A 7-1 high school freshman always will draw widespread notice, and especially if that young athlete demonstrates any observable level of skill.
Zach Brown did exactly that from the moment he first arrived on the scene, and he continues to track as a national top 10 talent.
|Brown strikes an impressive figure on the court|
A native of impoverished Liberty City in Miami, Brown and his family suffered through the standard, substandard living conditions that plague many within the city. Basketball at that juncture was an afterthought, but Brown eventually found salvation in the form of Michael Lipman.
Lipman, a events manager from the area, became familiar with Brown as he and Lipman’s son played basketball locally. He ultimately became Brown’s guardian, and the big man has blown up ever since.
During his freshman season, Brown impressed nearly all who watched him. Not only is he huge, he showed off soft hands and the basics of post play. Any seven-footer that age who can run without tripping must be deemed to have potential, and Brown brought much more to the table.
He competed at the Elite 100 event last summer along and earned an invitation to the LeBron Camp in July. He succeeded in head to head tilts with older and more tested opponents, proving that he indeed does belong among the elite.
The Next Step
Brown enjoyed some eye-catching moments this season at Miami Beach (Fla.) High, and the fact that he can now focus fully on basketball should accelerate his progress.
His AAU squad, the South Beach All-Stars, received an invitation to join the 2015 EYBL circuit. Brown likely will play for the 17-under team but could compete at some 16-under tournaments as well.
Meanwhile, he could end up back at LeBron or other camps, but he plan is for him to work on his conditioning and skills rather than play at events every weekend the way that some players seem to do.
From an improvement perspective, we’d love to see him continue to lean up and become more explosive. At 7-1, he doesn’t have to be a dynamic athlete, but gaining some reaction speed (already not bad) always helps. And, of course, he can polish his interior scoring tools as well as develop a face-up game. He’ll always be a center, but in the long run he’ll need a 15-foot jump shot in order to maximize his potential.
Brown is so far ahead of the curve, however, even this summer we won’t be looking for him to be anywhere near complete. With his size, good hands, nice hook shots and sturdy frame, he’s an easy call to remain among the national elite.