Elijah Brown impresses on day 1 of ‘The Grind.’
by Dave Spahn / @davespahn
For the average person, July 6 holds no importance. People go about their daily lives with no inkling of any unusual activity or any sense of urgency. For college coaches, however, July 6 starts the live period in AAU basketball, or what basketball junkies like to call “The Grind.”
The July live period consists of two 10 day intervals (July 6-15 and July 22-31) in which division one college coaches are allowed to watch AAU basketball players compete against each other. During those 20 days, college coaches keep their eyes fixated on the court at all times, sometimes spending up to 15 hours in the gym with barely any food. The motivation: Find players who can improve your team’s performance down the road.
One player who improved his stock over the course of the first live period was Elijah Brown. Playing for Michael Duncan on the Ohio Basketball Club team, Brown displayed his quickness with the ball throughout the entire game against the star studded Atlanta Celtics squad. Brown constantly found ways to blow by his defender get to the rim, rise above taller defenders, and lay the ball in through contact. Brown specializes in attacking the rim, but he feels the need to expand his game a little more.
“At my size, I need to improve my point guard skills,” Brown explained. “I need to improve my ball handling skills so that I can become a good point guard.”
Along with his father, new Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown, Elijah will be taking his talents to the Golden State for his final two years of high school at perennial power Mater Dei. Moving across the country during the middle of high school is no walk in the park, but Elijah accepts the challenge with open arms.
“It’s not too hard to get used to somewhere like L.A.,” Elijah joked. “Cleveland and L.A. are two very different places, almost as opposite as you can get. I love the weather out in L.A., and everything is really nice. I can’t complain about where I’m at right now.”
Mater Dei returns a loaded roster that should bode as one of the best in the West. 2012 wings Katin Reinhardt and Xavier Johnson both should receive high major division one offers, and 2014 star Stanley Johnson (no relation to Xavier) is regarded by most scouts as a top 10, if not top 5, player in the country for his grade. Brown’s speed and athleticism make him a very intriguing prospect, and his game should gel well with the rest of the Mater Dei squad.
“I’m excited to start playing with the whole team together,” Elijah stated. “We are supposed to be top 5 in the country this year, and we have a crazy schedule. I’m anxious to get started with the great coaching staff and players.”
Brown claims offers from St. Marys, James Madison, Kent State, Toledo and San Diego. He also has been hearing from Arizona, Indiana, Virginia Tech, Texas, West Virginia, Notre Dame, and others. Although he has been courted by multiple colleges, Brown will take his time with the decision. His family understands the process and will take each day as it comes.
“I don’t plan on making my decision any time soon,” said Elijah. “I’ll have a better idea after this high school season, and then I will sit down and figure things out from there. Hopefully I get more interest from the bigger schools after this summer.”
For now, Elijah will continue to work on becoming a true point guard to impress college coaches. He has until July 31st to do so while playing for his Ohio Basketball Club team. The live period “grind” takes a toll on every player, causing fatigue and sometimes injury left and right. If Elijah plays through the pain and exhaustion this summer, he should definitely see his recruiting stock soar. We do know one thing for sure, though; he probably will be the best coached kid on the AAU circuit.