Randallstown's Brown is a Demon in the rough Boys basketball: The Rams' top scorer may be in only his second season of organized ball, but his skills and work ethic have big-time colleges on his trail.

January 03, 1998|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

That Randallstown senior Demon Brown is having such a phenomenal season -- averaging 26.5 points, 9.5 assists and three steals -- is admirable on its own.

The fact that in his first season of organized basketball -- last winter -- he made first-team All-Metro, averaging 22.5 points and 6.2 assists, makes his achievements even more commendable.

"I was mainly a football player and didn't really even pick up a basketball until I was 14," said Brown, 18, who started with pickup games at Robert C. Marshall recreation center. "I hadn't really worked hard at it, so I guess I've always had the potential. From there, it was a lot of playground ball."

If Brown didn't realize how good he was starting out, he does now, with high-profile college programs such as Seton Hall, Maryland, Virginia and St. John's having expressed interest in the gifted 6-foot-2, 180-pound ball-handler.

Brown was good enough late last summer to earn a berth traveling with the Bentalou Bombers to venues such as Las Vegas and California with players such as first-team All-Metro Cornelius Murray of Southwestern and Jamal Brown of Dunbar.

A point guard in a three-guard format for the No. 2-ranked Rams (12-0), Brown "can play the small forward and has a great on-court demeanor and work ethic," said Randallstown coach Kim Rivers.

"When you have a special talent like Demon, you can tend to be a character and a prankster, which he is at times," said Rivers, whose Rams were Class 3A state semifinalists last year and Class 2A state champs the year before. "But this kid spends hours and hours in the gym, working on his game. He works hard 24-7 [24 hours a day, seven days a week.]"

That work carries into the classroom, where Brown has a 2.5 grade-point average and focus on making a future for himself in the game he has grown to love. Brown has a tutor for the SAT -- which he'll take for the first time later this month -- and also studies for it on a computerized program created by his uncle, Troy Brown.

"My coach keeps track of all the [college] letters, helping me to improve as a player. I take care of the grades," said Brown, who transferred from Douglass of Baltimore after his sophomore season. "He told me if I do those things, the rest will fall into place."

Rivers, a 6-foot-4, former high school and collegiate star now in his fourth year at Randallstown, finds similarities between Brown's background and his own.

As a senior, Rivers earned All-Long Island honors after helping Wyandanch High School to win the New York state championship, and later earned first-team All-NAIA at William Jewell College in Kansas City, Mo.

"Like Demon, I had to transfer from a city setting to a more suburban setting before I could become more focused. I wound up being one of the top players in my area," said Rivers, citing Brown's transfer from Douglass -- where he played no sports and struggled, academically -- to Randallstown.

"When I saw Demon's situation, I couldn't help but relate. He was an intelligent kid who was giving in to peer pressure," Rivers said. "Hopefully, his high school career can end like mine did -- with the state championship he deserves."

But that, likely, would mean beating No. 1 Dunbar, a Class 3A state finalist last year that was reclassified 2A this year.

Dunbar is coming off a runner-up effort in last weekend's Slam Dunk to the Beach Tournament, during which it defeated two teams ranked in the top five nationally by USA Today.

"I've played with Jamal and [Dunbar guard] Tim Lyles. That's a game that would take a lot of work on our part," said Brown, who mentions teammates such as guards T.J. Stallings and Gerald Banton, and the Rams' front court of 6-4 Alonzo Farley and 6-5 Tony Darden.

"It would mean a lot of penetration by me. A lot of dishing off to my teammates, getting them in the game early," Brown said. "Being ranked No. 2, that's one of the best feelings of my life. But now I want to go 28-0, 30-0, whatever it takes to win the states."

What bodes well for the Rams is that Brown has had his most success in the big games -- particularly against Baltimore teams.

"I had 39 points and 10 assists when we played Douglass, and I had 30 and 10 when we beat Southwestern. Whenever we play good teams, especially city teams, I try to step my game up, get 12 or 13 of my teammates involved," Brown said.

"I think they [city teams] have a thing about county teams, thinking they're all weak," Brown continued. "Being from the city, I thought the same thing when I first got here. But you have to realize it's not about one or two players but about being a team.

"That's how we played against Woodlawn, when I had 22 points and 20 assists," Brown said. "You play like we do in the big games and try to do it in all your games, you can accomplish anything."

Pub Date: 1/03/98

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