Instead of declaring for the NBA draft, Alec Brown decided to return to Green Bay for his senior season. His reasoning behind the move was two-fold: finish some unfinished business on the collegiate level, while similtaneously improving his draft stock. And a big area of emphasis was on the defensive side of the ball.
"I think last year I lost a little bit of aggressiveness defensively and I needed to get it back and I felt like I did," Brown explained.
Coaches around the conference felt the same way! They voted Brown Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. He joins Terry Evans as the only players in Phoenix history to claim the award.
"Means a lot, you know I've been getting a lot of blocks this year, finally got it back from sophomore year and it's a big achievement for me and I'm proud of it," Brown said.
Brown blocked 89 shots his sophomore year, then logged just 59 as a junior. As a senior, he's having his best season yet, recording 91 blocks thus far. Which is just four shy of breaking the Horizon League record for career blocks at 309.
"He changes the game defensively and offensively I mean he really does. He makes our defense go. He really is, he's that back line defense, he's always got his teammates back, and he can change a game, not even with blocked shots just by his presence out there and his size, his length. So very happy for Alec Brown, he's had a tremendous senior year," Head Coach Brian Wardle said.
Aside from his defensive contributions, Brown is averaging 15.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game and he's the only player in conference history to accumulate 1,500-plus points, 750-plus rebounds and 250-plus blocks in his career. The 7'1" team leader is the definition of humble. A trait that's rubbed off on his teammates.
"We got a lot of talent, a lot of skill on this team, lot of guys that work hard and no one's going out there saying how good they are. No one's going out there saying we're going to win games, not matter what. We got a good group of guys that are really humble and kinda focused on getting to where we want to be cause we still have higher goals that we want to accomplish," Brown explained.
And it all starts with the host-team taking care of business in this week's Horizon League touranment. The team's 24-5 overall record is impressive, but anything can happen when it's tourney time and opponents have nothing to lose.
"It's a new season essentially, we had a great regular season and we're very proud of it but now its postseason and we gotta really come out and play every game. We have a chance to lose every game and we can't feel safe or anything we gotta come out and play every game," Brown said.
For Brown, its now or never. He won't have another shot collegiately to live up to expectations. He's gotta leave it all on the court.
"I know this he's not done and he wants to end it the right way here in Green Bay," Wardle said.