Klay Brown Reverse Layup

Howard College's Klay Brown puts up a reverse layup during the Hawks' 73-72 overtime win over Ranger on Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

Following a couple of months of deliberation and a seemingly endless flow of interested programs, former Howard Hawks guard Klay Brown has finally decided where he will continue his career on the hardwood.

The versatile guard from Queens, N.Y. will be joining his third program in the past three years this fall when he makes the half-hour move north from his hometown to join the St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans.

“St. Thomas is a powerhouse right now,” Brown said. “When I was speaking to the coach and he went through their history of winning it was impressive. I’m trying to win. I didn’t have a good freshman year of winning and I didn’t have a good sophomore year of winning. I wanted to go to a winner and on top of it, it’s close to home.”

The Spartans are a perennial powerhouse at the Division II level and have won their conference in four out of the last five seasons. One of the most important factors that went into Brown’s decision was the fact that he wanted to join a winner after finishing the past two seasons as a member of a middle-of-the-pack team.

Why did the Spartans want to add Brown to their roster?

“We we’re trying to add a mature, veteran guy who has got a couple years of experience,” Spartans coach Tobin Anderson said. “He’s athletic, he can defend, I think he’s versatile and can play and guard a lot of positions. He’s strong, he’s athletic and he can rebound. Everybody that I talked to about him talked about his character and what a good kid he was.”

Before he was slicing up defenses this past season, Brown began his college career at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J. While there, Brown did not play much during his freshman year and managed to average just over 2.0 points per game. The Peacocks finished that 2018-19 season with a 10-22 record which landed them a ninth place finish in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

After transferring to Howard last summer, Brown started 13 games over the course of last 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. One of the biggest things to catch his new coach’s eye was Brown’s ability to keep his head down and keep improving as the season went along.

“I like the fact that he got better as the year went along,” Anderson said. “At the beginning of the season he wasn’t playing as many minutes as he would’ve liked and as the year went along he got better and better. We’re very excited to have him.”

When Brown suits up for the Spartans for the first time next season, he will be one of the most experienced players on the roster. The starting point guard for the Spartans is a former AAU rival of Brown’s and they have been in contact since the former Howard Hawk made his commitment decision. With easy-to-build chemistry between those two players and the overall skill level of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Spartans should find themselves near the top of their conference once again at the end of next season.

In fact, Anderson believes that his new high-energy two-way guard will be an instant contributor for the Spartans next season.

What does that do for Brown’s confidence?

“To have a coach that has my back and believes in me is a thing that every player wants to hear,” Brown said. “Hearing him say that is a blessing and I’m just so appreciative of him giving me the opportunity to play for him.”

After showing off his offensive prowess during the conference schedule last season at Howard, Brown has all the momentum on his side and will not back down once he steps into his first practice with the new team. One of Brown’s greatest assets on the court is his attitude and ability to flip the competitive switch into overdrive.

Even though he is joining one of the best and most consistent programs in NCAA Division II, Brown’s confidence is sky high and he thinks that he can add a new element to the Spartans that they have not had in the past.

“I’m going to bring it every day,” Brown said. “I want to push everyone. They’re winning but I know that the way I talk trash and with the way that I compete, we’re going to become a way better team.”

Brown’s recruitment was long and slow but he finally found the place he wanted to finish out his student-athlete career. He will now be just over 30 miles from his hometown and friends and family will be able to watch his home games in-person.

Back in April, and after speaking with Brown about his recruitment, this reporter knew that Big Spring would not be the last stop in Brown’s basketball journey. It is now official and the New York native will be taking his talents with him back to the northeast.

Next stop: The St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans.

Shawn Moran is the sportswriter at the Big Spring Herald. To contact him, e-mail sports@bigspringherald.com or call 432-263-7331.

 

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