In a recent installment in his player interview series CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with one of the greatest players (if not the greatest) in Siena history in guard Marc "Showbiz" Brown. Brown ran the point for Mike Deane's team that in 1989 knocked off Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and led the Saints to the 1991 NIT quarters.
Jon Teitel: You were nicknamed "Showbiz". How did you get the nickname, and did you like it?
Marc Brown: My teammate Monty Henderson gave me the nickname on the 2nd day of school after I arrived at Siena, and I thought it fit, so I was happy with it. He just made it up; he used to call me "Biz" (short for Biz Marc) due to the old rapper Biz Markie, and it just turned into "Showbiz".
JT: From 1988-1989 you were a two-time first-team All-North Atlantic performer. How were you able to come in as a freshman and contribute from the start?
MB: We did not have any other point guards on the roster, which was a key reason why I went to Siena. I knew I could step in right away, and that was important to me when I made my decision. The point guard they had was graduating, so it was an easy decision for me, and there were no other point guards in my recruiting class.
JT: What are your memories of the 1988 NIT (you scored seven points in an eight-point loss to Boston College, whose star Dana Barros shot only 6-21 from the field)?
MB: I was excited to be in the postseason, the 1st NIT appearance in school history, so the team was excited about that. It was a great atmosphere at BC. Dana Barros was an honorable-mention All-American that year, so I was excited for the challenge, but I had played against some other great Big East point guards (like Sherman Douglas at Syracuse) as a freshman.
JT: In 1989 and 1991 you were named an honorable-mention All-American. Did you feel like you were one of the best players in the country?
MB: I did, especially in 1991. I felt like I was one of the better scoring point guards in the country. It was a great honor to even be in the class of the other guys.
1989 NCAA Tournament
JT: You scored a tourney school-record 32 points (13-20 FG) in forty minutes in a two-point win over Stanford (Adam Keefe had 22 points and Todd Lichti had 17). How were you able to play your best when it mattered the most, and what was the feeling like in the locker room afterwards?
MB: I just played on adrenaline, as did my teammates. We were happy to play in front of fans: we had just played about 10 straight games in empty gyms because an outbreak of measles at Siena in early February made several games off-limits to spectators. Once I made a couple of shots, I kind of got in the zone a little bit. Everyone was ecstatic in the locker room; we were excited just to be there, but to get the first NCAA tourney win in school history was even more exciting. We were happy that we had made history. We felt that Stanford was a good match-up for us when we heard it announced on the tourney selection show, which we watched together at our team doctor's house.
JT: You sealed the win by making two game-winning free throws with three seconds left. How nervous were you when you stepped to the line, and did you think you were going to make them both?
MB: I was super-nervous, because I had missed a couple of 1-and-1 opportunities late in the game, so I felt much more comfortable with a two-shot situation. Once I got that third opportunity, I knew I had to make it count, so I was pretty confident that third time.
JT: You scored nine points and had a school tournament-record eight assists, but shot 0-10 from three-point range in a loss to Minnesota (Willie Burton had 19 PTS/11 REB). Were you just ice-cold from behind the arc, or was the defense just swarming you throughout the game?
MB: They were swarming me, but that did not really make a difference, because everyone we played swarmed me. I was just ice cold: I had open looks, and just did not convert. I do not know why; it was just bad timing on my part to have one of the worst games of my college career on that day.
JT: In 1990 you had a school-record 15 assists vs. Army. How were you able to balance your ability to score with your ability to play the point, and what do you remember about that game vs. Army?
MB: I remember all our games against Army were tough, hard-fought games, as they were a disciplined team whether at home or away. Our offense just gave me an opportunity to score or put other guys in a position to score, which is what I tried to do my entire career. My teammates were making shots, so things just went well that game; it was a team effort.
JT: In 1990 you had a triple-double (32 PTS/10 REB/10 AST) in a win over UC Irvine. When did you realize that you were close to getting a triple-double, and what was the reaction like after the game?
MB: I had no idea during the game. After the game, Coach Mike Deane told me that I actually had a quadruple-double, because I also had ten turnovers! It was a surprise to me because I did not remember rebounding that well during the game, but it was a good thing.
JT: In 1990 you were named 1st-team All-MAAC. Was it weird to switch conferences from the North Atlantic, and how did the competition in your new conference compare to your old conference?
MB: The competition did not change much because a few other North Atlantic teams came over to the MAAC with us. La Salle (who had dominated the MAAC), St. Peter's, and Iona were the top-three teams in the MAAC, so it was a little stronger. It was not a big adjustment; it was still smaller D-1 schools from the Northeast.
JT: In 1991 you scored a career-high 44 points vs. Fairfield. Was it just one of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were "in the zone"?
MB: It was a great night: senior night for me, my last game on campus, with my parents in attendance. It was one of those nights when I felt I could not miss; my teammates set screens to get me open, and I was fortunate to make a lot of my shots. It was easily one of the best games I ever played as a collegian. Coach Deane took me out with about 10 minutes to go; once I scored my 44th point to break the school single-game scoring record, he sat me down because we were winning pretty easily.
JT: In 1991 you were named conference Player of the Year. What did it mean to you to win such an outstanding individual honor?
MB: It meant a lot; I was very satisfied with the season I had, but more importantly I was pleased that our team finished the season number one in the MAAC and showed that we really belonged in the MAAC.
