LAS VEGAS -- On his way out to the hallway for a postgame interview, 2017 five-star point guard Troy Brown, Jr. -- the hometown boy playing on the Las Vegas Prospects AAU team – shakes at least 10 hands, and says hello to at least 10 more well-wishers. Brown is the toast of the Vegas hoops scene, and as the third and final July open viewing period opened on Wednesday evening, he was the focus of plenty of high-major coaches.
Along with representatives from Texas, TCU and Baylor, to name a few, three quarters of the California men’s basketball coaching staff – head coach Cuonzo Martin and assistants Yanni Hufnagel and Wyking Jones -- was in attendance at Rancho High School in North Las Vegas, watching perhaps their biggest target for the 2017 class.
“I’ve talked to them a lot; they really stay in contact and they’ve been really good in recruiting,” Brown said. “I talk to coach Jones a lot, and coach Martin. They’re always talking to me, they’re at all my games, and I really appreciate how they’re recruiting me.”
The Bears aren’t the only California school making a strong run at Brown.
“I would say they’re showing the most interest, them and Stanford,” Brown said. “They’re the only schools that really talk to me constantly. Coach Jones always texts me to check up on me.”
Brown certainly will have his choice of college programs, as a 6-foot-5, 180 pound point guard, who’s expected to grow to 6-foot-7. In the next tier behind the Bears and the Cardinal, Brown lists Kansas, Louisville (“I’ve heard a little bit from them,” he says), Arizona and UNLV.
“I prefer to play point guard – that’s my main position,” says Brown, who showed off a lot of suddenness and explosiveness in his game Wednesday night. “With height, I would say I’d just be a good guard. I can play the one, two, three, it’s not really a problem. I’d just have to change my mentality a little bit. I prefer the point guard. That’s where I’m most comfortable at. If I go to college, and the coach says he needs me to play the two, then that’s not a problem for me.”
All of Brown’s suitors are projecting him as a point, including the Bears, who offered him two weeks before they were allowed to speak with Brown, directly.
The Jayhawks and the Rebels have close ties to Brown. One older sister – Jada Brown – is a junior forward for Kansas, and his other older sister – who once threw the shot put for Nevada-Reno – is currently finishing her studies at UNLV.
“I’ve gone out to Kansas to see my sister, and they make it an unofficial, and I went to the CP3 camp last year in North Carolina, and took an unofficial to Duke, because my plane was kind of late, so I might as well,” Brown said. “Other than that, I haven’t taken any time to say, ‘I’m going to go to this college, and go on an unofficial.’”
That time is coming, Brown says.
“Into this year, my junior year, I’m going to cut my list down to 10 colleges,” Brown says, before adding that Cal and Stanford will “most likely” make that list. “They both have great academics, and great basketball programs,” Brown says.
Academics are big in the Brown family, and Troy, Jr., takes his cues from his older sister.
“My dad’s talking to [Jada], telling her that basketball, even though it’s a way to get to college, you still have to have a backup plan, so she’s doing a lot of stuff – she has her own blog, she does interviews with players and stuff like that,” Brown says. “She knew what she wanted to be. She majors in broadcasting and communications.”
It’s very evident that Brown is as comfortable in front of a microphone as he is on the hardwood. He’s just as smooth, just as nimble. Brown’s parents – who both went to Texas A&M, with his father playing hoops there for two years – stress academics to all of their children.
“I ended up finishing the school year with a 3.4. I took a lot of honors and AP classes this year. I put a lot on my plate,” Brown says. “Last year, I had a 3.9, 3.8, so it’s something that I tried out this year, seeing how I could do, academically. I’m going to drop some honors classes, but overall, my grades are alright.
“School is a very big part of my life. My parents are very academically oriented. They keep me in school. My sister goes to Kansas, my other sister goes to UNLV, so school is very important to my family. We can’t do anything without school, and they always preach that. I’m not here today without school.”
School actually kept Brown off the final U16 US National Team this June. He made it through both cuts, but did not travel with the team to Argentina.
“It was fun going down there, but I didn’t get to go with the USA team, because I had school. I had semester exams,” Brown says. “Vegas gets out very late, for school, and my principal wouldn’t let me take the semester exams early, so I ended up not going. I’m pretty sure I’ll be on there next year, though. It was more out of respect for coach Showalter. He asked me to come down, and him being a good coach and a good man, I came down there for him, knowing that I wouldn’t make the team. I made it through both cuts, but then I had to go home. That comes with life. It’s adversity.”