A New Commitment For SJSU Hoops

The San Jose State men's basketball team received a comittment on Monday from a Southern California player who was in attendance on Saturday for the Utah football game and tailgate.

The barbeque was a success! Yes, with that tongue partially in cheek opening, Chino Hill High's Derek Brown was on a recruiting visit to San Jose State over the weekend which partially entailed the SJSU football game against Utah and the preceding afternoon tailgate. On Monday, Brown phoned Coach George Nessman with this message: 'I want to be a Spartan.'

Brown is a 6-foot-1 backcourter with a particular set of basketball talents -- running a team. Assessing his production he said his top skills are "my ability to breakdown defenses and getting teammates the ball at the right time. I might not be as fast or as strong as some opponents but I can control the game with my ballhandling."

His high school coach, Don Grant, puts it this way: "He is one of the best in the state and what makes him so valuable is his skill level -- it jumps out at you. He may not be a great athlete or one of those athletes who play basketball -- he is a basketball player."

Etop Udo-Ema, a longtime basketball figure in southern California, described Brown thusly: ""Probably the best pure point guard in the state of California in the class of 2010. Left handed lead guard who can really run a team. Big time ballhandler and passer. Can also score if needed."

How did Brown come to his decision to go with San Jose State? Paraphasing Elizabeth Barrett Browning, let him count the ways. "San Jose State provided the best overall balance. I wanted to play in a good conference against good teams and it's far enough away for me to be independent but it's still close to my family. San Jose was the first team to offer and Coach Nessman wanted me as their #1 guy. On the visit, it felt like the players are treated as family. Plus, the business school is one of the best."

Brown is the son of a basketball coach. His father ran the team from the point at Muir High back in the late 1970's, a squad that included UNLV and NBA-er Stacey Augmon among other talents. It seems a case of like father - like son but the younger Brown's first involvement with organized sports was baseball. But that became a little too sedate -- "boring" was how Brown put it -- and his basketball playing went from just for fun to "falling in love with it."

Through hard work and solid perception, Brown picked up the qualities that made his father a high school success. "When I was younger," said Brown, "I played with older guys and tried to soak up as much knowledge and understanding as I could. My dad and I also did exercises to work on my peripheral vision."

From entering Chino Hills as a freshman to now in his senior year, Brown sees major changes in himself. "I'm stronger, bigger and faster now but my attitude during my freshman year wasn't right for the next level." That turned around. "Now, I'm smarter and more talented -- it's been an incredible leap."

He was the most valuable player of the Sierra League last season, averaging 16.6 points per game and 5.7 rebounds a contest on a Husky squad that went 25-8 overall and 9-1 in winning the conference.

In 2010-2011, he'll be stepping up to the Spartans.

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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at kevin@insidesparta.com

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