Kedrick Brown, a 6-foot-6, 222-pound former Zachary High product, was a junior-college All-American at Okaloosa-Walton Community College in Niceville, Fla., averaging 16.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game. Last fall, he signed with LSU over Auburn and Mississippi State before his second season began.
But after Brown shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range, posting 22.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, he decided he was ready to hire an agent and place his name in the NBA draft pool, leaving LSU and head coach John Brady behind.
For the time being, his decision was vindicated when the Boston Celtics took him with the No. 11 overall pick Wednesday night, making Brown the highest pick ever out of a junior college..
Kedrick's upside is unlimited because of his athletic ability, which is top-level, and his shooting ability, which has improved daily for two years," said Okaloosa-Walton head coach Bruce Stewart, who was at Brown's side in New York during the draft. "He is a humble young man who will keep working to get better. He has a strong body to play forward, but eventually I can see him playing the two guard spot in the NBA."
According to a report in The Boston Globe, the top five players on the Celtics' wish list were Shane Battier, Jason Richardson, Rodney White, Joe Johnson, and Kedrick Brown. Boston was hoping that one of the five would be available, but lucked out when the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were thought to be coveting Johnson, took Desagana Diop, a hulking center from Senegal via Oak Hill (Va.) Academy. The Celtics got both Johnson and Brown.
"Kedrick is a phenomenal athlete with the ability to shoot the long ball. … When you see him on tape, it will be very clear to you why we drafted him at 11," said Boston coach Jim O'Brien.
Celtics general manager Chris Wallace estimated only 10 to 12 NBA teams saw Brown play. Brown did not attend the NBA's pre-draft camp in Chicago, did not conduct interviews and worked out for very few teams. But he watched his draft stock rise dramatically between the time of his draft declaration and Wednesday — thanks in large part to his agent, Arn Tellem.
Pre-draft rumors had Tellem strong-arming a trade that would have sent Brown to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Celtics insist, however, that they're taking Brown for themselves.
"I'm very excited," Brown told the Globe. "I think I fit very well in this program. I think I can help on the perimeter. I think they treat junior college players like high school players. But I think I'm ready to make the transition from junior college. I'm very surprised (at being selected No. 11), but I'm happy."