It's rather difficult for someone with the physical attributes of Marcus Vinicius Vieira De Souza (Marquinhos) to go unnoticed. He's a true wing player in a 6-9 (on his way to 6-10) body with nice quickness and athleticism. It's not that he's anywhere close to a freak athlete, but when you mix it with his size to get the whole picture, the outcome is pretty intriguing.
The player himself has taken care of making it clear that he's in no way material for the paint by spending most of the time on the perimeter, where he frequently uses his most dangerous weapon: the three-point shot. Having gained consistency throughout the season, it has become quite effective by now. His mechanics are not those of an automatic shooter, but they are ok, making his stroke look pretty comfortable. His size gives him a good advantage over his defenders in this area obviously, and it's not just the typical static shot of a forward; he can make it off the dribble too. He can also play in the post, although mostly to release a turnaround jumper.
While it's still a skill for him to develop, he has great tools to become a very dangerous slasher, starting with a nice first step, his quickness and general athletic ability, and the size to finish easily when he gets to the basket. At the small forward position, he should be quick enough to beat his matchups, and still have the size advantage to operate comfortably. Indeed, if you combine that recipe mentioned above, it's easy to picture that he can create his own shot (faking and shooting over his rivals), even if he's not too effective at it right now.
On defense, he shows decent lateral movement for a small forward, and it shouldn't be a matter of concern in the future if he works hard enough. He takes advantage of his size and good wingspan to grab a decent amount of rebounds. Those same characteristics, along with his quickness and activity with his hands, allow him to get away with a good number of steals per game as well.
Even if his basketball IQ doesn't look too high, Marquinhos has a certain feel for the game. He's a pretty fluent and smooth player, both in static and the transition game, and he loves to run the floor.
Marquinhos still has a long way to go in terms of skills and physical development.
To start with, he doesn't take advantage enough of his size. He rarely leaves the perimeter, and when he does take his defender down low it's usually to keep on shooting. He's too focused on his perimeter game, and could certainly use a little more versatility, working on ways to finish near the basket with higher percentages. Besides, his love for the perimeter is correlated to his movement without the ball, it's too poor right now. He should be cutting much more often, trying to take advantage closer to the basket, or just to find open positions in the mid-range area.
His slashing skills need refining too. He could benefit from having better handles (not that they are bad, but certainly improvable) and footwork. It would dramatically improve his ability to create his own shot too. Most importantly, the Brazilian doesn't show any special skill to finish around the basket in traffic. He lacks a certain soft touch there, and it limits the effectiveness of such a potentially effective weapon for him as the penetration might be. Another flaw in his game is his passing. He's not particularly gifted in this department, not showing any special court vision.
His defense is not one of his best virtues. He's not intense enough on this end of the floor. He can be quite active at one point on his matchup (even abusing his hands sometimes), but it isn't a continuous effort, particularly when it comes to team defense, where he rarely shows up. He's still a very skinny player. And being headed to the small forward position, he better start (or continues) to add some strength in the weight room, or he will be regularly outmuscled.
Marquinhos' rights are owned by Scavolini Pesaro since 2002, a pretty strong Italian team that competes in the Euroleague, but due to his youth and his status as a non EU-citizen, the team has been loaning him so far every year to other teams. Prior to that, he was a member of Bauru, a Brazilian team that won the national championship in the 2001/02 season. After signing with Pesaro, he spent two more seasons in Brazil, with Vasco de Gama (2002/03) and Corinthinas (2003/04).
For the current season (04/05), he has finally arrived in Europe, but he's playing in the Italian second division, the Lega Due, for Premiata Montegranaro. While this isn't the most glamorous league to play in, it's not bad competition at all for a kid like him. The Italian second division is arguably the best second division in all of Europe (only the Spanish LEB is close), and has a level that is similar to a mid-to-low first European division. Right now he's averaging 15.5 points (netting almost half of his shots, including 45.6% of his treys), 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals, while helping his team to qualify for the playoffs that will determine the second team that will be promoted to the first division (the other team will be the regular season leader).
For next year, he still isn't expected to play for Scavolini, but they will likely try to find him a place in the Italian first division, so Marquinhos can keep on improving, while facing better competition.
In 2004, he played in the Nike Hoop Summit, although he went rather unnoticed after having only 2 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists in 15 minutes.
04/05: Look him to declare this year to draw some attention to himself, but to withdraw in order to improve his stock for the next season. Right now, he wouldn't be anything more than a second rounder. He's too raw and unproven. But with another year of experience and development under his belt, particularly if he manages to get a spot in the Italian Lega (the premier division there), he might sneak into the first round next year when he is automatically eligible. He declared for the draft last year as well, and participated in some NBA workouts during the Chicago pre-draft camp and in some NBA cities, but an injury held him back a bit from what DraftExpress saw (see links) and were later told.
Marquinhos is a very intriguing prospect. You don't find legit wing players of his size and incipient skills everyday. He can become a good scorer and has the tools to eventually translate his game to the NBA. He's not a safe bet, certainly not one of those can't miss youngsters, but the chances for him to reach a high level are fairly good.