Grandma Brown No More

Those people who gave Gilbert Brown the nickname "Grandma" a few years back should get a good look at the South Kent junior swingman now, because he doesn't even resemble the slow-footed, small player he was back at West Nottingham.

A few years ago, his teammates at West Nottingham (Md.) dubbed Gilbert Brown "Grandma" because he was so slow and non-athletic. Now, Brown is the one laughing.

The 6-6, 190-pound Harrisburg, Pa. native, who has played the past three-plus seasons under Raphael Chillious at West Nottingham and now South Kent (Conn.), has come a long way to become a guy getting high-major looks.

It didn't hurt that he got a chance to play with guys like UConn standout Josh Boone, NBA rookie Dorell Wright, Clemson freshman Cheyenne Moore and current teammates Andray Blatche and Rob Thomas along the way.

``I tried to learn things from each of them," Brown said. "Everything that they did well, I tried to pick it up and use it."

Brown, 17, has finally gotten his chance to shine, even on a team with Blatche and Thomas. After playing about 10 minutes per game a year ago, he's the third option on this year's loaded South Kent squad.

``He grew about three inches last year and his athleticism finally started to show," Chillious said. "But the biggest thing is that he's finally gotten a chance to play."

When Brown first showed up at West Nottingham, it was because his mother wanted him to get straightened out – and get out of the public school system for a year. But after spending a year with Chillious, the family decided it was best to remain in the preps and it's all worked out in the long run.

``He really fell in my lap," Chillious said. "His brother was at West Nottingham, so he ended up going there. Back then he was awkward and slow."

Brown's length, athleticism and versatility have coaches talking about his potential. Brown, who still needs to develop more consistency with his outside shot, said that the schools he likes the most right now are Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Miami and UConn – but there are plenty of other suitors and Brown isn't narrowing things down just yet. Chillious said that Purdue, Iowa, Iowa State, Indiana, Clemson, Auburn and Florida have also expressed interest of late.

``He's come a long way," Chillious said. "He attacks the glass in transition and he really understands the game. He's also getting better at knowing when to take over. He's the one, even more than the point guards, who gets people set up and tells them where to go. Whoever gets him won't be getting a freshman."

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