Q&A with Jaylen Brown

CHICAGO --- Jaylen Brown earned the nation's No. 1 ranking, led Wheeler (Ga.) to a state championship and has now begun McDonald's All-American Game this week. After several months of silence about his recruitment, he spoke in-depth on Monday morning ...

How did your high school season end up?
It went good playing with my guys. Obviously we have a lot of guys that no one really knows about, but they stepped up big and played against a team that we know a lot about -- we ended up winning a (state) championship.

Did you think you lived up to expectations during your senior season?
I did in a way, but I kind of struggled because I wasn’t playing in a position that was my element. I was playing the four and the five because I was the tallest guy on my team. It’s not somewhere I’m used to playing. I’m used to playing on the wing or the one, two or three. I’m learning the game from a different aspect and it was a learning process. So I had to deal with that. I caught a rhythm towards the middle of the season and I thought I played pretty well.

What’s the next step developmental wise?
Developmental wise, there’s a long list. There’s a long list of things from top to bottom. I could start naming stuff, but we’d be here all day.

What are some things at the top of that list?
Defense. Defense is a limited commodity. Just being able to guard multiple positions and being able to stay in front of guards, forwards, that’s going to get you on the floor. Defense is going to get you on the floor no matter whose team you’re on so if I can get that to a level where I’m pretty good I’ll have a really solid career.

Since the state title game have you had more time to look into your recruiting process?
I have a few weeks. We are about to start the national tournament, but I took two visits to Michigan and California. I got to talk to my mom and talk about what I want to do towards going to college and just discussing things. I hadn’t gotten to the gist of things. The process is coming to an end. I have about a month and I’ll be looking to make a decision.

Will you wait on some NBA decisions before you make your decision?
That’s fair to say. It’s possible because I haven’t made my mind up on where I want to go yet. I haven’t really even thought about a top five. If I choose a school within the next two weeks that I think I like the most and if they don’t have any NBA guys I won’t have to wait until whatever the NBA deadline is. If I do, I’ll probably wait. I have a list of things that I’m looking into for the schools.

What are some of the things at the top of that list?
Being comfortable. No matter where I go. I’m going to be there for six months to four years so I want to make sure I’m comfortable wherever I’m at. Whether a coach leaves or if somebody gets recruited over me, I just want to make sure I’m going to a good environment, I have a great relationship with the people around me and they have a sure fire basketball team.

You recently visited California, where did that visit come from?
With Cal, I put a lot of schools on my list late that are really good educational wise like North Carolina. They came in late. Michigan came in late. Those two definitely came in late. Those are really good education schools. I want to get the most out of college. So I’m thinking schools that can get the most out of me and which schools I can get the most out of them. So I put the schools on my list first.

What has Cal’s pitch been to you?
The same as everybody else. It’s mostly about education and things like that. Berkeley is definitely known for education. But it’s the same for everybody else. Everybody else has their own spin on things and how they want you to come to their school. It’s pretty much the same as everything else.

Has California talked to you about possibly playing with Caleb Swanigan and Ivan Rabb?
Oh, no. I know with Ivan they are talking about they might get him or might not. But with Caleb I didn’t know he was getting recruited by Cal until the last week or so. I took a visit out there. I talked to Ivan. That’s pretty much the only person I talked to before I went out there. I liked the visit. It’s a nice place, Berkeley. Great education and borderline genius’ at Cal-Berkeley and I think I could fit in just like I could fit in somewhere. I have a lot of things to think about, but Cal is definitely on my list.

What did you like about your final official visit to Michigan?
Michigan, I have a lot of family. I’m based in Michigan so I could deflect a lot of stuff because my family is there, so Michigan is definitely going to be in the front runner of things. Talking to Coach Beilein, he’s like an offensive genius the way he gets these guys that aren’t really ranked high to be lottery picks in the draft is amazing. It’s definitely something that drew my attention. Also Michigan is a great education school. They have one of the top public universities in America with Cal-Berkeley, UCLA and North Carolina.

