A high school sophomore at the time, as Brown watched fifth-seeded USC defeat Arkansas and Texas at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in 2007, he could certainly see himself playing there in the NCAA Tournament in a few years. While he had the location and tournament right, the colors that he would be wearing were a little different.
At the time, USC was led by current Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young and Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson. The Trojans played in the powerhouse Pac-12 conference, featured a national schedule, and was one of the fast rising programs in the NCAA with the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class with top prospect and current Milwaukee Bucks forward O.J. Mayo according to Rivals.com. Everything a high school sophomore could want in a program and all in sunny Los Angeles.
After Brown’s sophomore year at Barrington High School, the list of college coaches knocking on his door stretched all the way from Rhode Island to Los Angeles. Nonetheless, Gill, Mass. would be his next stop.
But Brown would have been the last person to guess he’d be at NMH after his sophomore season, in which he averaged over 20 points a game for Barrington. Instead, Brown was busy visiting the hottest basketball schools in the country, with each coach courting his talents.
“I went out [to USC] and visited and was close to committing,” said Brown. “Notre Dame was recruiting me for basketball and football.”
But as Brown continued to impress coaches on his AAU team, the Rhode Island Hawks, another coach caught sight of his talents. Carroll saw the athletic guard at a local tournament and convinced him to take a visit. While Brown looked at other prep schools, such as Deerfield and Exeter, he eventually decided to attend NMH and reclassify as a sophomore. Once at NMH, Brown became a perfect illustration of the ever-changing landscape in college basketball.
NMH plays in arguably the toughest division in high school basketball, with a travel schedule that takes the team across the nation and a practice plan that is modeled after top-tier Division I basketball programs. In Brown’s senior season, NMH lost in the national championship game on a buzzer-beater.
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