Waiting Game For Takais Brown

It's looking like the Buckeyes may hit the junior college ranks to fill at least one of their remaining scholarship spots in this year's hoops recruiting class. One candidate is Takais Brown, a power forward attending junior college in Illinois. Kyle Lamb introduces us to this prospect.

Perhaps you can call him Windex. After all, by the time Takais Brown is ready to begin his recruitment in full force, it's going to be late March and early April, and schools will be doing a little spring-cleaning with their scholarship counts.

But Windex might be an appropriate nickname for other reasons as well, for the 6-8 240-pound forward from Southeastern Illinois Junior College, located in Harrisburg, Ill.

For the schools looking for someone to do the dirty work or clean the glass, Brown has become one of the leading candidates. As a freshman last season, Brown averaged 14 points, eight rebounds, and 1.6 blocks a game for the Falcons.

"He's your average, traditional power forward," said SE Illinois head coach, Todd Franklin. "He's a little old school in how he does things. He has good range to 15 feet, maybe 17 feet consistently."

"He's a good shot blocker and a tremendous rebounder, especially on the offensive end. He's fairly skilled for a 6-8 240-pound man. He runs the floor pretty well. He will be a high major player and he will only get better," Franklin added.

Ohio State, who is looking for a fifth player in the 2006 recruiting class to join Daequan Cook, David Lighty, Greg Oden and Mike Conley, would love nothing more than someone like Brown to shape the class-someone who does that dirty work and rebounds.

The Buckeyes have set their sights on a traditional power forward in the JUCO ranks, going away from Matta's typical style of finding a three-point shooter in his four-out and one-in philosophy. In addition, they will reportedly take six players in the class, meaning they may actually sign as many as two players from the JUCO ranks.

Franklin says Ohio State has been in on Brown for a few months.

"They came in here to see him this summer. I think they liked him earlier in the summer," Franklin noted. "Coach (Thad) Matta has not been in here yet, but that's a different deal. A lot of the head guys have been in, but he hasn't yet. They have been working out this summer, and a lot of guys came in July and Ohio State was one of them. They expressed they liked what they saw, and Ohio State was one of them."

But there's a catch for Ohio State or anyone else that wants to get involved.

Franklin says that Brown, like all of his players that come through SE Illinois, will not sign a letter of intent with anyone until the spring signing period which begins in the middle of April and runs through late May. That means the recruitment won't really get serious for several months.

"He's not going to do anything (this fall)," Franklin explained. "I'm much more concerned about the academic side and get all that done. He's got a little work to do there, so that's where our emphasis is going to be. That's what he wants to do as well."

Although Franklin said that Brown does have to boost his academics a little, he also believes there should be no problem ultimately qualifying wherever he goes.

There is currently a long list of schools that has been in on Brown, apparently willing to wait however long they need to for a shot to sign him.

"Everyone knows he won't sign until spring. Georgia, Purdue, Ohio State, Xavier, UNLV, Missouri, and Detroit…those types are in on him. Southern Miss as well," Franklin said. "Those people have really hit it hard all summer and spring. Pretty much most of the teams to come through and watch have stayed on him hard. That would be the group that has been hammering on him now. By spring time there's no telling. Minnesota, there's another Big Ten team involved."

As teams understand he won't sign until spring, Franklin believes a lot can and will change between now and then. They will continue to monitor what these programs do with other players at the same position before spring, while also doing their homework on the programs themselves.

The depth charts and coaching stability will be two huge factors in this process. As far as offers, Franklin says most have offered or will be expected to stay with Brown provided they don't sign anyone else before that.

"Pretty much most of those teams (have offered)," he said. "Let's say that I think most of those teams would take him, but it's not a big deal right now. I think most guys are pretty serious about it."

Brown started his high school career in Flint, Mich. as a relatively unknown commodity. By his senior year at Flint Central, he was 6-8, but only 210 pounds.

A strong senior season propelled him to have a few high major Division I offers, but nothing that jumped out for the skinny senior who needed to do some work in the classroom.

"He's kind of a late developer, mostly because he's so young," Franklin said of Brown who doesn't turn 19 until late in September. "He had a real good senior year. At that time out of high school, he was thought of as more of a MAC type of player. Again, he should have been a senior in high school last year because of his relative age."

Once Brown arrived at SE Illinois, he put on 30 pounds of muscle his freshman season. He now weighs in at 242 pounds, as opposed to the 210 he weighed as a senior in high school.

About the only weakness, if it is such a thing, in Brown's game according to Franklin is his perimeter defense.

"If there's one thing, because he really hasn't done it, it's that he needs to guard the perimeter a little more," Franklin said. "In the Big 10, he would have had to chase around Roger Powell all over the place. He has the foot speed to guard quicker guys, but he has to do it. At the next level, he's going to face guys that will be a lot faster and he's not used to guarding those types. It's not his fault though, he's played center most of his career so he's had to guard guys in the paint."

But in all, Franklin just wants to see improvement across the board for Brown.

"It's not one thing really. He just needs to continue his rep work with everything," he added.

With improvements across the board on both the offensive and defensive end, Brown could find himself being an even bigger commodity by season's end.

That would be quite an exciting development for schools that stay in on him between now and the end of the season. But all things being equal, does anyone have an advantage?

Although Franklin didn't really say there were any leaders or favorites, he did have a message about Brown's interest in Ohio State.

"I know he would have a lot of interest in Ohio State when it comes time," Franklin explained. "With the guys coming into Ohio State and the talent they are putting together there, that's a really exciting thing going on there."

"I think that's a place he could really fit into well. I know they are looking for a guy like Takais at power forward to join the rest of those great players in that class, and I think that's a great situation to look at," Franklin concluded.

Spring is still a long ways away. But someone is going to get a pretty good cleaning.

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