Name: Montay Brandon
Weight: 216 lbs
2012-13 Season Stats: 3.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.4 apg. Started 22 of 33 games he played in.
Prognostication: A key part of Leonard Hamilton’s rotation, Montay Brandon started 22 games for Florida State last season, and will in all likelihood pick up where he left off. Hopefully. After coming to Tallahassee as one of the most highly touted small forwards in the country, Brandon found himself as the teams starting point guard. Most times Brandon looked like a struggling freshman, but with fellow rookie Devon Bookert finding more minutes at the one come conference play, the 6-foot-7 combo guard (now) was able to transition back into playing off the ball, using his athleticism from the wing, and focusing on guarding opposing teams toughest players. Brandon’s confidence began to exude over the last couple of weeks of the ’12-13 season, shining its brightest in the teams final game of the season, an NIT loss at the hands of Louisiana Tech where Brandon threw down two “get out of your seat and yell about it” dunks.
Strengths: Brandon’s the type of player that you dream about seeing in a slam dunk contest. He isn’t even built like LeBron James was built when he was his age, he’s built like LeBron is now, but longer. Anyway, the kid has undeniable hops, and is incredibly strong, which will hopefully come to better use this season if he decides to attack the basket more. Brandon has the ball skills to play the point, but isn’t a threat to shoot – really from anywhere, sad face – so with the return of Ian Miller this season he should be able to operate where he’s most comfortable, off the ball and en route to the tin. Brandon’s also the type of player who really plays off of confidence and high points, and being such a terrific defender can create offensive momentum for him in a hurry.
Weaknesses: Montay Brandon’s biggest weaknesses as a freshman could potentially be behind him if he continues to play with confidence, well, except for his still developing shooting ability. Although he really didn’t shoot many threes (29, to be exact), Brandon shot a poor 29-percent from downtown, and an almost unforgivable 49-percent from the charity stripe as a freshman. Brandon’s biggest struggles aside from the perimeter came due to poor decision making and I hate to say it, but maybe fear of making mistakes? There were moments last season where the Greensboro, N.C. native looked like he could do anything he wanted on the court, but those moments were overshadowed by him looking more like an inexperienced and over-matched freshman. With expected freshman sensation Xavier Rathan-Mayes academically ineligible for the 2013-14 season, Brandon will have no choice but to mature. Or ride the bench.
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