September 26, 2013

Brown joins stellar UCF class

At the conclusion of their unofficial visit to UCF on Thursday, Chad Brown and his mother could only say, 'Why not?,' when seeing the opportunity laid out in front of them.

The 6-foot-8 power forward from Deltona, Fla., decided there was no point in waiting any longer as he gave his pledge to Donnie Jones and staff becoming their addition to the 2015 recruiting class.

Mother and son were accompanied by Brown's coach, Denny Hinson, himself a former UCF basketball player.

"Mom was definitely the kicker to get him over the hump," Hinson said. "This was the first time she was on campus. Coach Jones laid out a great game plan for Chad's future. They just hit a home run with him. They did an awesome job selling the program. Mom was sold. She wanted to get it done now.

"His mother is very influential in his life. She's raising him by herself and he has a twin sister who is also very athletic. With the beautiful campus and facilities, it became more like, 'Why not? Why would we turn this down? To go where?' That was the basic theme of it.

"Just look at the place. UCF has got everything. If you pass up on UCF, it's not because of the coaches, facility or location. I think it's hard for kids to say no."

Brown had been seriously thinking about committing since attending the Knights' elite camp in August.

"He got pretty close to Coach (Darren) Tillis then," Hinson said. "On the ride back home, Chad told me they said they wanted him to be the first commit for the 2015 class. We were supposed to come over last weekend, but we got postponed. Chad did want to be the first, then he heard about Alex (Owens) and Corey (Sanders).

"Again, Coach Jones just laid out a great plan. He thought it was too good to pass up. His mother did too. Mom is very much sold on Coach Jones with him being a Christian. She's a gospel singer. He did an awesome job with them."

That 2015 class, which also includes four-stars Alex Owens and Corey Sanders - is shaping to be one of the best nationally.

"Those are his guys," Hinson said. "He talks with them every day. The kid from Boone (2014 point guard commit B.J. Taylor) is a good friend of his also."

Brown hasn't even played his junior season and he already had offers from the likes of Alabama, Kansas State, USF and VCU. Florida State was also high on him. USF head coach Stan Heath traveled to Deltona the previous day to check in on him.

UCF just rose to the top.

"Coach Jones talked to him about the people in their league, like Memphis, Temple and Houston, those traditional powers, and he just thought UCF was the place he wanted to be."

Jones has a proven track record helping players reach the next level as he coached current NBA players Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer while he was an assistant at Florida.

"Coach Jones did talk about some of the NBA guys he's had," Hinson said. "Several of them didn't come in highly acclaimed. They got there and worked hard. (Assistant coach) Brendan Suhr has been in the NBA and coached with the Magic. Darren Tillis played in the NBA. Orlando is an NBA city with the Magic.

"Chad just wanted to go somewhere where you can make your name as opposed to going to some high profile program and just being another good player there."

Possessing what Hinson calls a "ridiculous" work ethic, he believes Brown's best basketball is ahead of him.

"Chad is a great shot blocker, rebounder and just has an unbelievable motor," Hinson said. "He's like Kenneth Faried from the Denver Nuggets, that Dennis Rodman mold of 6-8, 220 and he can run and jump. As his offensive skills come around he'll be an unbelievable player."

Hinson, who had a successful prep career at DeLand, was part of UCF's 1990 recruiting class that included future school Hall of Famers Sinua Phillips and Daryl Davis. He started at UCF as a freshman before transferring to a junior college and then Indiana State where he would go on to earn the "Larry Bird Award" as a senior for leading the Sycamores in both scoring and rebounding.

"Daryl, that's my guy, and Sinua Phillips," Hinson said. "I had a great freshman year. I always loved the school. I just didn't agree with the coaching. I went to Indiana State and graduated, but I've always been and still am a big UCF fan."

Hinson says the Knights have come a long way since his playing days, which was the last season UCF played in the old education gym.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "I walked in Coach Jones' office and I told him (former UCF coach) Joe Dean, Jr. had an office just like this one when I came to UCF. I paused and then said, 'But all four of the coaches were in there.' I saw their film room and everything. I just can't believe the place. When I was a player, we lived at the Collegiate Village Inn. I could have never imagined what that road, University, would look like."

Hinson, a former college coach at Bethune-Cookman, James Madison, San Francisco and Florida Gulf Coast, still returns to UCF every chance he gets.

"I'm always bringing Chad back," Hinson said. "Since Chad has been a ninth grader, we go to UCF games at least once a year, sometimes twice. I'm still a big fan. We go to football games too. I'm living right here in Deltona so I'm still a big UCF fan."

Brown would have liked to return on Saturday for UCF's big home football game against No. 12 South Carolina, but he had a previous commitment with Nike Team Florida.






 

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