Unsung hero battling in trenches
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Unsung hero battling in trenches
© Geoff Robins/Gazette
I CAN DO 15 CHIN-UPS IN A ROW. Chris Brown shows the proper technique of how to flex your muscles against the competition heading into the Ontario University Championship.
By John Dinner
It's a fight in the trenches and whoever wins the battle, usually wins the war.
Much like football or even the first World War, basketball has its own version of trench warfare, only there are two trenches at each end of the floor. To control both these areas under the basket will ultimately mean success in CIAU basketball.
For the Mustangs to continue their quest for CIAU supremacy they must continue to dominate at both ends, something they have relied on centre Chris Brown to do down the stretch.
At six feet eight and 269 pounds, Brown has the dimensions more commonly associated with an offensive lineman rather than a powerful, but slick centre.
"He has an amazingly soft touch around the hoop. He's got such fluid moves with a nice jump hook," said senior guard Micah Bordeau, who has taken advantage of the space created by the play of Brown. "He's a great passer out of the post and that has opened up a lot of lanes for me and Nat [Graham, Mustang forward]."
The London native's improved play has translated into a double-double (double digit points and rebounds) average over the last nine games, which has powered the Mustangs into their current position as the second ranked team in the country.
"It can be looked at statistically and it is obvious what Chris' play has meant [to the team]," said Mustang head coach Craig Boydell. "But when it's looked at from another level, Chris has been demanding a certain amount of space and making teams pay for double-teaming Nat. Teams are going to have to pay attention to him now and that gives us a lot of options."
Brown seems to relish the opportunity to do the dirty work and get down in the trenches for battle.
"Rebounding is all about establishing the right position and working hard," Brown said. "A lot of the time it's complacency that allows the other team to get the rebound. I've just got to continue to work hard and take up as much space as I can. I can't let up."
Brown's attitude has Boydell extremely pleased with his second-year centre's improved production, but more importantly, Brown's presence on the court.
"We knew what he was capable of when he came here," Boydell said. "He dominated off and on throughout his career, now his play is more consistent and becoming more of a pattern."
Terry Haggerty, head coach of the Ryerson Rams who the Mustangs take on this Saturday, said he believes his team's defence will have to be at the top of their game because of Brown.
"We're going to have to play exceptional defence and make sure we're communicating and switching at the right time," Haggerty said. "[Brown] is a big guy with good hands and great touch around the hole. We've got to limit his second and third chances."
For a chance at the Ontario University Athletics crown and the CIAU banner, the Mustangs will have to continue to feed off Brown's work down low.
"Chris will have to use his size to his advantage against the smaller Ryerson team," Bordeau commented. "He's got to be that presence on the floor that he has been of late which brings another dimension to our team. He adds versatility."