Justin Brownlee might be the best player you've never heard about. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound wing from Tifton, Ga., is off to prep school. A year from now, the basketball world might be asking, 'where in the world did this kid come from?'
As fate would have it, Brownlee and his Smyrna Stars AAU team were usually in an off site gym at a major tournament. That's too bad because there were times when he'd be doing some special things on the hardwood.
"He's very special," Brownlee's AAU coach Gary Graham says, "I really think he's one of the best basketball players in the country that people just don't know about.
"If he isn't one of the top 50 players in the country, then my name isn't Gary Graham. I really think he's one of the top 10 players in the country."
Grahma knows what he is talking about. Keep in mind, he has a knack for finding players out of the woodwork. Guys like Korvotney Barber, Lewis Clinch and Jordan Hill all fine tuned their skills before heading off to high-major schools. Brownlee is not only next, but Graham says the small town forward could be the best of any of the players that have put on a Stars jersey.
With a stellar July behind him, Brownlee, a Tifton, Ga., native is spending a post graduate year at Covenant Christian in Marietta, Ga. The high-majors have shown interest but want to watch him improve his academics first. That should come this year, Graham says.
Known primarily as a power dunker in high school, Brownlee is rounding out his game on the wing.
"It was crazy," Graham said of Brownlee's improvement on the wing as a perimeter shooter. "He was hitting threes like it was nothing. In Vegas, he had at least four or five threes a game."
Even after a 30 point, 10 rebound game, Brownlee is not one to toot his own horn. Rarely, if ever, will you hear him boast about his on court antics.
"He's just a quiet kid, a yes sir, no sir, almost borderline shy kid," Graham said.
Brownlee may be quiet now, but things are about to start pushing the decibel meter up to new heights. Just make sure you see it happen.