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Nets' Markel Brown hopes to play like Westbrook

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 27, 2014 at 2:01 p.m.

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NEW YORK (AP) — For a player who prides himself on his athleticism, Markel Brown couldn't get moving after being drafted.

"It's like my body froze," he said Friday.

The Brooklyn Nets will be counting on it to get going again next season.

The Nets acquired the rights to the Oklahoma State guard on Thursday with the No. 44 pick, and Brown believes his game can look something like another player from the Sooner State.

"I see myself ending up like a (Russell) Westbrook-type of player," Brown said, referring to the Oklahoma City Thunder star.

The Nets saw Brown's athletic talents and an ability to play both guard spots in sending cash to Minnesota to acquire his rights. Though listed at 6-foot-3, Brown said he has the wingspan of a 6-9 player and frequently defended bigger opponents in college.

He averaged a career-best 17.2 points last season, fifth in the Big 12, and logged 35.3 minutes per game as a teammate of Marcus Smart, who will be playing in the same division after being drafted by Boston with the No. 6 pick.

Brown shot 38 percent from 3-point range but is better known as a leaper. He said he dunked for the first time in the ninth grade.

"I take pride in my athleticism. It's a very huge part of my game," Brown said during a conference call. "I just have to channel it and use it in the rights ways, but I feel like going into the next level I can transition into a player like Russell Westbrook, someone that can be explosive and get to the rim. It's just going to be a huge factor for me playing above the rim at 6-3."

Brown said he has never played with Westbrook but has talked to him. Brown said the Olympic gold medalist was able to give him advice as someone who had a similar role at UCLA.

"He played with Darren Collison and Kevin Love," Brown said, "and he didn't really stand out as much in front of those guys, but someone who transitioned in the NBA and become a superstar."

The Nets also acquired the rights to the final two picks in the draft for cash, but only Brown appears set to play on the roster next season. Brooklyn acquired San Diego State guard Xavier Thames, the Mountain West player of the year, from Toronto, and Baylor forward Cory Jefferson from Philadelphia.

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Brian Mahoney


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