Many are aware of Oklahoma State’s prolific backcourt, but they are comprised of more than just Marcus Smart and Le’Bryan Nash. Cowboys junior guard, Markel Brown, is a major factor for their success to this point in the season. A lot of defensive attention goes to Smart and Nash, and Brown has been quietly taking advantage of that. To this point in the season, Brown is averaging 15.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. He has had some stellar performances throughout the season, and his level of play has improved considerably in conference play. His numbers are up across the board from last year, which is a sign of his increased responsibility and understanding of his role on the team. His 3-point shooting is up to 40% for this season, and he is also enjoying and taking advantage of more shot opportunities.
Despite a 1-of-10 shooting effort in a loss at Baylor, Brown has reached double figures in scoring in all but one conference game. Brown had a stellar game in a prime time match ups with Kansas, especially from the perimeter. He hit 7-of-10 3’s en route to a 28 point, two rebound, four assist performance.
Brown has a solid body and frame, at 6’3” and 190 pounds. His shooting form is technically sound and consistent. He has deep range, well beyond the college 3. The only down side to his shooting form is that his release is just a touch slow. It takes him a little bit more time to gather himself, but his body and shoulders are square to the basket. He is fundamentally sound as a ball handler, and often shares ball-handling duty with Smart. He moves well off the ball and spaces the floor properly in transition. He has great vision and complements Smart well as a backcourt partner. He does a nice job of attacking the basket when he sees an opportunity and isn’t afraid to find his big men to finish at the rim.
Defensively, he really gets after it on the glass. He’s had several games with more than five rebounds. He can be an opportunistic defender, often shooting gaps and anticipating passes, but is a solid on ball defender as well. He’s got good lateral quickness and able to match up well with bigger point guards because of his height and length.
Overall, Brown is a solid prospect and certainly has the potential to be a NBA level point guard. His point guard skills are still developing and this is the position he will have to play at any professional level. He is a major reason Oklahoma State is ranked in the top 25 this season. He will likely have to stay for his senior season to convince scouts that he can be the primary ball handler for the Cowboys next year.
Amit Tailor is a Scout and Correspondent for NetScouts Basketball and covers the Big 12. Thanks to 1340thefan.com for the photo.