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Top-20 big man James Brown talks 5 college visits, UNC & Duke

Joe Tipton06/09/22
Article written by:On3 imageJoe Tipton


James Brown
James Brown / Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

James Brown has established himself as one of the best big men in the class of 2024. Reigning from St. Rita’s in Chicago, Brown is skilled and intelligent with great hands. He runs the floor well at 6-foot-10 and is definitely a name to keep tabs on in the 2024 class. He’s been invited back for USA Basketball U17 tryouts later this month.

Currently, Brown is ranked 20th nationally in his class, according to the On3 Consensus, a complete and equally weighted industry-generated average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies. He’s also the No. 3 center in the country, and No. 1 in the state of Illinois.

Brown updated his recruitment with On3 at the Pangos All-American camp earlier this week.

“I got an offer from Georgia last week, Kansas State a couple of weeks ago,” Brown said. “I know my coaches have been talking to Duke and North Carolina. I’ve been talking to Marquette recently. We are going to a team camp up there in a week or so. Besides that, Illinois, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and kind of the same schools have been reaching out.”

Starting June 15th, NCAA rules will allow college coaches to have direct contact with Brown and the rest of the 2024 class.

Brown talks five college visits

Brown is just now finishing his sophomore year so the only trips he’s been on have been unofficials. He discussed each of the five schools he’s visited and gave his thoughts on each.

Illinois: “It’s my hometown. Brad Underwood is a great coach. My teammate Morez (Johnson) is committed there, so that’s very enticing. The opportunity to play with him in high school, AAU, and possibly even college. That’s obviously something that stands out. We’re really close with each other. Illinois assistant Tim Anderson has some ties to Meanstreets so that brings something to the table as well. It’s just a great program. I really like what Brad Underwood has been able to do in his time there. They have a great staff and great facilities overall so I don’t understand why more people don’t look there or go there, so it’s really a great program overall.”

Ohio State: “I really like Coach (Chris) Holtmann. I really like his playing style. I really like how he was able to utilize EJ Liddell, someone coming from the state of Illinois just like me. It’s a great program. When I took a visit there, I was really impressed with their facilities. It’s a great athletics school in general. Whether it’s football, baseball, or basketball. I could see I would be around a lot of people and athletes that are trying to become as successful as I am.”

Notre Dame: “I like Notre Dame. Coach (Mike) Brey is another coach that is able to make the game fun. I feel like each year coach Brey has a little bit of a different team almost, with new players coming in. I like how he’s able to adapt on the fly. That was one of the things they specified when I visited there. They had Blake Wesley this year. He’s a tough player, but he’s a little different from what they’ve had in the past. He was telling me how he was able to create a new system and themselves in a good position to make a decent run in the tournament.”

Oklahoma: “I know Porter Moser. My trainer worked out Cameron Krutwig so he’s got a connection with him. He’s another coach that I like how he utilizes his bigs. When I visited there, they were able to break down a little bit of film with me, and showed me some places where they would want to put me to help me be successful. So that really stuck out to me and I appreciated that. I like coach Moser’s coaching style though. He’s tough, he’s strict but he likes to have fun. I realize college is serious and it’s a job basically but I like coaches that can incorporate some fun with it and I feel like he does a lot of that too.”

Wisconsin: “I don’t know a lot about them to be honest. We visited there because they expressed interest in me towards the end of my high school season so we visited up there and I ended up getting an offer. So that’s a school I’m really excited to learn a little bit more about. I like Coach (Sharif) Chambliss and what he had to say about what they like to do, previews of game situations, and stuff like that. So I’m excited to learn a little more.”

Interest from North Carolina, Duke

As mentioned previously, the prestigious North Carolina and Duke are both starting to show interest in Brown.

North Carolina: “I know a lot historically about the program, with their success and their many great players but that’s another school I’m prepared to learn a lot about. That’s a school that I like, even outside of their basketball success but educational success as well. That’s something that’s really important to me and my family, athletics, but education as well. I’m really excited to get to know Coach (Hubert) Davis and his staff and the whole Carolina program.

Duke: “I like the Blue Devils. Obviously, their opportunities on the court are endless, but the opportunities off the court are just as strong. I watched the Duke versus North Carolina game when it was Coach K’s last home game. The amount of alumni that came out and showed support and just the amount of people that support the Blue Devils in general, really says a lot. There is obviously something going on there that’s really special. You don’t win that much or that many players have endless opportunities, not only in the NBA but overseasons and all of that, so that’s really interesting to me.”