After one season at Cal, Jaylen Brown was the No. 3 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, selected by the Boston Celtics. Brown is one of the more intriguing players in this year’s draft, as he has been both praised and criticized for his off-the-court pursuits. Find out more about the talented forward.
1. Brown Is a 6-Foot-7 Small Forward With a 7-Foot Wingspan
Brown, at 6-foot-7, has a listed weight of 233 pounds and with only 5.1 percent body fat is considered one of the best pure athletes to enter the draft in the past few seasons. He also has a near 7-foot wingspan and is noted for his strength and explosiveness. He supplements this with great leaping skills and the ability to finish above the rim. Scouts also note his ability to play through contact and attack the rim and draw fouls without fear.
2. He Was a Highly Recruited Player From Marietta, Georgia
Brown was a consensus five-star recruit coming out of Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia. As a senior in high school, with his team down one, he hit two free throws with less than a second left to give Wheeler the Georgia AAAAAA state championship. He was then selected for the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game in 2015 and was named a First-Team Parade All-American.
Both Rivals and ESPN rated him as the second-best recruit in the Class of 2015, behind only Australia’s Ben Simmons. Brown decided to play basketball on the other side of the country and committed to head coach Cuonzo Martin and Cal on May 1, 2015.
3. Brown Played One Year of College Basketball at Cal & Was Named First Team All-Pac-12
In his lone season playing for the Bears, Brown averaged 14.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 34 total games played. He had a career high in points with 27 on two separate occasions, against Richmond and Utah, respectively. For his efforts, he earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors and was also named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
However, in the biggest game of his college career, he had one of his worst performances. In the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament, Brown fouled out as the No. 5 seed Bears were upset by No. 12 seed Hawaii.
4. He’s Been Called a ‘Renaissance Man’ for His Intellectual Pursuits
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Brown enjoys learning new languages, hot yoga and Spanish soccer. His diversity of interests played a major role in his decision to pick Cal over other, more traditional blue-chip basketball programs.
These interests extend to academics. As a freshman at Cal, Brown was already taking graduate-level classes, writing a paper integrating readings from class into a story about the impact institutionalized sports have on education in America. He was the first freshman to ever take the class.
5. He’s Also an Avid Chess Player
In addition to his academic pursuits, Brown likes to spend his rare free afternoons playing chess. He frequents Berkeley cafes to look for opponents. His love of chess began at a young age, and by middle school he was captain of the chess team.
More recently, he stopped by the Marshall Chess Club in New York. There he played Nico Chasin, a 9-year-old age group national champion. In addition to his rigorous course load, Brown took a chess class at Cal and says chess “is comparable to life.“
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