KNOCK OUT PUNCH

Jefferson, Magee give Brandeis potent scoring combo

By Pat Turner

Ellis Jefferson and Kobe Magee were familiar with one another long before their arrival at Brandeis,

Although they were never teammates back then, they went against one another in club basketball to leave a lasting impression. The two even wondered what it would be like to play together some day.

During the past three years the two guards have had that opportunity and made every second count. Not only have they developed a solid bond, they’ve given the Broncos a one-two scoring combination.

This year, the two are delivering a powerful knockout punch with Jefferson averaging 21.9 points and Magee bringing in 19 a game while helping Brandeis (21-0, 3-0) share the early District 27-6A lead with Holmes.

“It’s been very helpful to have Kobe on the same team,” Jefferson said. “He makes me a better player. We have a great chemistry. You really can’t win games without it.”

Being around one another the past three years is a plus. They have an idea of what the other is going to do before it even happens. Not only do they have that camaraderie, they have faith in one another’s ability. If one of them is receiving extra attention from opponents, it’s going to open up more opportunities for the other.

“We have different styles,” Magee said. “It helps is both. We really know what we can do. He makes me a better player. He can do everything a score from anywhere. I know if there’s nothing for me, Ellis is going to make the play.

“Whenever he starts hitting that is always a good thing. If people are focusing on him, that opens it up for me. It’s a great playing together.”

What makes Magee go?

“Kobe is very quick,” Jefferson said. “He can hit the three. He is always pushing me to be better. I push him to get better. I know Kobe is going to do the right things. We also feed off one another. We know if we’re going we can get the team going.”

An example of their ability to feed off another occurred in Brandeis’ past two District 27-6A outings.

In an 82-55 win over Jay, Jefferson scored 18 points of his 24 points in the first half. Magee was held to three 3-point goals in the first half, but bombed in 18 in the second frame to complete his 27-point output.

They followed that with bigger point production in the Broncos’ 90-65 victory over Marshall with Magee knocking in 32 points and Jefferson finishing with 30.

The two score in a variety of ways. Jefferson drives the paint regularly, but he also has a smooth touch from the outside. Magee’s specialty is popping the net from the perimeter as evident of his 59 3-pointers.

Other qualities make the, complete players. As the Broncos’ point guard, Magee knows how to run the offense, while also helping out on defense. Jefferson also plays a key role in stopping opponents, while being a force on the board with William Raeford and Matt McCary. In addition, his experience and leadership are also valuable assets.

“They play together very well,” Brandeis coach Marc Gardner said. “There’s no jealousy issues of who is scoring and who’s not. They understand teams are going to focus on one and not the other.

“They bring so much to the table. For Ellis, it’s the defense, the rebounding and the leadership. With Koby it’s the assists and creating for other guys. They’re also high character kids and that’s important, too.”

Jefferson, who recently signed with Central Michigan, set the foundation for the two. He played as a freshman and had pleasing results in backup role.

Magee joined the team a year later in the same capacity and was thrust into the point guard role, which meant directing the offense against opponents with more experience. Having a teammate like Jefferson who had gone through a similar experience made the transition go much smoother.

And in the process the one-two punch was born.

Now, Jefferson and Magee are hoping to add something extra.

So far everything has gone perfectly for Brandeis has far as the record goes. More challenges are coming. The Broncos face co-leader Holmes Saturday. In addition, Brennan, Clark, Warren and Marshall are breathing down their necks as well. Realizing the situation facing them, the two guards know they and their teammates have to be at their best each contest.

They learned a bitter lesson about inconsistency last year when a sluggish showing in district play cost the Broncos a playoff trip.

“We played together a long time and that’s always good,” Magee said. “We’re playing with a lot more confidence. We’re more focused because we know every game counts. We want to keep playing together.”

And chances are, Magee and Jefferson will continue to feed off one another while trying to light a spark.

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