Very early in his young career, Denzel Brito showed flashes of basketball brilliance.
Fitting, as the Massachusetts native always seemed a bit ahead of his time on the hardwood.
Whether he was a little runt on the playground playing with the big boys or an underclassman scoring crucial buckets on the varsity, the kid stood out.
Whether he was a callow freshman reeling off a personal 8-0 run against a nucleus of older players at the Reebok Proving Ground (as he did two summers ago in Mansfield, Mass.) or operating offense for Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.), Brito displayed an uncanny level of swagger and maturity that seems foreign at this level.
You see, this kid actually looks a man in the eye when he shakes his hand!
Brito rarely gets rattled under pressure (a reputation as a hot head who tries to do too much and dominate the ball quickly evaporated).
He'll surrender individual totals for team success on days that end in Y. Unlike most at this level, Brito actually takes pleasure in sacrificing individual shine to make his teammates better.
This is a crucial craft that dictates fate at the higher plateau.
His defensive energy has hiked up a notch and Brito will capitalize on turnovers with ferocious, emphatic two-handed fast break dunks. It's a significant smoke signal of a burgeoning player ready for that next level.
Never shy to pull it, Brito no longer settles for the jumper. He'd much rather knife through the teeth of defenses and weave around players who tower over him.
The generously-listed 6-foot-2 point guard (one talent evaluator believes his size will turn the high majors away from him) underwent a self-revelation.
His recent epiphany has allowed Brito to embrace the springy hops within him.
He's been skying for rebounds and looks to have a hand in every play.
Brito’s all-around game and development as a playmaker (he’s passing the pigment out of the basketball now) has helped him surface as a top recruit in the New England basketball landscape.
His success on the court has also run parallel to his success in the classroom. This opens up a world of opportunity for him.
Basketball schools that carry a strong reputation for academic prestige (You know all of these bookworms who are one thesis paper short of being Albert Fucking Einstein go hard on gameday!)—Duke, Stanford, and Davidson to name a few—are beginning to show some interest in Brito.
Brito, who has an A average, is being actively pursued by a number of high end schools. UConn, Providence, and Oregon State are all potential suitors for the young gun.
Providence had been chasing Brito and keeping close tabs on him throughout the season, but Brito said he's heard little from Keno Davis and company as of late.
NBE (http://w3.nbebasketball.com/) caught up with Brito Saturday at the Hoophall Classic at Wesleyan University (Middletown, Conn.).
“I’ve been taking my time, talking to coaches a couple times a week,” said Brito, who revealed that he recently spoke with coaches at Kentucky.
Kentucky, of course, recently forked over the long green to bring John Calipari to campus.
With high hopes of resurrecting a once-prominent program, the Wildcats are scouring the land for high-octane, go-go guards.
“Right now, I’m more focused on the task at hand. I think it will be a very productive summer.”
Production in the weight room could be first and foremost for Brito. He’s only around 165-170 pounds, so packing some muscle onto his spindly frame will certainly pay dividends.
Phil Kasiecki, a Boston area basketball guru and founder of Hoopville.com, evaluated Brito during last summer’s New England Top 75 showcase.
"There are times, like the first day of the Reebok Headliner Camp, that he's been stellar. He kept it going at the Breakout Camp and earned himself an invite to the Reebok All-American Camp,” said Kasiecki.
“But there are also times when he doesn't look very aggressive despite his athleticism and improving (but still inconsistent) jump shot. There's plenty of potential there, and it's a good sign that of late, more of the positive has been seen in his play.”
Onward and upward.
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