Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the recruit: Malcolm Brogdon

Name: Malcolm Brogdon
Position: SG
Hometown: Norcross, GA
School: Greater Atlanta Christian
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 200

ESPN: 90; #47 SG
Rivals: four stars; #26 SG; #102 nationally
Scout: four stars; #22 SG; #87 nationally

Other offers: Clemson, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Butler, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Georgia, Providence, various mid-majors

Tony Bennett's plan of attack on the recruiting warpath is starting to settle into a pattern. We're still not able to snag the Marshall Plumlees of the world. If a guy has a great junior year, or has been a prospect for even longer than that, and other schools (the likes of which we're aiming to compete with, like Duke or even just Maryland) are onto him, UVA might get a long look but in the end someone else closes the deal.

So you take a look at the camp circuit, because there are always players blowing up there. Players like K.T. Harrell and Paul Jesperson. Enter Malcolm Brogdon, whose story you've heard before. He's a superstar fish in a smallish pond, leading his team to a state championship at the AA level in Georgia (GA has levels A through 5A, the latter being the highest) and gets major-league pub for the state's Mr. Basketball in 2011. (And 2010, though he didn't win it.) He had a smattering of offers after his junior year and was choosing between Clemson, Georgia, and Minnesota until he played in the Peach Jam, one of the top AAU tournaments nationwide. Suddenly his offers tripled. He must have done okay.

So Bennett swoops in, and did something he's done a terrific job of in his recruiting work: kept things on the DL until it's too late for these other schools. Brogdon's name only surfaced in connection with UVA a couple weeks ago. This probably came as a big disappointment to UGA, which had spent a lot of time cultivating this particular relationship.

And with the boost in offers came a corresponding jump in his ratings. Scout and Rivals added a fourth star, and they're both in pretty close agreement about where he stands in relation to the other prospects in the country. ESPN is the outlier, but their last evaluation of him was in May, two months before the Peach Jam. If they re-evaluate, he'll go up.

Brogdon gets referred to as a wing a lot, which would lead you to think he and Paul Jesperson are redundant - Jesperson is also a "wing." But there's a huge difference. I called Jesperson a two-and-a-half rather than a standard three; Brogdon is more of a one-and-a-half. He's got the potential to be a ball-handler, but his big thing is shooting. The difference between he and Jesperson is that Brogdon can create his own shot. I was tempted to compare him to J.R. Reynolds, but actually he and Reynolds seem like opposites in a way: Reynolds could drive and finish at the hoop like few others, but his jump shot held him back at times. Brogdon can create and finish a jump shot, but his ballhandling garners the kind of lukewarm reviews that suggest he certainly has the ability and potential to be good at it, but needs some work to get there.

Still, his jump shot is said to be silky-smooth. And what's really intriguing is his size: 6'5" is big for a guard. And whether on purpose or unconsciously, Bennett is really upgrading the size of his backcourt. That's where Brogdon's comparison finally comes in: role-wise, he's a bigger Mustapha Farrakhan. By the time Bennett's done making his mark on the roster, the backcourt will be a lot bigger than it used to be. It won't show as much on offense, but it'll make a big difference on defense.

Of course, I've kind of beaten this point into the ground, but there's no way of knowing how, where, and when any 2011 recruit will fit into the roster until we see how this season goes. But if things go about as planned, Farrakhan's exit after this season opens up a space for Brogdon, and he can battle K.T. Harrell for minutes. One thing we won't have to worry about is grades: Stanford was in touch, Vandy and Notre Dame offered, and so did Tulane and Harvard. If that doesn't convince you he's a top-notch fit for UVA, maybe this will:

As good as his stats are (and they are), Brogdon does all the “little things” as well as anyone. He is a natural leader, encourages his teammates, works hard to get them involved in the game, sets picks and dives for balls out of bounds, appears to have outstanding character, and strives for excellence in the classroom.

Say what you will, but Tony Bennett knows how to find easy players to root for.


Anonymous said...

Didn't know where to post this or get in touch with you - but I thought this was something neat that you could highlight as part of the new 'accessibility' of the football program.

American Football 101 for international students. As a former international student myself, this really is a fantastic idea as most of didn't have much of a clue about what football was about before attending the university. And, sadly, too many of us didn't have any clue about what it was after graduating either - so I'm glad that this program is available - I hope people take advantage of it!

anon. said...

In thinking of this upcoming basketball season, I would say it has to be one of the most highly anticipated in some time. Not necessarily in terms of expected wins or NCAA destinations, but amount of questions that will be answered about the coming era of UVA basketball. In the second year of a new coach and more new players (that will receive significant playing time) than any of the past 5 to 10 years.