New kid in charge

A transfer from Calvert Hall, Devin Brown has grown up a lot in a year, is City's only senior starter and has emerged as the Knights' team leader

Boys basketball

February 21, 2007|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun reporter

City coach Mike Daniel called it "the dunk of the year."

His player, Devin Brown, still isn't sure how he did it.

"It was off of a fast break, and there were, like, three defenders on him trying to block his shot," Daniel said, recalling the play against Carver that began when Brown took a pass in the lane.

"But then, Devin just took off and threw it down. I mean, it was one of those ESPN highlight-reel types of dunks."

Brown, 6 feet 2, said he was in "as much disbelief" as Daniel.

"I just felt like God lifted me up and did that," said Brown, a senior. "I had no idea I could do one like that one."

At City, Brown has continually reached new heights, helping to erase a difficult time during his junior year at Calvert Hall. He was suspended from athletics for disciplinary reasons after four games last season.

"I was disappointed in myself for letting my parents down, my teammates down and myself down," Brown said. "During the summer, I had time to develop more of a sense of pride. I wanted to prove to myself, and to the people who thought I was done, that I could dig myself out of a hole."

More than a year later, Brown is the Knights' team captain, has a 3.4 grade point average and is averaging nearly 24 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. He has received scholarship offers from St. Bonaventure and UMBC.

Brown is City's lone senior starter. There are three sophomores - brothers Antonio and Will Barton, and Adam Johnson - and one junior, James Carmon.

Antonio Barton thought the transition from the Catholic League to the city might be difficult for Brown, but the Knights were won over by Brown's candor and maturity.

"It kind of shocked all of us the way that Devin fit right in with our guys when we knew we already had a lot of young talent," Barton said. "Being that a lot of us are sophomores, Devin provides us with an example of the things we need to do in the future, like keeping your grades up, playing hard, being dedicated. We've listened to him, and we've taken it and kind of run with it. We've been rolling ever since."

Brown said he thought he had a lot to offer beyond basketball.

"I thought I could connect with them, and, in that way, I was eager to become a part of their team. But on any team, you can't just come in and establish yourself as a leader," Brown said. "You have to earn respect by your actions off the court, and by the way you play on the court.

"[Coach Daniel] could tell the guys who you are, and you can talk all you want. But until the players actually see you play, they're not going to put their faith and trust into you."

Brown played baseball, track and basketball, concentrating more on basketball as a 10-year-old in the Pikesville recreation program.

"I was pretty good in baseball, and, of course, I just loved to hit. I stayed in track until just before I got into the ninth grade at Calvert Hall," Brown said. "But basketball was my favorite. We always had a goal out in my backyard, and I played on that constantly. Once I'd start playing, I never wanted to stop."

When Brown was 12, he and his father, Kevin, thought it was time to step up in competition.

"I had been working out with my dad, and with my aggression and advancing skills, we were looking for a stronger league to put me in. We went down to the Cecil Kirk rec, and their kids were just as aggressive and as strong as I was," Brown said.

"Going from the county to the city was a bit of a transition," he said. "There was more of a hunger among their players, but the biggest transition was the difference in speed. Ball-handling was a big adjustment. I was having trouble putting the ball on the floor because guys in the city came after you, made you make mistakes. They forced you to put the ball on the floor, to make that extra move, that extra dribble."

As a freshman at Calvert Hall, Brown played his way into a starting role on the junior varsity. As a sophomore, Brown made the varsity. He was averaging 16.4 points as a junior before he was suspended for reasons he preferred not to disclose. Brown completed his academic year at Calvert Hall, whose policy forbids discussion of students' disciplinary procedures.

"Instead of moping and pouting, I took the rest of the time to work on myself, mentally and physically," Brown said. "That's what I believe has gotten me to where I am now."

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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