JT: You scored 31 points in a five-point win over Fairleigh Dickinson, and sealed the win with a steal/lay-up with 13.8 seconds to play. What did you learn from the 1989 NCAA tourney that helped you prepare for the 1991 NIT, and did you think you were going to lose after FDU came back to tie the score after being down by 14 points in the 2nd half?
MB: The 1989 tourney and other big road games (we won at Pitt and Wake Forest) taught us big-game preparation, so we were used to playing in such games. I did not think we were going to lose because we were comfortable at home. FDU was a tough team that year that came in with nothing to lose, but fortunately we were able to pull it out at the end.
JT: In the second round you got a five-point win over South Carolina. Was your team getting tired of playing yet another close postseason game, or did you just come to expect it by this point?
MB: We had come to expect it: we played a lot of tight games during the second half of the season, so we were just happy to beat an SEC [then a member of the Metro Conference] opponent and move on to the next round.
JT: You played all 45 minutes and scored 20 points in a two-point overtime loss to UMass and with a few seconds left in regulation the scoreboard flashed, "Congratulations Siena". Do you remember seeing the scoreboard sign, and do you feel like it might have jinxed your team?
MB: That was one of the toughest losses of my career. We had the game in hand and should have won, when a guy from UMass turned and made a lucky half-court shot. That was a tough way to end my season, as we were looking forward to getting to the Final Four in Madison Square Garden. Whoever put it up on the scoreboard used poor judgment, and what was worse was when the announcer told everyone what time the Siena fans could catch a bus to go to the next game at the Garden.
JT: Tony Barbee of UMass made a three-point shot at the buzzer in regulation to send the game into overtime and UMass all-time leading scorer Jim McCoy scored the only basket in overtime. How crushing was Barbee's shot, and why was it so hard for either team to make a shot in OT?
MB: Barbee's shot was devastating; we were looking forward to getting to the Garden, and it really crushed our dreams. Nobody was able to score in overtime because both teams were exhausted; I think it was our third game in seven or eight days.
JT: You finished your career as the school's all-time leading scorer (since then Ronald Moore has passed him). Did you realize at the time how prolific a player you were?
MB: Not really; I just kind of played. A couple of years after graduation I looked back at some of my records that I had broken and set, and then it kind of sunk in. A guard who came after me named Doremus Bennerman chased some of my records and broke a few of them. It means a lot to me to still hold the records for points and assists at a Division I school. I really cherish them, especially the assists, as it shows I was not just a guy who shot the ball all the time.
JT: From 1991-2007 you played in the CBA with Albany, and later you played in Europe and South America. What did you learn from these experiences, and how did they compare to college basketball?
MB: It gave me a different outlook on life; not just with basketball, but personally. I got the chance to experience different cultures and places. The college game is much more structured, while the CBA and overseas leagues rely more on athleticism and ability.
JT: You handled your own contract negotiations using your B.S. degree in marketing without the help of an agent. Were you nervous to be negotiating without an agent, and did the team treat you differently because you were doing it all by yourself?
MB: I did my own contract for three years. I was not nervous because nobody knew what I wanted more than I did myself. I had been in Brazil for five seasons before handling my first contract, so there was mutual respect during the negotiation period. I think I was able to get some things done that an agent could not have done himself.
JT: In 2007 you took over for your father Charles (who was himself an honorable-mention All-American as a player at New Jersey City University in the 1960s, and won a school-record 483 wins in his twenty-five years as coach) as head coach at NJCU. What was it like to fill his big shoes as coach, and how much of your success as a player and coach do you owe to your father?
MB: I owe a lot to my dad, both personally and obviously athletically. If I win half of the games he won, I will consider myself a success. This has been a dream come true to fill his shoes, so I am just trying to keep things going and run things with class like he did.
Marc is also on my list of best fantasy players in MAAC history:
Canisius: Ray Hall (1985): 2,226 PTS (#1), 219 STL (#1), 77.7 FT% (#5), All-American
Fairfield: Joe DeSantis (1979): 1,916 PTS (#2), 667 AST (#2), 84.9 FT% (#1), All-American
Iona: Jeff Ruland (1980): 1,855 PTS (#4), 1,067 REB (#2), 63.5 FG% (#1), two-time All-American
Loyola (MD): Kevin Green (1992): 2,154 PTS (#2), 162 3PM (#3), 40.5 3P% (#4), 159 STL (#3)
Manhattan: Luis Flores (2004): 2,046 PTS (#1), 163 3PM, 161 STL, 88 FT% (#1), All-American, two-time conference Player of the Year
Marist: Rik Smits (1988): 1,945 PTS (#2), 811 REB (#3), 345 BLK (#1), 60.9 FG% (#1), All-American, two-time conference Player of the Year
Niagara: Calvin Murphy (1970): 2,548 PTS (#1), 84.9 FT%, three-time All-American
Rider: Jason Thompson (2008): 2,040 PTS (#3), 1,171 REB (#1), 235 BLK (#1), 52.6 FG% (#1), conference Player of the Year
Siena: Marc Brown (1991): 2,284 PTS (#1), 796 AST (#2), 221 STL (#2), 224 3PM (#4), 42.3 3P% (#5), two-time All-American, conference Player of the Year
St. Peter's: Keydren Clark (2006): 3,058 PTS (#1), 501 AST (#2), 265 STL (#1), 435 3PM (#1), 36.5 3P% (#2), 85.5 FT% (#1), conference Player of the Year