Hoops Recruiting: J'Covan Brown Talks OSU

J'Covan Brown, the 41st-best recruit in the Class of 2008 in Scout's rankings, is looking forward to making the trip to Oklahoma State this weekend. Brown, a 6-2, 175-pound guard, and his dad Johnny Brown are scheduled to be in Stillwater on an official visit beginning Friday. GoPokes.com spoke earlier this week with both J'Covan and his dad about the Port Arthur, Texas standout's recruitment.

Brown, who averaged 26.3 points per game as a junior in leading Memorial High School in Port Arthur to a 29-6 record and runner-up finish in District 21-5A, said Tuesday night that he is looking forward to this weekend's trip to Stillwater. It will be Brown's first official visit.

"I'm really looking forward to having a lot of fun with the players," said Brown, who will arrive Friday and stay through Sunday. "I want to find out how the players are, how the coaches are, and see how the people are that go to school there."

Brown said that he has narrowed his field to three schools – Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas – and that this weekend's visit could help him decide where he signs in November. He has not taken official visits to Baylor or Texas, but has been on both campuses for camps.

What will he and his father be looking for on the visit? "Just what kind of visit I have. I want to see how great of a basketball tradition they have, and I want to check out the academics too. I want to one day play in the NBA but I know it's important that I get a good education in case something happens. I want to have an education to fall back on in case that doesn't work out," Brown said.

Will distance from home play a factor in his final decision? "He says it really doesn't matter," said Johnny Brown, "but J'Covan has always been a family-oriented kid. Like we told him, Oklahoma State is really not that far. It's just on the other side of Dallas. I think the most important thing he's looking for is a school that has a family atmosphere, and where he fits in with the other players."

Brown had hoped to have ended the recruiting process in the summer but that changed in June when he broke a bone in his foot during a summer league game. He had scored 30 points in the first half of the game in Beaumont, Texas and suffered the injury early in the second half. "He tried to make a move and stepped on someone's ankle," said Johnny Brown. A screw was inserted to help the broken bone heal during surgery and "it's going to be there probably his entire life, or at least until he quits playing basketball," Johnny Brown said. "The foot looks pretty good, but he's not nearly back to 100 percent yet. I'd say he's probably about 85 percent."

Johnny Brown believes the injury may be good for his son in the long run. "In the long run it may be a blessing in disguise for him because he was really worn down from playing so much basketball the last few years. He really hasn't had a chance to let his body heal for a while so it made him slow down and take it easy. It probably was a blessing in disguise," his dad said.

J'Covan says it was tough to sit on the sidelines for much of the summer, though. "I want to play all day, every day. I love basketball. I don't ever get tired of playing basketball," he said.

Brown spent two years at Kelly Catholic High School in Beaumont, and played alongside his brother Jonathan (two years older). The Brown brothers helped lead Kelly Catholic to two state TAPPS championships during J'Covan's freshman and sophomore seasons. But when his brother graduated Brown asked his parents if he could play at Memorial High School.

"He really wanted to come back and play with his friends. It was what he wanted, and we decided to let him come back," Johnny Brown said. "We had known (Memorial basketball) Coach (Terrul) Henderson from when he had previously coached in Port Arthur (at Lincoln High), but he had left to go to Houston to coach. When he was hired back that made the decision easy. But there were a lot of critics, people saying that he couldn't play on the 5A level. They said that he was a good player at the private school level but that he wouldn't be able to do it in 5A."

Brown didn't take long to prove those critics wrong. He set the school single-game scoring record with 50 points in a win over No. 8-ranked Spring Westfield in November. He then backed it up with a 44-point outing against Atascocita in January. He finished the season with a school-record 895 points while playing in 34 of 35 games. Brown scored 30 or more points in 14 games, and helped Memorial win a school-record 29 games (11 more than the previous season, and six more than the previous record of 23).

"Yes, sir, I heard what people were saying… when I transferred that I wouldn't be able to do this and wouldn't be able to do that. I wouldn't be able to get them to the playoffs," J'Covan said. "I think I answered those questions."

Now Brown has to silence those critics who say he has a bad attitude on the basketball court. Brown said his competitive nature on the court is often taken the wrong way, especially when he gets upset with an official's call. But he believes people will see a different player with a better attitude during his senior season.

"Some people go by what they hear. All I can say is don't judge the book by the cover. If you haven't seen me play in person than you shouldn't be judging me," he said. "My attitude is better. I know it's important for me to keep my head on and keep the right attitude."

Johnny Brown said, "A lot has been made about J'Covan having an attitude problem, but that's not true. When you really get to know J'Covan, he's a pretty good kid. He just likes to win; he loves to win. That's just the competitiveness in him. Ever since he began playing basketball in the Y league he's always won. People look at the bad side, and they don't look at the competitive side of him. He's got that (problem with his attitude) under control. We've talked about it a lot and he knows that he needs to put all that energy and enthusiasm into his game. It's really all about maturity. He was just a kid, but he's grown up now and is dealing with it."

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