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Who is Jordan Brown? And What Do You Need To Know About His Recruitment?

On Thursday afternoon, Kentucky fans (and fans of a bunch of major college basketball programs) got some updated transfer news, as Evan Daniels gave the latest on the recruitment of Nevada big-man Jordan Brown. Since putting his name in the transfer portal a week ago, things have been quiet in Brown’s recruitment. But as Daniels reported, there are a number of schools who have already reached out, and Kentucky is indeed one of them. It’s something I hinted would happen in a post earlier this week.

So now that we know that Brown is indeed available and seriously considering a transfer, what do you need to know?

As someone who knows the Nevada program well, here is what I’ve heard about Brown from sources close to him, and where his recruitment stands. This is what you need to know, and what I expect to happen next:

Who Is Jordan Brown?

Brown was one of the most coveted big men in the class of 2018, a player who appeared in the McDonald’s All-American Game and as a member of Team USA In the Nike Hoops Summit. He finished his high school career ranked among the Top 20 players in the class of 2018.

And prior to committing to Nevada he was recruited by, quite literally, every big-name school on the West Coast including UCLA to Arizona, Cal and Nevada. According to some people I trust he was actually set to commit to UCLA until Shareef O’Neal decommitted from Arizona last winter. At that point, UCLA had just one scholarship for the two front-court players and told both that whoever committed first had the spot. O’Neal grabbed the scholarship and Brown was forced to look elsewhere.

Ultimately, after a long, drawn out process that saw him as the last major recruit to commit last spring, Brown chose Nevada. He was just the second McDonald’s All-American to ever commit to the school, the other being local high school start Luke Babbitt back in 2008.

To put it simply, Brown is the biggest recruit Nevada basketball ever signed.

Why Did He Struggle So Much in His First Year in College?

Although Brown was the most decorated recruit ever to sign with Nevada, his first year was a struggle. He averaged just three points and two rebounds in 10 minutes played per game.

But while that would appear to be a bit alarming on the surface, it shouldn’t be. The bottom-line is that Eric Musselman is a coach that – like Jay Wright and others across college basketball – simply prefers older players to young ones, and Brown got buried on the depth chart behind more experienced players. Nevada started three fifth-year seniors in the front-court and at the end of the day, it was probably the right decision, considering that the Wolf Pack went 29-5 overall and ended up in their third straight NCAA Tournament.

Still, the buzz out of Reno was that as the season went on, Brown gained some confidence. As a source close to him told me, Brown has “looked like his old self” the last couple weeks and was due for a big season next year.

Is It Too Early to Guess Where Brown Might Be Leaning?

Short answer, yes. As Brown’s father Dion told Daniels, a host of schools have reached out besides Kentucky, ranging from Arizona, to Oregon, Ohio State and others. And honestly, that might even be downplaying it a bit. The same source close to Brown told me that since he put his name in the transfer portal, “every major program in America” has at least reached out to gauge interest. Pick a school and they have at least called to gather details, according to the person I spoke with.

With that said, here is what I can also tell you: Steve Alford’s arrival at Nevada will have no impact on Brown’s decision to stay or go in Reno. If anything, it might hurt it.

I know that sounds strange considering that Brown nearly committed to Steve Alford’s UCLA Bruins were in high school, but the bottom-line is that from my understanding, Alford had little role in the recruitment process. Brown’s father in fact confirmed that to a Reno area newspaper, admitting that former UCLA assistant David Grace (who just joined Jerry Stackhouse’s staff at Vanderbilt) did most of the work in his recruitment. Also, it doesn’t help that – according to people I trust – Alford doesn’t plan on keeping anyone from Musselman’s staff on board in Reno, and that Brown was especially close to that staff.

Point being, despite the fact that Alford actively recruited him out of high school, the relationship isn’t as strong as you might expect.

After speaking to the same person who is close to Brown, my hunch is also that he won’t be following former Nevada coach Eric Musselman to Arkansas. I don’t feel quite as strongly on that one, but my gut feeling is that if Brown does move on he’ll want a fresh start.

If Brown Elects To Transfer, Can He Play Right Away?

Since this is a question I’ve gotten quite a bit, let’s just nip this right now: Barring some unforeseen waiver from the NCAA offices, no, Brown won’t play next season. Yes, he’ll have to sit out the season.

