Simeon guard Kezo Brown entered the high school landscape hyped as one of the most promising young talents on the horizon, and he flashed that potential in his freshman season for the state's program of prestige.
Brown was a pace-changing point guard with road-runner speed and quickness that could change the dynamic of the game. There's a reason he played more minutes than any freshman not named Jabari Parker under legendary coach Robert Smith.
But Brown essentially fell off the map last season, as he saw only limited action in a handful of games. It was a mystery from the outside looking in. Brown dealt with a health issue, which caused him to drop weight and struggle to regain his physical form.
The buzz was hushed. Expectations were in question. But this spring, Brown got back on the court -- and on the road to redemption -- with the Mac Irvin Fire.
Brown piled up points on numerous occasions on the 16U circuit. He showed off a dangerous outside stroke that wasn't part of his arsenal before.
Brown's father, Marquis Brown, was a former bucket-getter in Chicago. He led the city in scoring in 1995 at Robeson High School, and he's famously known for outscoring Kevin Garnett with 31 points in a prep showdown.
Kezo Brown has worked to show that he can fill it up himself.
"My jump shot has just came out of nowhere and that was something I really wanted to have," Brown said. "I got tired of people saying I couldn't shoot like my dad."
While Brown has added an important aspect to his game, the physical electricity isn't there just yet. That will take some time.
"I'm trying to take it slow," Brown said. "My motor is getting back slowly but surely. My handle needs to get a lot better, and my speed and athleticism need improvement. I'm starting to get back to the basket with ease like I used to."
Brown hasn't been able to push things too hard, but he has plans to ratchet things up once his body allows.
"I will get back to working like I once was," he said. "I used to get in the Simeon gym at 6 a.m. every day before school my freshman year. It's just a process right now."
Brown has continued his progress this month. Last weekend, he played with Simeon at the Michigan State team camp. Earlier in the month, he went out to Colorado Springs for the U17 USA Basketball training camp.
"USA went well and MSU was great," Brown said. "We lost in the championship, and we beat Whitney Young down there also."
From a recruiting standpoint, Brown can still reach the echelon that was originally in store. He let it be known that DePaul and Nebraska were the ones that kept their interest in him through his struggles.
Illinois showed their intrigue early on in his recruitment, and they have hosted him for games in Champaign in the past. The Illini staff called Brown when the contact period began last week.
"They just told me they are still interested and they're glad I'm back playing," he said.
Many more reached out as well. Brown told IlliniInquirer.com on Monday that Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, California and UIC were among those that contacted him.
He will surely be one to watch heading into July and his junior season to follow.