Saturday, December 21, 2013

Brown Continues To Rise Above For Manhattan

Already a two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year in MAAC, Rhamel Brown continues to be largely overlooked, much to Steve Masiello's chagrin. (Photo courtesy of Manhattan College)

In many ways, Rhamel Brown is the Rodney Dangerfield of college basketball.

For starters, the back-to-back MAAC Defensive Player of the Year is not considered the most recognizable face on his own team, as that honor is reserved for senior guard George Beamon. Brown is also arguably the best shot blocker in the New York area, but does not even get his due credit in that department either, no thanks to the rejection ability that Chris Obekpa has brought to St. John's. The Brooklyn native has been a de facto head coach on the floor as well through his vocal leadership by example, but still; for some reason unbeknownst to head coach Steve Masiello, does not get enough respect.

"I'm going to say it every time I speak," Masiello said after the Jaspers' 84-81 overtime win over Bobby Hurley's Buffalo team at Brooklyn's Barclays Center this afternoon. "I don't know what you guys are watching. He's one of the best big men in the country."

Surprisingly and undeservingly snubbed from a first team all-MAAC selection last year in favor of Loyola guard Dylon Cormier, Brown has reprised his role as one of the most integral pieces to Manhattan's puzzle. Despite only averaging nine points over Manhattan's first eleven games, Brown is making up for it with over six rebounds and four blocks per contest, even improving his free throw shooting to a 63 percent mark during the Jaspers' 9-2 start.

"It's phenomenal," Masiello said of the impact Brown, whom he inherited from his predecessor Barry Rohrssen, has made on the Manhattan program. "It's one of the reasons our defense is where it is. Rhamel Brown may not be the best scorer or those types of things, but he's by far our most valuable player, because he changes the game and he's so underrated."

Amid his constant getting lost in the shuffle, Brown continues to produce and fill stat sheets everywhere, evidenced today by his eight points, six rebounds and four blocks, which is impressive enough when you consider he only played five minutes in the first half due to racking up two quick fouls as Manhattan struggled to catch up to Buffalo after losing Michael Alvarado and Donovan Kates when both guards were ejected for leaving the bench during an altercation five minutes into the game. Nonetheless, Masiello took notice of yet another versatile performance.

"I've been saying it, I'm going to continue saying it," the coach stated with regard to how valuable Brown's contributions are. "I'm a huge Rhamel Brown fan. I hope you guys (media) get on the fan club with me. I'll send you guys some stuff over Christmas if you want to join, and then we'll go from there."

Hey Steve, you won't have to look very far for your first recruit in this endeavor.


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