Maccabi Tel Aviv yesterday came to an agreement with Marcus Brown, who played last season with Zalgiris Kaunas. Maccabi is counting in 34 year-old Brown, the Euroleague's all-time scorer, to help shore up the team's offense following seven preseason losses this year.

"No doubt this is a shooter with God-given gifts," said basketball commentator Lev Tigay yesterday about Brown. The writer for Russian sports paper Sport Express knows Brown from his two-year stint with CSKA Moscow between 2003 and 2005.

Tigay said that during the period Brown played for Efes Pilsen and CSKA, he was one of Europe's top three players, if not the best. However, he stressed that since losing the 2005 title game to Spain's Tau Vitoria, Brown's numbers have declined.

Brown's stats with Pilsen between 2001 and 2003 are amazing: 64 percent from two-point range and 51 percent from beyond the arc. At CSKA he contributed 16.6 points per game in Euroleague action, including 43 percent from three-point range.

Brown and company beat Maccabi Tel Aviv in Yad Eliahu in 2003, but lost to the Israelis twice, including the 2004 Euroleague semifinal.

Brown, considered a relatively reserved person, is past his prime, according to his coach at Zalgiris Kaunas, Rimantas Grigas, who recently left the club. While acknowledging Brown's important contribution to the team, he noted that after the heavy schedule of last season he showed up this summer "out of shape."

Ending on a high note

Maccabi Tel Aviv managed to salvage its preseason with a dominant performance over Ironi Ramat Gan yesterday. Lior Eliyahu scored 18 points and dished out three assists as Maccabi triumphed 91-75. Chester Simmons, whose spot on the roster may be in jeopardy with the arrival of Brown, added 13 points.