Monday, January 17, 2011

Scouting Brown

Editor's Note: This is a series that will be running with the start of the Ivy League basketball season. Members of the WHRB staff are writing up previews of each team, looking at the positives and negatives for all of the teams, and giving an overall impression if where the team was picked in the Ivy League basketball media day was correct. Our series continues with the Brown Bears.

BROWN by Kara Hollis

The Brown Bears have started out the season 6-7, with their first Ivy League play coming up this week against Yale. The team is currently lacking consistency in its play. Head coach Jesse Agel is in his third season with the bears, and yet to find success in his goal of making the team a contender for the Ivy League title. So what's stopping him?

Seniors: The Bears are led by senior forward Peter Sullivan. Sullivan is an All-Ivy pick who has had sixteen 20-point games in his career at Brown, enough to earn him the 13th spot on Brown's all-time scoring list. But it doesn't seem enough to give Brown a consistent offense. His all around offensive prowess (including being tied for 8th on Brown's individual 3-pointers made) might come at the expense of other players. Adrian Williams (who is the other player at number 8 on the list) has failed to make himself a key contributor thus far this season, averaging only 6.6 ppg. Williams has the potential to be a real contributor off the bench, as well as a senior leader. Leffelman, on the other hand, is finding his rhythm as a senior and contributing double figure points in four of Brown's last five games. The guard is now Brown's second leading scorer with 10.7 points per game.

Young Guns:
The underclassmen are a big part of the picture in Brown's potential success. Freshman point guard Sean McGonagill has started every game from the Bears this season. McGonagill has proven himself to be one of the most solid members of the team, contributing 8.7 points per game and 4.3 assists per game, while leading the team in minutes played and ranking top ten in the league in free throw percentage (a feat considering the unbelievable free throw shooting of the Crimson thus far this season). He's also averaging over 50% from behind the arc. Freshman forward Dockery Walker looks to be trying to follow in McGonagill's footsteps after his double double in the team's loss to American. The other undergraduate starters for Brown, sophomore forwards Tucker Halpern and Andrew McCarthy, are solid contributors, but are still lacking the experience to consistently make the difference in games.

The challenge for Coach Agel this season will be to try to keep a middle of the pack team, in both talent and play, from falling victim to its own mediocrity. The team needs its senior leaders to spark a fire that, with a focus on strong defense, could help Brown to stay in the top half of the Ivy League. As for Agel's goal of being a title contender, I think he will have to wait another year or two for that to be come a reality.

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