The 6-foot-6, 200-pound Marietta (GA) High School junior wing left the Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy at 1 p.m. Monday so that he could play in the USA Basketball U18 tryouts beginning the next day in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I [flew] from Italy to New York and that was 10 hours,” Brown told SNY.tv by phone Thursday evening. “And then New York to Denver and that was five hours, and then a one-hour car drive to Colorado Springs.”
After a long sleep in Colorado Springs, Brown was in the gym by 8:30 Tuesday morning so he could get up some shots “and get used to the elevation.” Jet lag is still a factor, but he’s battling through it.
“It has been wearing on me but you gotta push through,” he said of the travel. “It’s an honor to play USA Basketball so that overwhelms me. When I get on the court, I feel fine.”
By all accounts Brown has been impressing head coach Billy Donovan and the other decision-makers on hand, enough that he made the 15-man roster after the first cuts were made.
“He has a great combination of athleticism, skill and character,” Sean Ford of USA Basketball told SNY.tv. “The fact that he played at such a high level after just returning from Europe was really impressive.”
“Jaylen Brown was a BEAST at @adidasEuroCamp. He’s doing that in Colorado Springs jet lagged!” ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla Tweeted.
Fraschilla added by text: “He may be a few years from the NBA but scouts definitely took notice.”
In practices, Brown has been going up against USA Basketball veteran Stanley Johnson, an incoming Arizona freshman.
“Whoever the best player on whatever I’m playing against, I’m guarding them and I’m going at them,” Brown said. “I’m trying to create a competitive atmosphere here and it’s paying off.”
Brown’s efforts are paying dividends on the recruiting trail, too.
He lists UCLA, Kentucky, Florida, Kansas, Ohio State, Georgia and Georgia Tech among those recruiting him the hardest and has said he hopes to get the recruiting process over sooner than later.
“I’m not going to release [my list] to the public yet,” he said. “I’m just going to keep up the relationships until I’m ready to make my decision.”
He said he may release his list “maybe before basketball season” or “maybe before football season.”
Here’s his take on a few schools:
UCLA: “Coach [Steve] Alford is real down to earth. Coach [David] Grace is a real cool Guy. Everything is great about that program and everything over there.”
Kentucky: “It means that my hard work is paying off for a school like that that’s recruiting you. I know they don’t offer too many kids, so it’s a blessing to get an offer from them. So I just gotta keeping pushing and keep getting better.”
Florida: “It’s great. This is the time I’m trying to get a feel for Coach Donovan and how he does things and I’m looking forward to my recruitment with Florida.”
Kansas: “They’re cool. Coach [Norm] Roberts and Coach [Bill] Self are real cool people. They always tell me to keep playing hard and push through adversity and try to be the best you can be every day.”
Ohio State: “Coach [Thad] Matta is real down to Earth, probably the most down to Earth that I’ve known. He’s humble, he walks in the gym with a positive vibe and I get a great feeling from Ohio State.”
USA Basketball will cut the roster again to 12 before the FIBA Americas U18 Championship begins June 20 and Brown hopes to still be standing when the cuts happen.
“It would mean everything to represent your country and play for Coach Billy Donovan and Coach Sean Miller. It would just be great. I’m going to take full advantage of the opportunity and play my heart out.”
Photo: USA Basketball