NCAA: Alec Brown Focused On The Right Things
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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In a very quiet, but effective manner Wisconsin-Green Bay center Alec Brown has grown into a promising NBA Draft prospect. He averaged 13.8 points along with 8.2 rebounds and three blocks as a sophomore, displaying an intriguing combination of size at 7’1 to go along with his versatile offensive skill set. Yet, as a junior he isn’t letting the unexpected possibility of becoming a professional consume him.
“I try not to pay too much attention to it, but it’s tough because it’s exciting,” Brown said to HOOPSWORLD. “We’ll see how the year goes and that’s all.”
“Alec is aware of this, we can go on mock drafts from a year ago with the guys that got drafted this summer and there will be a bunch of guys that didn’t get drafted that were in the mock’s first round the year before and he’s aware of that,” Wisconsin Green Bay’s head coach Brian Wardle said. “He’s a smart kid so he knows he’s got to go out there and improve, produce and lead and be aggressive every night and I think if he does that the recognition will come. And, what’s good to see is it doesn’t matter what level you go to, it’s the fit that matters, if you find the right fit for you as a person, which Alec I think has at Green Bay and the right program and the right situation to get experience and knowledge, great things will happen.”
To try and help make great things happen, Brown spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer to work on his frame that he knows needs additional strength. He added on 15 lbs. of muscle with a team-oriented goal in mind.
“We obviously would like to win our conference and make it to the tournament,” Brown said. “I think that’s the goal for any team right now, it’s a very possible goal for us.”
The Phoenix’s potential tournament run got underway with an opening-night victory against Chicago State in a game that Brown did not play his best basketball to say the least. He was 0-7 from the field and plagued with foul trouble, but it was his supporting cast that he raves about that helped lead the way.
“Brennan Cougill is going to be a senior this year,” Brown said. “He looks really good. I think he’s looking forward to his senior year and making an impact, it’s his last go about it, so he’s excited for that. Keifer Sykes our point guard has really improved. He was good last year as a freshman, but he’s really improved, and he’s going to be really good for us this year. And Kameron Cerroni another guy that’s just been a work horse, he’s always in the gym working, always getting better, just an automatic shooter.”
It will be critical for the Phoenix to not be overly reliant on Brown, but at the same time having him assume a leadership role where he feels like he has to produce at a high rate is a point of emphasis for his coaches.
“Alec is a great young man, he’s a team guy,” Wardle said. “He’s unselfish and in a million ways he’s a coach’s dream but it’s almost to a point where he’s almost too nice and he cares so much about his teammates, where I’m pushing him to talk more, if I hold him accountable not talking more and being a leader in our workouts, to him that’s fine but when I do it to his teammates that really upsets him and I’ve had to do that a couple times just to get to him because he’s such a nice humble kid and he’s fun to coach every day and he’s got a nasty streak to him, mean streak to him, a really competitive streak to him, he really does and its coming out more and more and if it comes out more and continues to come out he will be tough to stop.
“I think there is still a big ceiling for him, he hasn’t gotten there we are pushing him in those areas as a staff, I know when he is aggressive and physical and like I said has competitive streak to him you can see a different side to him and he’s start doing some different things. He’s learning all kinds of different foot work now, shooting the ball better, he’s working on his pick and pop and all that. I think that there are a lot of different things, he can put it on the floor, he plays off the dribble, he’s got a skill set and an athletic body that you can’t teach, and I think if he keeps working hard and he keeps having the right aggressive mentally there is real high ceiling for him still.”
Brown will have plenty of opportunities to make up for his lackluster junior debut, especially this upcoming weekend as the Phoenix have three games in as many days, taking on Southern Utah, Nevada and Cal State Fullerton. Prior to league play getting underway in the Horizon League, he’ll also have the chance to prove himself against high-major programs Virginia, Wisconsin and Marquette.
For many prospects in the past, arriving on the NBA radar has been where everything unraveled for them because that becomes their only concern. However, Brown appears to have the right approach and people around him to keep him focused on the proper things, which will in turn also help lead him with the ultimate goal of getting to the NBA.