Arizona Basketball

Athletic family background pushes Arizona Wildcats Class of 2017 target Troy Brown Jr. toward success

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Troy Brown Jr.

Troy Brown Jr.

LAS VEGAS — Coming from an athletic family, including his parents and two older sisters, Troy Brown Jr. of Las Vegas is well adept to a competitive atmosphere.

“My sister Jada won one state title, so I have to win two,” Brown said with a laugh Friday night after leading his Las Vegas Prospects team over Deron Williams Elite in the 15-and-under pool of the Fab 48 AAU tournament at Palo Verde High School here.

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Both of Brown’s parents were athletes at Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville). His father played basketball and his mother, Lynn, was a track athlete. His oldest sister, Janae, was a discus and shot put thrower for the UNLV track and field team. His next oldest sister, Jada, is a sophomore on the Kansas women’s basketball team.

The accolades start young for the Brown family. Janae won a national championship in the shot put when she was only 11. Troy Jr. celebrates his 15th birthday Monday. Although only 14, he already has scholarship offers by UNLV, Arizona, UCLA and ASU. He took an unofficial visit to Kansas in February, when he watched Jada play.

“I’ve been playing since I was like three in organized basketball,” Troy Jr. said. “I always played up two years ahead (of his class). This is actually my fist year playing my age group (15 and under).”


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His skill set — and size — is obviously advanced compared to his peers. He said he was recently measured at 6’6″. He is a solid 180 pounds. He could grow another inch or two and will add strength to his frame. By the time he is a senior in 2016-17, he will unquestionably be one of the most prized recruits in the nation.

He is already ranked the No. 2 point guard in the class of 2017 by ESPN.com and also is included in Scout.com’s list of the top 100 players in the country, regardless of class.

Troy Jr. does not believe he will grow out of being a point guard — “Right now, I think I’m done … My doctor said I am supposed to be 6’6″ or 6’7″,” he said — so becoming the next Magic Johnson or Penny Hardaway will remain on the agenda.

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“I still plan on being a point guard; that’s my position,” he said. “I hope to be like a Magic Johnson, Penny Hardaway or Michael Carter-Williams. Being a tall point guard makes me versatile on the court.

“I can dribble and if I have bigger defenders on me, I can go past them. When I have smaller guards, I can post them up. It’s great to have options and be versatile.”

Troy Brown Jr. talks with one of his AAU coaches about strategy during a game at Las Vegas Palo Verde High School Friday night (Javier Morales/All SportsTucson.com)

Troy Brown Jr. talks with one of his AAU coaches about strategy during a game at Las Vegas Palo Verde High School Friday night (Javier Morales/All SportsTucson.com)

His options are wide open when it comes to his recruiting process. At only 14, it’s ridiculous to believe Troy Jr. has narrowed a list from those who have offered scholarships and the many others who have expressed interest. The only exception is UNLV, his hometown school. The Running Rebels offered a scholarship to him before he played his freshman season last year at Centennial High School in Las Vegas.

“All of my options are open right now, to be honest, but UNLV will always be in my top five,” he said. “They are my home school, so they are always in there, but I always have my options open.

“Arizona is a great program. I like Coach (Damon) Stoudamire and the coaches over there and how they play. They play on a fast tempo and push the ball. That’s how I like to play. THey’re a great program, but like I said, all of my options are open.”

Stoudamire was on hand for the Las Vegas Prospects-Deron Williams Elite game Friday night. He sat next to UNLV star (and current assistant) Stacey Augmon along the baseline, in clear view of Troy Jr. That’s 28 combined years of NBA experience staring at him. BYU coach Dave Rose, who like Stoudamire and Augmon played in the Final Four, joined the small coaching group before halftime.

They were as expressive as the crowd with an “ooh” and “aah” when Brown dribbled the ball upcourt on a fast break and went in for a thunderous one-handed jam over a defender in the second half.

“It’s kind of like a learning experience,” Troy Jr. said when asked about the attention he is receiving at such a young age. “It’s something to motivate me for next year and keep me pushing. I’m not a kid who gets caught up in the hype and the rankings. I kind of play through it. It’s great to see them (Stoudamire, Augmon and Rose) there and what I’m working for is paying off.”

The teachings of his parents in regards to religion and character development through sports has impacted Troy Jr. It is obvious in how he presents himself. He stands firm and looks a person in the eye when having a conversation. He speaks beyond his years. It’s easy to forget he is only a sophomore.

With still three more years of high school ahead of him, it will be interesting to see how he develops on and off the court. He will be a five-star basketball player, but he will also be dynamic in the classroom and life in general. That drive comes from his family upbringing.

“My mom and dad always teach me to be a child of God and so everything goes through God,” Troy Jr. said. “They always keep me level headed. Me staying humble is not really that hard. They always tell me, ‘Basketball is just basketball. Don’t let the pressure get to you. It’s still just basketball. You’re young. When you start getting paid to play basketball that’s when it becomes a job. But right now, it’s just basketball and you should have fun with it.’

“It’s good to stay humble. My older sister who goes to Kansas, she is somebody i always look up to. And then my oldest sister goes to UNLV. It’s a lot to look up to.”

He said his immediate goal is to lead the city of Las Vegas in “rebounds, assists and points, stuff like that, but what I really want is a state title”.

What about two state championships to top his sister Jada?

“Definitely,” he said, smiling. “That’s what I’m shooting for.

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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