Video: Jordan Brown highlights
Top 10 prospect in the Class of 2018 will play for a state title this weekend.
Hey, that's not fair. Jordan Brown
has a head start.
The Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.)
junior already got to take a shot at the Golden 1 Center, spanking new home of the Sacramento Kings and site of Saturday's CIF Open Division title game between Brown's Timberwolves and Bishop Montgomery (Torrance)
He took it two weeks ago, after the Kings lost to Denver and Brown was waiting around for his mom who works at the sparkling facility. The place was basically cleared so Brown, in street clothes, grabbed a ball and took a shot.
Did he make it?
"It was a dunk," he said. "I needed a warm-up."
As if being 6-foot-11, nimble, ambidextrous and the nation's fifth-ranked junior recruit according to 247Sports isn't a big enough advantage.
Brown was out in front and destined to be an acclaimed hoopster out of the womb. His 6-7 dad Dion — a former Louisiana-Lafayette standout who was a sixth round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 1984 — named his son after his favorite player, Michael Jordan.
But it gets better.
"My middle name is Isiah," Brown said. "After my dad's second favorite player, Isiah Thomas."
Considering the tense relationship between Jordan and Thomas, Brown might have been predisposed for a split personality, if not downright angry. Especially being such a giant of a lad at such an early age. But according to Woodcreek coach Paul Hayes, nothing could be further from the truth.
Besides being a great teammate, Hayes said, Brown is a jewel of student and classmate.
"Outgoing, well-liked, approachable," he said. "Very polite. He's very popular among his peers and teachers and a willing participant in school activities. He even leads school rallies."
He led a doozy of a rally Saturday when Woodcreek (32-2) went on a 28-11 fourth-quarter run to erase a 48-38 deficit after three en route to a 65-59 regional title win over Sac-Joaquin Section rival Sheldon (Sacramento). The victory vaulted Woodcreek to No. 25 in the MaxPreps national rankings.
Brown finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds to add to his impressive season averages of 26.3 points, 15.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He got plenty of guard help from Tyrell Roberts
(17 points) and Jackson Hughes
Two weeks earlier, Brown led a similar fourth-quarter rally and made two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to beat Sheldon 69-68 in the SJS title game. Brown was in foul trouble most of that game and his teammates largely bailed him out. Until the end.
"We've had to come back in several games this year," Brown said. "We're just a resilient team. We just don't quit when things get really tough."
Helps when you have an ace in the hole like Brown, who has offers from four Sweet 16 schools: UCLA, Kansas, Oregon and Arizona.
Like the new big men of his era, Brown displays guard skills, often rebounding at one end and leading the break at the other. Who needs an outlet?
Brown said his recruitment, like his potential, is wide open.
"There's not much he can't do," Hayes said. "He was very skilled when he got here and he's just got better. A nice new thing for him is his ability to avoid contact and now he can step outside and shoot. He can consistently knock down 15-footers. He has tremendous footwork and moves. He's the complete package."
Said former college coach Gerry Freitas, who owns a West Coast scouting service: "I don't know if there is a ceiling for Jordan Brown. He impacts the game tremendously at both ends of the court. In a big way. His biggest improvement is learning how to play against double and triple teams, which he sees every game. He's able to make the right pass or finish in traffic. He's developing physically at the same time of his game."
With so much developing physically — and so much fanfare — elite players sometime over-inflate their egos.
"They can get big-headed," Freitas said. "Talking with coach Hayes, nothing is further from the truth in regards to Jordan Brown."
He'll need to be the truth against fourth-ranked Bishop Montgomery, which for the past month has knocked out the heavyweights of Southern California to win section and regional titles.
In the process, the Knights (30-2) knocked off then-Top 10 nationally-ranked teams Mater Dei (twice), Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) and Chino Hills. All featured 5-star players 6-10 or taller, including the nation's top-ranked junior Marvin Bagley III
, of Sierra Canyon, Mater Dei's Bol Bol
and Onyeka Okongwu
of Chino Hills.
Bishop Montgomery, led by Oregon State-bound Ethan Thompson
, top junior guard David Singleton
and San Diego State commit Jordan Schakel
doesn't have a player in the rotation taller than 6-6.
"They have so many talented players and so much depth," Hayes said. "We have to keep them from penetrating which they do so really well, but they all shoot so well from the perimeter. They're tough to hold down."
Brown, who has been to Spain and Argentina the last two summers representing USA Basketball, sees things from a different perspective.
"They're obviously really good," he said. "We just need to keep playing our game and we'll be just fine."