Boys Basketball – 2021 Season Preview: Brick Memorial
While returning very little experience from 2019, last year’s Brick Memorial squad still boasted a scoring attack led by a pair of seniors, which makes this year’s team deep on playing experience but without an established go-to scorer. In his first three years as head coach, Mike Pelkey developed a balanced offense of players who share the ball and this year’s team should operate with the same dynamic.
Seniors T.J. McArthur and Jake Dombrowski are the top two returnees after each averaged right around eight points per game – two of four Brick Memorial players last year to average between 7.7 and 11.4 points. Dombrowski will run the point again this year after putting up 7.7 points and 2.4 assists as a junior while shooting 30 percent from beyond the three-point line. McArthur will play on the wing and adds some versatility while senior Blake Zammit fills out the back court after starting as a junior.
The two players moving into the starting five for the Mustangs are Hayden Guzenski and 6-foot-6 center Luke Braaten. Like McArthur, Guzenski isn’t as tall as the average high-school forward but he will also battle inside and be aided by the fact that the Mustangs do have size in the middle with Braaten. Jason Ellerbrock is a senior off the bench with some varsity experience under his belt, while Josh Michigan, Blake Starrett and Dorian Alston are three sophomores who each played sparingly as freshmen and could prove to be x-factors for a Brick Memorial squad that might be a sleeper in its pod with Brick, Central Regional, Howell, Jackson Memorial and Lakewood.
Head Coach: Mike Pelkey, fourth season
2019-20 Record: 8-15 (3-11, seventh in Class A South)
2020 Postseason Performance: Did not reach postseason
Disclaimer: Projected lineups listed in the 2021 Shore Sports Network Preview are not necessarily directly from coaches. Some are, while others are projections from Shore Sports Network staff. In either case, the projected lineup is fluid and could change leading up to the start of the season and beyond. Check back for periodic updates to every team's projected starting lineup on shoresportsnetwork.com.
Jake Dombrowski, Sr., 5-8, Guard (RS)
Blake Zammit, Sr., 5-10, Guard (RS)
Luke Braaten, Jr., 6-6, Center (R)
T.J. McArthur, Sr., 6-0, Forward (RS)
Hayden Guzenski, Sr., 6-0, Forward (R)
Brandon Thomas, 6-2, Guard
Jeremy Campbell, 6-4, Center
Off the Bench
Jason Ellerbrock, Jr., 6-0, Guard
Josh Michigan, So., 6-0, Guard
Brian Starrett, So., 6-0, Guard
Dorian Alston, So., 6-2, Forward
RS – Returning Starter
R – Returning Varsity Player
Player to Watch: T.J. McArthur
It’s splitting hairs between Dombrowski and McArthur when it comes to naming Brick Memorial’s top returning player, but McArthur could be the most important because of his ability (8.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, two assists as a junior) as well as his position on the team. Without a lot of size beyond Braaten, Brick Memorial will need McArthur to play a lot of the time, so his willingness to do different jobs makes him an essential player.
Big Shoes to Fill: Blake Zammit
With four regular scoring contributors on last year’s team and two of them back this year, the Mustangs will be looking for some scoring sources early on in the season to help out McArthur and Dombrowski. After playing in 11 games last year, Zammit is back primed for a bigger role in 2021 as a supplementary scorer and perimeter defender.
Impact Newcomer: Dorian Alston
Brick Memorial’s sophomore trio could make an impact beginning this year and Alston will be especially intriguing because he is big enough to give the Mustangs some needed frontcourt depth. Alston is skilled enough to make plays from the perimeter but with plenty of guards on the roster, Alston could carve out a role down low coming off the bench, perhaps even as a starter in due time.
X-Factor: Luke Braaten
With game-changing size and the skill to step out, make shots and pass, Braaten is a player with a chance to break out during the abbreviated 2021 season. There are some teams with more size across the board and some more physical players than Braaten, but none will tower over the 6-6 Mustangs junior. Central is the only other team in the six-team pod with a player listed as tall as Braaten at 6-6.
Jan. 26 at Jackson Memorial, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 28 vs. Jackson Memorial, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 vs. Lakewood, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 3 at Lakewood, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 6 vs. Shore, 1 p.m.
Feb. 9 vs. Howell, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 at Howell, 3:45 p.m.
Feb. 16 at Brick, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 18 vs. Brick, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 at Toms River South, 1 p.m.
Feb. 23 at Central, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 25 vs. Central, 6:30 p.m.