The dervish that is Jon Brockman spun to the hoop. He quick-twitched to the basket and double-pumped in the lane. For more than 38 minutes...
NEW YORK — The dervish that is Jon Brockman spun to the hoop. He quick-twitched to the basket and double-pumped in the lane.
For more than 38 minutes, against the great wall of Texas A&M’s front line, Brockman bumped and twisted and fought for room, for points, for air.
This is how it will be for him this season. At 6 feet 7, Brockman is Washington’s size. He is the little big man teams will game-plan to defeat. He will be the focus of every defense. The line in the sand.
“He is a big-time player,” Aggies coach Mark Turgeon said.
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In Wednesday night’s 77-63 loss to A&M in an NIT semifinal at Madison Square Garden, Brockman scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. But in the second half, with 6-9 Joseph Jones defending him and every other Aggie with size helping out, Brockman was held to only eight points and four rebounds.
In the face of all of that attention, he was 4 for 10 and scored only one field goal in the last 8 ½ minutes.
Every time he spun, Brockman turned into another white A&M uniform. Seven-footer DeAndre Jordan, 6-10 Chinemelu Elonu or 6-9 Bryan Davis charged at him to help Jones.
The Huskies, who led by as many as 10 in the first half and were ahead 38-32 early in the second, ran out of gas.
“We threw everybody at him,” senior Jones said. “That’s one thing Coach wanted to do was just go in and keep throwing a lot of different people at him and see how he would do. I think we all did a pretty good job. Did we wear him down? I know early in my career I played low post a lot and teams chucked a lot of guys at me and, after a while, I wore down.
“I don’t know if he got a little winded. Maybe, but who knows? But he’s a great player, man. He’s a beast down low. He ducks in very hard. He did everything we’ve seen on tape. And all we tried to do was limit him as much as we could.”
Washington got a peek at its Pac-10 future Wednesday night. These are the teams that will give them problems. Teams with size, lots of size. Size in the middle. Size on the bench. Big bodies that will come at Jon Brockman in waves.
The Huskies are quick and athletic. They’ll get smarter with the basketball and they’ll learn to pass out of low-post double teams.
But they won’t get taller. And size, like UCLA’s size, and Arizona’s size, California’s and Stanford’s, will give them problems.
Big teams will throw the book at Brockman and dare any other Huskies to beat them inside. They will try to beat on and beat up Brockman.
He can handle all of that heat, but if Washington is going to wake up the conference, somebody like Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Joe Wolfinger or Quincy Pondexter will have to establish an inside game.
This is Washington’s reality.
“We’ve got to learn to play out of a double team better,” Brockman said. “We didn’t get to some of the spots the way we should have. We’ve to got to get guys in the right spots, so when the doubles come, we’ll know exactly where they’ll be.”
Teams will wear down Washington and get the other Huskies big men in foul trouble. This is the way it will look this season. After shooting 53 percent in the first half, the tired Huskies shot only 26 percent in the second.
“They started to pay attention to Jon [in the second half],” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “They kind of made everyone else beat us. [Because of foul trouble] Quincy Pondexter played 10 minutes. A guy like that can take the pressure off Jon if he gets going.”
Midway through the second half, with Washington trailing 49-46, Brockman took a low-post pass, spun into the middle, had his shot blocked by Jordan, missed the putback, got another rebound and had that shot blocked.
Nobody in the game plays harder than Brockman. He is relentless in the paint. But he needs something Washington doesn’t have — another “beast.”
“They sent two guys at me more aggressively in the second half,” Brockman said. “I’m a little disappointed with the way I played. I can play better. I missed some little chippy shots I should have made. I really felt like I could have made that game a little closer than it really was. I don’t know what it was. It was just one of those games.”
It was just another smothering defense. Another avalanche of big men. The kind of attention Jon Brockman will draw from now through March, from Manhattan to Westwood.
He is Washington’s beast. But even a beast needs his space. Even Jon Brockman can grow tired from all of the attention.
Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or email@example.com
Percentages: FG .382, FT .600. Three-point goals: 2-13, .154 (Wolfinger 2-6, Pondexter 0-1, Overton 0-2, Dentmon 0-4). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 2 (Brockman, Morris). Turnovers: 17 (Brockman 5, Morris 2, Bryan-Amaning 2, Overton 2, Pondexter 2, Holiday, Smith, Dentmon). Steals: 7 (Overton 4, Smith 2, Dentmon). Technical fouls: None.
|TEXAS A&M (5-0)|
Percentages: FG .431, FT .550. Three-point goals: 5-16, .313 (Sloan 2-2, Jones 1-2, Holmes 1-2, Kirk 1-3, Roland 0-2, Carter 0-5). Team rebounds: 10. Blocked shots: 5 (Jones 2, Jordan 2, Davis). Turnovers: 17 (Jordan 4, Kirk 3, Carter 2, Davis 2, Sloan 2, Roland 2, Holmes, Jones). Steals: 7 (Davis 2, Jones, Jordan, Roland, Sloan, Kirk). Technical fouls: None.
Attendance: NA. Officials: Jim Burr, Tim Higgins, Earl Walton.