And if anything, that’s the only reason I could see him remaining at Nevada (although as I said, I think it’s unlikely at this point). As a former McDonald’s All-American who is watching a lot of other friends get drafted, does he really want to sit out another season?

Again, in my mind, that’s the most likely reason he would stay at Nevada.

Here’s Why Sitting Out a Season Can Be Good However

Regardless of where Brown chooses, I actually think sitting out a season could be good for all parties involved. At the end of the day, it would give him a full year to get used to his new school and program, head coach and teammates. Every kid wants to play, but there are benefits to sitting out.

Still, let’s say Brown did ultimately choose Kentucky – and to be clear, that’s not my prediction. It’s way too early to speculate.

Still, let’s say he did. It would give him a year to get used to campus, and also give Kentucky a former McDonald’s All-American and potential future NBA pro to lead the scout team every day. Can you imagine the value it would give a guy like Nick Richards or E.J. Montgomery to go against that type of player every day?

From Kentucky’s perspective (or whatever school he picks) there is no downside.

If He Chooses Kentucky What Kind of Player Will They Get Down the Road

In addition to getting a great practice player in 2019-2020, if Brown were to choose Kentucky, I think he could be a difference-making power forward/center prospect come the 2020-2021 season. While Brown did struggle to adjust to college life this year, he is still 6’10 with over a 7-foot wingspan and crazy athletic. Nevada tried to play him almost exclusively in the post this season, but he has the skills to step 15 or 20 feet away from the basket and hit shots from there as well. Think that with a year to sit out and develop, he could be a monster two years down the road? I’d say so. And when I say “monster” I mean like “All-SEC First Team” type guy.

Again, it’s way, way, WAY too early to speculate where Brown will end up.

But if the Wildcats were able to sign Brown, he could be the first big puzzle piece already locked in for the 2020-2021 season.

Article written by Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres is covering football and basketball for KSR this season after four years at Fox Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook or e-mail at [email protected] He is also the author of the only book written on the Calipari era, “One and Fun: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats.”

13 Comments for Who is Jordan Brown? And What Do You Need To Know About His Recruitment?

  1. jahanc2uky
    8:45 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

    Blackshear Jr update?

    • KayutsBy90
      10:07 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

      He declared for the draft and is going through that whole process to see where his stock stands. Doubt we hear anything for a while.

    • jahanc2uky
      2:07 pm April 19, 2019 Permalink

      Thank you and Im sure long term Jordan is a better transfer, but next season I would want Blackshear!

  2. nocode96
    8:49 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

    Great write up, good to know you’re almost 100% sure he’s already committed to Kentucky…lol. (Before anyone comes at me, yes, I read this very well written article, I’m playing to the fact Jack did a really thorough job of stating its way too early to tell, AND to how some of our readers around here only read what they want to read. I hate that I have to write all this to explain a stupid joke on my part, but the KSR comment section is vile y’all).

  3. UKinIN
    9:27 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

    Brown could sit out the year at UK and practice right? Nothing to stop him from entering the draft next year.

    • nocode96
      12:18 am April 19, 2019 Permalink

      Technically, I don’t think there’s anything stopping him from the draft now, he’s a year removed from High School.

  4. BobbyBlue
    10:16 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

    My first thought UKinIN- I could see another Diallo scenario.

  5. BobbyBlue
    10:19 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

    I thought a student could transfer and play immediately if the coach that recruited him left the school ?

    • runningunnin.454
      10:55 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

      There was just such a proposal last year; but, I never heard if it was passed or even addressed. As it stands, I think a waiver request would have to be submitted and approved.
      The proposal probably made too much sense to be adopted.

  6. KatsKlaws
    10:21 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

    Article said “does he really want to sit out another season”. What other season did he sit out?

  7. runningunnin.454
    11:15 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

    Why couldn’t he just declare for the NBA now; hell, everybody else is?

    • BobbyBlue
      11:52 pm April 18, 2019 Permalink

      I believe he is going to enter the draft and see what the pros
      tell him before he decides on a school.

  8. b2h3slin
    7:34 am April 19, 2019 Permalink

    If it’s Kentucky, he’ll have to sit out a year. If he goes anywhere else, especially dUKe or an SEC school, he’ll be able to play right away. Guaranteed