Early Start Doesn't Pay Off With Brown

IU Assistant Coach Thad Fitzpatrick was one of the first to identify South Kent Prep wing Gilbert Brown as a 2006 recruiting target, but the 6'6" standout recently verballed to Pitt.

INDIANAPOLIS-Indiana got its foot in the door early with 6'6" Class of 2006 wing Gilbert Brown from South Kent (Conn.) Prep School, but that same door recently closed on Coach Mike Davis' Hoosiers.

That's because Brown ended his recruitment late last week by pledging to Big East power Pitt. While Brown said that Indiana was one of the first schools to show interest, the Hoosiers didn't make his final short list.

"Indiana was in there from the beginning, they recruited me hard and I talked with the coaches," said Brown, the 19th-ranked shooting guard in the Class according to Scout.com. "But when it came down to it, it was really down to Miami (Fla.) and Pitt."

Ultimately, Brown said that Pitt's blend of academics and athletics was too much for Indiana or any other school to overcome.

"What swung this in Pitt's direction was that, one, they have a great business school, they have a great basketball program, and a great academic support system," said Brown. "That won over my mom, and it won me over eventually because I did my research and looked at all the other schools that were recruiting me and offered me a scholarship.

"Right then, when I found out everything I needed to know, it was like, ‘I'm going to commit to Pitt, whether it's now or in April.'"

Brown decided there was no reason to wait, and Indiana scratched another of its Class of 2006 targets from its list. With as many as 5-6 scholarships to offer, Indiana's '06 efforts haven't produced the results that many had hoped for.

While Brown doesn't have the same sort of national reputation that players like Greg Oden and Mike Conley do, many thought that Brown's experience at South Kent would prepare him to be an early contributor at the college level. As one of the elite prep schools in the country, South Kent could have as many as 10-11 players on its current roster earn Division I scholarships.

"It helps a lot to play against that sort of competition everyday, especially in a prep school league," said Brown, who averaged nearly 15 points per game this season. "You're playing against grown men, 20 or 21 year olds. It makes you step up your level, step up your game."

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