The journey to becoming the #1 player in the country isn’t one that is made overnight. For Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler small forward Jaylen Brown it began well before he stepped foot on high school court.
“I got him at 12,” Brown’s trainer Desmond Eastmond said. “He was a little bit above the curve than everybody else. He was about six feet and could handle the ball, he was fairly athletic. He had a great frame and at 12-13…as a matter of fact he was a little smaller at 12. When he got to seventh and eighth grade, he started to sprout out a little bit and got taller. The skill aspect, he always had the guard capabilities, he just had to work on his body and his work ethic. His mom made a great decision moving him over to Wheeler High School, where he got a chance to learn from Coach (Doug) Lipscomb. He continued his growth and understanding of the game to the point where he is now.”
Earlier this month Brown put a resounding capper on his high school career by nailing two free throws with 0.5 seconds left on the clock to give Wheeler a 59-58 victory over Pebblebrook in Georgia’s Class 6A championship game. That clutch showing from the charity stripe is further confirmation that the talented youngster can pretty much do it all on the floor.
“The scouting report is he can score like Melo… anywhere on the floor,” said Eastmond. “He is a 6-t wing player that can get his own bucket off the bounce. He doesn’t need a pick & roll. He can beat his man off the bounce, strong enough to finish, but he has a great feel and understanding of the game. He knows how to make his teammates better. His championship run in Georgia… not one kid on his team is a top 100 kid.”
That Brown is a team guy just increased his appeal. The five-star standout narrowed his list from the entire country to a final seven of Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Michigan. California is a surprise late addition to the mix, as Brown and his mother spent Sunday and Monday in Berkely for an unofficial.
The trip to Michigan last week was the last of Brown’s official visits. Prior to that he stopped Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA. Though Eastmond didn’t make the trip to Ann Arbor with his star pupil, he knows why the Wolverines made the list of finalists.
“First he has family from Michigan,” Eastmond explained. “There also was one conversation that him and I had specifically. We were going over style of play, coaches, and development and maximizing his talent. I said, ‘have you taken a look at Michigan? Their system is unbelievable with the way (Beilein) spaces the floor and his pick & roll. Look at Hardaway, LeVert, Stauskas and Glenn Robinson. I said none of those kids were top 100. Two lottery picks and one (second) rounder. Fast forward and you’ve got to put yourself in their shoes with your game. There ain’t no telling what (Beilein) could do with you.’”
“From there he looked into it. I believe his uncle made a call to the university and spoke to one of the coaches because he has an uncle who is an alumnus. Once his uncle made the call, the coaches started talking to him.”
The Michigan coach with whom he formed a bond was assistant lavall jordan.
“Val is cool,” said Eastmond. “He is young and energetic. He knows the game. He speaks Michigan and he knows his craft. He is pretty much is telling (Brown) what he needs to hear as far as where they would play him and how they would use him. The same thing that we discussed.”
‘Put you in Tim Hardaway’s shoes you will be pretty much a top five pick just in the way that the coach will be able to use you.’”
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for a recap of Brown’s visit in the coming days.