It’s been a long AAU season for five-star small forward Jaylen Brown. He’s participated in nearly every event he was able to and even traveled to Italy for a basketball tour with several other adidas athletes. By the time we caught up with him in Las Vegas this weekend, he was clearly exhausted.
“Yeah, it’s been a long, great summer,” Brown said. “It feels great, though. This is the last AAU tournament. I’m trying to leave out with a bang. I’ve been playing with this team for a long time.”
The Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler athlete was very impressive this weekend, even though he was clearly tired, and at virtually every one of his games, there was a long list of college coaches in attendance.
The No. 1 small forward has earned attention from across the country, but he said the schools recruiting him the hardest right now are UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, and the two hometown schools, Georgia and Georgia Tech. Rumors have floated, actually, that UCLA is the current leader, and Brown didn’t deny it.
“There might be a little truth to that,” Brown said. “But at this point, it changes from week to week. I just have to sit down and make sure every thing checks off the list so I can make the right decision.”
Brown will visit UCLA after adidas Nations this upcoming weekend, and he has a plan for what he wants to see from the Bruins.
“I am just looking to see what the coaches are talking about, how my mom feels, how I feel,” Brown said. “I’m just looking for comfortability. See the establishments, look around, and just have fun.”
The Georgia athlete said that what initially drew him to UCLA was assistant coach David Grace.
“Coach Grace is really cool with the people that are closest to my family,” Brown said. “One of my coaches recommended Coach Grace personally, and that meant a lot to me. Ever since then it’s been a very humble experience. I feel a vibe form him, a very positive energy.
“I talk to Coach Alford a lot, too. He’s a great guy. He’s been through it — the college process, the NBA process — so he knows what we’re going through. So it was good talking to him and hearing from him.”
Brown also said that Kansas was turning up the heat lately, and that he wants to visit at some point soon, but didn’t know the date.
“They’re on me hard,” Brown said. “It’s a school that speaks for itself in terms of the players it has produced and the success they’ve had as a program.”
He also made a point to say that the hometown schools, in particularly Georgia, shouldn’t be counted out.
“They’re absolutely a factor,” Brown said. “They were one of the first schools that started recruiting me, which meant a lot. Before they even saw me play basketball, they offered me a full scholarship, so there’s a loyalty there.”
Brown, according to a few people who know him well, is a worldly kid, though, with a cosmopolitan attitude. As an example, when he visited Italy with adidas, he learned a little bit of Italian so he could talk to the referees.
“I learned a few things,” Brown said. “I learned a few words they could pick up on. Most of the stuff was like Spanish, which I speak pretty well, so it wasn’t hard to learn it.”
In that vein, there is a reason to suspect that the bright lights of Los Angeles could make an impact.
“There’s definitely a draw for me to L.A.,” Brown said. “The spotlight is definitely on teams like that in L.A. At UCLA, stars come to the game, it’s a very big environment, a very Showtime-like environment. It’s definitely something that every player wants to play in. (On the visit) I just want to make sure I’m ready for it.”
Brown said that he could make a decision at some point in the next couple of months, particularly if he feels very comfortable after one of his visits. If he doesn’t decide, he said he will almost certainly narrow it down after the summer.
Perhaps more importantly, though, he said he will likely not sign until the April signing period, so whichever teams are in the mix will likely have to keep recruiting him for the next eight months.
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