BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Senior guard Lenny Brown made some lasting impressions in August when he traveled to Italy with the People-to-People International All-Stars.
Freshman Kevin Frey works underneath during Midnight Madness scrimmage.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
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Marquette's Mike Deane, who coached the team, said Brown was the leader on and off the court.
"He's probably one of the finest kids I've ever had on one of those tours, combined both his basketball ability, his willingness to adjust to an all-star team atmosphere and then his ability away from the games in terms of his leadership," Deane said.
"Just his maturity, his personality, he was terrific. It was an absolute pleasure to have him on the trip."
Brown averaged a team-high 19 points in six games against top-level professional teams, was 15-of-31 from three-point range, had a high of 31 points and ended up as the team's point guard after George Washington's Shawnta Rogers returned to the United States to work on academics.
"Playing point guard was different," said Brown, XU's shooting guard who lobbed four alley-oop passes to teammates in the Midnight Madness scrimmage. "I liked it. I got into a groove better because I had the ball in my hands a lot more."
Said Deane, "I think he made the most out of the trip and got the most out of the trip."
Brown also caught the attention of players and coaches overseas. Deane said Brown's game is ideal for Europe because he can drive by opponents and pull up and shoot three-pointers.
"Certainly Lenny has every right to think there's a possibility of the NBA," Deane said, "but I also think if there's ever a time where he falls short of that goal, he made a big enough impression there that he would be highly coveted at the very top level of Italian professional basketball.
"He clearly outplayed many of the Americans on those teams."
Xavier ran through a 14-minute scrimmage that didn't end until after 1 a.m. Saturday.
MIDNIGHT MADNESS RECAP: A few first impressions:
Before Saturday's first real practice was over, freshman Lloyd Price had an ice pack on his nose after getting elbowed, and Brown was on the sidelines after hurting his ankle. He left the gym on crutches. Price scored seven points in the Midnight Madness scrimmage.
- Senior James Posey not only led all scorers with 13 points but confidently nailed three three-pointers. He was also aggressive handling the ball and creating his own shot.
- Freshman Aaron Turner, who is academically ineligible this year, led his team with 11 points and had three chances to complete three-point plays. He was impressive while doing nothing fancy.
- Another freshman who looked good was Kevin Frey. He didn't hesitate to shoot and ended up with eight points. Frey worked to get himself open and seemed to be around the basket a lot.
Coach Skip Prosser told a gathering of season-ticket holders Friday night -- and later shared the same story with the 2,050 fans at Midnight Madness -- how last spring after Darnell Williams injured his knee that someone mentioned to Prosser that Xavier might be rebuilding this year.
"I washed his mouth out with soap," Prosser said. "We don't do that around here. We win around here."
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