What’s your take on Kentucky?
Kentucky is probably the best basketball program in America. I took a lot of visits and nobody basketball program was as good as Kentucky. In the gist of things basketball is what I’m going to do with my life and basketball is important, but nobody’s basketball program is probably as good as Kentucky just with their facilities and how they operate. It’s just so professional and it’s ridiculous. I saw it with my own eyes. Kentucky, I just have so much respect for that program.

You said you planned to be somewhere from six months to four years, it would probably end up on the low end of that. What do you want our of your college experience?
I want to develop. People say I’m ready to go this year. People say I’ll be ready next year. To do what I want to do, I think it’ll take me at least two years. I don’t want to come into a situation like the NBA and have to develop for two or three years. When I come in I want to be a superstar. Coming in I want to be on superstar status. Coming in I don’t want to have to wait two years. It’s going to take development and it’s going to take hard work. I know I can make the business move and be a top five, top 10 or top 15 draft pick if I just had a solid year in college and left. I love the game too much to chase after the money. I know your heath is not secure, but I love the game. Your heath is never secure. You could get hurt anytime. I just want to develop and be the best player I can be. When I’m ready, I’m ready.

You took a visit to UNC recently, how was that?
Coach Roy, he’s a great guy, humble guy. He has a very smooth personality and is down to earth. His program has a lot of tradition and a lot of good players have come through their program. They treat it like it’s special and means a lot because a lot of their good players come back and everything. I don’t know what’s there, but obviously it’s something special. All of their players come back every summer and they always tutor you and mentor you. I’ve had people reach out to me that went to North Carolina and telling me it’s like nothing else. It’s that type of environment.

What has UNC’s pitch been to you?
The same as everybody else honestly. Come here and we are going to develop you and we are going to make sure you have everything you need education wise and are going to be in a good environment.

The word is that you have taken a break from the phone and told coaches to take a step back and give you space. Is that true?
I didn’t want people calling me. You can call my mom. She’ll pick up the phone and you can ask her about me. Other than that, I’m just trying to stay focused on one thing at a time. Before I was focused on my school work and winning a state championship. Now I’m focused on McDonald’s, Hoop Summit, Jordan and the national tournament. When all that ends, I will reach out to every coach. Until then I don’t really need to talk to you about how I’m doing. I already know what your school offers. I’ve been on a visit. I’ve talked to you numerous times. I know you want to build a relationship, but I’m not sure if I’m going to your school yet so I don’t want to build that relationship yet. If we are building a relationship and I go somewhere else it’s a waste of time and a waste of everyone’s energy. So I’d rather pick your school and then build a relationship.

What do you like about Kansas?
Bill Self is a great guy. Down to earth. Very humble. He came in a unique way. Bill Self doesn’t really talk a lot about basketball. He’s a people person. He talks about relationships and how he’s going to develop you as a man and mentally. That’s important as well. Just how you develop physically and mentally, and that’s how Bill Self comes out. Kansas definitely, at least when I was there, felt like a family environment. My mom said it reminded her of Muskegon, which is her hometown (in Michigan). Bill Self seems like a wonderful guy.

What about the local schools, Georgia and Georgia Tech, what sticks out about them?
I’m definitely going to have to reach out to them. They are great coaches. They’ve been down and they’ve been with me since eighth grade. I have a lot of respect for those guys. Coach Brian Gregory and coach Mark Fox are great guys. So I definitely have to reach to them. They still reach out and it’s basically the same pitch as everybody else, but basically just staying at home and what staying at home could mean. They’ve talked to me about a lot of the great players that have stayed at home like Russell Westbrook, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

You’ve done all five officials and taken unofficials to the other two, do you think you’ll do any others?
I doubt it. But you never know. I might feel a certain type of way when I wake up and call a coach and book a flight the next day. I don’t think I will.



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