The question hung in the air for a moment as new Celtics guard MarShon Brooks thought about which direction he was going to go with his answer.
The 24-year-old started 47 games and averaged nearly 30 minutes a night for the New Jersey Nets as a rookie during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, but in 2012-13, his playing time and production didn’t follow the rest of the team to Brooklyn.
Brooks started just two games and averaged 5.4 points behind Joe Johnson and a crowded Nets backcourt. That kind of step back can become more than just a speed bump in a player’s career.

So after being traded to the Celtics in the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett blockbuster deal, he took the question about what he learned from the trying season and responded with an honest assessment.
“It’s a situation that I don’t ever want to go through again, to say the least,” Brooks said at his introductory press conference last week in Waltham. “I just don’t like being on the bench, so I’m just going to work as hard as possible to make sure that never happens again.”

Brooks has felt like an underdog his entire basketball life. Unheralded on the recruiting scene as a standout for Tucker High School in Georgia, to say Brooks had little interest from the top-tier schools would be putting it politely.
The skinny combo guard helped Tucker to a 31-2 record and a state championship during his senior season, but his only true offers were from small Div. 1 colleges in the Atlanta area.
Steven DeMeo took a trip to scout Brooks’ teammate at Tucker, and the rest is history. The Providence assistant coach left that visit with a new target in mind.

“When we recruited MarShon I was like, ‘Holy cow, why isn’t anyone offering this guy?’ ” said DeMeo, who was an assistant for the Friars from 1998-2008. “I guess it was just one of those things that he was thin and he was a secondary option on his high school team, and it was just one of those deals. We saw how talented he was, and we believed in him.”

Brooks became a star in the Big East, but he faced even more adversity when draft night came around in 2011. The high-scoring guard dropped all the way to No. 25, where he was selected by the Celtics, then dealt to the Nets for the rights to JaJuan Johnson and a 2014 second-round pick.

He showed flashes of becoming a difference-maker on the offensive end during his rookie season. He was third in rookie scoring (12.6 ppg) and was named to the NBA All-Rookie second team. However, last season was a struggle because there were many nights when Brooks was lucky to even see the floor during minutes that mattered.