The Howard Hawks’ 2019-20 basketball season was an up-and-down roller coaster of a year. For one of the best players from that squad, Klay Brown, the same thing could be said about the season that he had. After starting only a couple of games over the first half of the season, Brown burst onto the scene after winter break and showed flashes of his dominance on both sides of the floor.
“I would say it changed when we came back from winter break,” Brown said. “I changed my attitude from the first semester. The first semester I thought that I should be rewarded certain things and in the second semester I just humbled myself and continued to work and keep a level head.”
Brown started 13 games over the course of the season and averaged 11.8 points per game. He was ranked as one of the top five shooters in the entire Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC) when he knocked down 43.0 percent of his shots from beyond the arc in those starts. Over the course of the entire season, Brown ranked second on the team by converting on 40.4 percent of his deep shots.
The high soaring 6-foot-4 combo guard also frustrated his opponents with his defensive prowess. Whenever the Hawks would record an emphatic block that would send momentum in the direction of the red and black, it was most likely Brown who just swatted away the potential basket. He averaged just under two blocks per game (1.9) in his starts and also got his hands into enough passing lanes to average a high total of steals (1.5) as well.
How would Brown describe his style of play?
“I like to shoot a lot of three’s and I like to get my teammates involved,” Brown said.
After scoring in double digits only twice before the middle of January, things looked bleak for Brown as he appeared to be nothing more than a rotational player. He would finish the year by recording double digit points scored in seven out of the last 11 games of the season.
In the last game of the season, a 79-70 road win over New Mexico Military, Brown exploded for a season-high 28 points. He knocked down 10-of-16 shots overall and made six shots from downtown.
Brown has now played college basketball at the Division I and junior college level. After playing one year at St. Peter’s, Brown brought his talent to Big Spring and greatly boosted the talent level of the Hawks squad. Near the end of the past season, if there was a crucial moment in the game and the Hawks needed three points, chances are that Head Coach Scott Raines was sending Brown as the player to launch the deep-range shot.
“If you’re a hard worker, then things are going to be rewarded to you,” Brown said.
The standout shooting guard’s recruitment has been slow but productive. There are several programs that have offered Brown a scholarship to play at the next level but he is taking his time in making his decision.
Western Oregon, St. Mary’s (TX), and Pace University (NY) are some of the options but Brown is in no rush to commit anywhere during the current coronavirus pandemic. Players are currently unable to take visits to the schools that have offered them so it is not the simplest decision to make.
“Things are slow right now,” Brown said. “I’m speaking to a lot of Division II schools and a few D-I’s.”
Brown is still currently living in Big Spring and finishing out his school year where he knows that he can stay focused and keep training. The Jamaica Queens, New York native has spent the past two years on two opposite ends of the spectrum and is ready to get back to NCAA basketball.
After arriving on campus last year at Howard, Brown had set goals in his mind and knew what he needed to do to make sure he could get back to the Division I or Division II level.
“It was my main objective to get back to the Division I level,” Brown said. “I figured if I could get back to that level, I could show the entire country that I can ball. But I’m taking my time and I’m not in any rush right now.”
Now, Brown will bring his winning attitude to his next city whose fans are sure to embrace him. The high-flying two-guard will surely make plays on both ends of the court and work hard to earn every minute of playing time he gets on the floor.
One thing for certain is that Brown’s basketball journey does not end in Big Spring. In his case, it shows that it is not always how you start, but how you finish.
Shawn Moran is the sportswriter at the Big Spring Herald. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com or call 432-263-7331.