes to the basket. A little more weight added to his 180-pound frame could help him become better through contact. He makes up for it with a nice mid-range game and consistent short pull-up jumper.

PLAYMAKING ABILITY: Flashy plays aren’t Crowe’s calling card, but he has a high basketball IQ and usually makes the smart basketball play. Crowe isn’t a “floor general” like a point guard, but he will pass up a shot to give a teammate a better look, showing his awareness and heady play. I think he’s a little similar to Sterling Brown: both won’t jump out but always make the hustle plays, do the little things that make a big difference (getting 50/50 balls) and have a knack for making timely shots or pulling down clutch rebounds. Crowe is a good player in transition too, making smart passes and ensuring his team takes advantage of odd-man situations. Overall, Crowe is his team’s glue guy who does a little bit of everything.

DEFENSE: Crowe’s length helps him on defense, where can guard one through three. He’s actives with his arms and hands, which is a big reason he averaged 1.3 steals per game and 4.5 rebounds per game in his junior season. He isn’t a lockdown defender on the perimeter like Sterling Brown, at least not yet. He has the potential to get there if he gets stronger, which is necessary if teams want him to guard college small forwards. He would fit in nicely at the top of a zone defense but still has solid man-to-man skills on defense.

SIDE NOTE: Crowe plays AAU for the Dallas Mustangs, along with SMU prospects Nate Morris and T.J. Vasher.

OFFERS: SMU, Rice, Louisiana Tech HT: 6-5
WT: 180 pounds
RANKING: Not ranked

Mark Crowe's Mixtape

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