Last week Kentucky fans got a bit of recruiting news that caught their interest – as Evan Daniels reported that Kentucky was one of many schools interested in Nevada transfer Jordan Brown.
The 6’11 Brown is a former McDonald’s All-American who never really found his niche in Reno this season, and following the departure of head coach Eric Musselman to Arkansas seemed intent on moving on to another location. Honestly, that wasn’t all that different from the rest of his teammates. As of a week ago, basically every player on the Nevada roster had put their name in the transfer portal and Brown was no different. And as I told you last week I thought there was a real chance that Brown would in fact leave Nevada, with Kentucky serving as a realistic landing spot.
Yet over the weekend, something interesting happened – and it was something that might make it more likely Brown returns to Nevada next season than I’d originally anticipated.
For starters, a couple other Wolf Pack players have announced they will remain at the school. That includes the leading returning scorer from last season (a kid named Jazz Johnson), as well as the school’s top recruit for 2019-2020, junior college All-American Eric Parrish. Then on Saturday morning, Jalen Harris, a transfer who is expected to be the team’s starting point guard decided to return as well.
So why does that matter for Brown? It’s because after those three announced they would return, they put on an all-out blitz to keep Brown in Reno. They even went so far as to go meet with him in his hometown of Roseville, California on Saturday.
And since it’s 2019, they of course documented it all on social media, with their own catchy hashtag “OperationPackBack.”
Below are a few posts from Saturday. And while Brown isn’t pictured in any of them, Roseville is his hometown, and it’s clear that they were in town to see him. To the credit of the Nevada players, it is abundantly clear that they are doing everything they can to keep the core of the team together after three straight NCAA Tournament appearances under the previous coaching regime.
— Jalen (@TheJalenHarris) April 20, 2019
— NOLIMIT.JA22 (@Jazz_Johnson22) April 20, 2019
— Jalen (@TheJalenHarris) April 21, 2019
Now it will be interesting to see whether this all works or not.
Frankly I’m not sure that being re-recruited by his teammates will have all that much impact on Brown’s decision. In the end, what will matter is something very simple: As a former McDonald’s All-American, he clearly wants to get to the NBA, and get there as fast as possible.
And that’s what his recruitment will come down to. Which path will get him to the NBA faster: Having to sit out a year at another school and hope that they turn him into a pro in the 2020-2021 season? Or playing next year at Nevada, and hoping that he can evolve into an NBA prospect under Steve Alford?
So ultimately I’m not sure how much the player’s decision to meet with Brown will have on him, but it obviously won’t hurt in trying to get him back to campus. It’s also made me wonder if it’s more likely now than it was, say a week ago, that Brown does in fact return to Nevada. Had you asked me last Thursday, I would have said (and did say) that I thought it was almost certain that Brown would leave for another school. But after this weekend, when his teammates went out of their way to show him what a priority he is, I think it’s more likely somewhere in the neighborhood of 50/50 or so that he decides to leave at all.
In the end, of Brown does stay at Nevada, it probably won’t be because of any incredible recruiting pitch by Alford. But instead it will be because of the push from his teammates and the opportunity to continue to play next season without having to sit out.
What happens next remains to be seen.