Greg Brown missed nearly five weeks of action after suffering an open dislocation in his left middle finger at the end of November. During that time, Brown looked on helplessly as his team lost five consecutive games in district competition.
While not yet feeling 100-percent, Brown returned to the court last week in hopes of changing his team’s fortunes. Vandegrift, a Texas public school team in Austin, rattled off two consecutive victories with the infusion of Brown.
“It feels great to be back on the court,” Brown said over the phone. “It just feels great to finally help my teammates, because they were struggling in district.”
In his first game back, Brown stuffed the statsheet with 40 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals. He also went 15-for-25 from the field and 4-for-8 from beyond the arc.
When watching Brown play, he always seems to do something both surprising and impressive. He’s 6-foot-7 with a ridiculous wingspan and eye-popping athleticism. He attacks the basket with so much aggression that one might fear for the safety of anyone who challenges him at the basket.
“Right now, I’m improving my ball-handling a little bit and my shooting,” Brown said about the next steps in his development. “I was off in the first half a little bit last night and that shouldn’t happen.”
Brown is considered a five-star prospect and listed at No. 6 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Still, for whatever reason, it doesn’t feel as though he gets the same level of hype as some of the other elite players in his class.
While talking with Brown on the phone, he also confirmed my observation.
“Sometimes it kind of gets me down,” Brown said. “But I just look at the bright side. I mean not many kids have this opportunity that I have.”
On the recruiting front, college coaches are certainly taking notice. Baylor, Kansas, LSU, Memphis, Oklahoma, and UCLA are just a few of the dozen schools involved in Brown’s recruitment.
“I’m just waiting around to see who offers me, until like the summer,” Brown said about the recruiting process. “And then next school year, at the beginning of the year, I might cut my list down.”
After losing in the first round of last year’s district playoffs, Brown hopes to help Vandegrift back to the playoffs— and this time to a title.
The Vipers are behind the eight ball after dropping five straight games in district play without Brown’s services. Vandegrift is currently 7th in the 13th district, and only the top four teams will qualify for the postseason.
“My expectations were to win districts,” Brown said about his gameplan for the season. “I think we have a chance to win districts. We just have to go all out and win all our games. I still think we can do it.”
The road will be tough, especially when considering the talent in Texas.
“We try to tell people that we’re the best state in basketball,” Brown said. “We sometimes have arguments about that at camps… You have to take everything serious or you’re just going to get beat every night.”
Greg Brown and Vandegrift will continue their postseason push on Friday night against Stony Point.
Michael McLamb is the High School Hoops Editor at Mars Reel. You can follow him: @McLambSays