Jamar Brown couldn’t have asked for a better prep for his final travel ball summer.
The 6-foot-9 forward transferred to Wings Academy from Linden High School in New Jersey last season and put his time playing with Georgetown-bound center Jessie Govan to good use. The rising senior has now caught the eye of Division-I college basketball coaches with his New Heights travel team because of how well he is playing, especially on defense, against top-ranked post players.
“I think that is the attraction for most people that he has been able to play with some of these, four and five-star offensive big men and neutralize them a little bit,” New Heights coach Oz Cross said.
While Brown lost some playing time behind Govan, he said he learned a lot from their daily battles in practice. How do you score and rebound over a guy bigger than you? What tricks can you use to defend a player of that size and skill? All of it left Brown with plenty of confidence because in his mind no one will be tougher than what he has already faced.
“I feel more confident going into games, knowing that there is probably nobody that I would go against who is better than Jessie,” he said.
Brown already has scholarship offers from St. Francis College and Wagner and interest from Iona, Wichita State, Drexel and Fordham. According to Cross, he still has plenty of upside. The 233-pound Brown is still playing with his God-given strength because he has yet to partake in a serious strength and conditioning program.
“When he gets to college and hits the weight room he is going to be scary,” Cross said. “He is naturally a big, strong kid.”
Brown is pleased that colleges are starting to take notice of him, but wants it to be for more than his defense. How much his offensive game improves will decide how high a level he can play at in college. Brown, who already has a high motor, averaged 5.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest in PSAL play for Wings last season.
He is already working on scoring with his back to the basket in the post, making free throws and becoming a better mid-range shooter. It is about finish for Brown, both around the basket and in the development of his game.
“If he can get those things he can translate into a mid-major plus and possibly high major kid,” Cross said.
Brown has his sights on helping Wings defend its PSAL city and state Federation titles, following a season that couldn’t have gone any better for him. He was welcomed with open arms at Wings, learned to be a better player and leader behind Govan and brought home some hardware in the process.
“Winning states was a big surprise to me,” Brown said. “My first year at the school, I can’t even describe how it feels. I love Wings. I love the decision I made.”
Cross said Brown would have been a big names in New York City already had he gone to another high school, but benefited from his year at Wings. Brown is ready to force people to take notice with the spotlight now on him.
“I think he is going to shock a lot of people this year,” Cross said. “Because I don’t think many people knew how good he was.”