Most players feel pressure to live up to hype. SirValiant Brown has to live up to his name. After one season at George Washington, his mission has been accomplished.
As a freshman, Brown, whose parents have a fascination with the legend of Camelot and the film King Arthur's Knights of the Roundtable (his brother Cody's middle name is SirLancelot), was the nation's second-leading scorer last year, with 24.6 points per game. He led the Colonials in scoring in 20 of their 30 games and scored 30 or more points nine times and was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.
"Val is probably the most important recruit I've ever had," says George Washington coach Tom Penders. "He's the type of go-to guy others want to play with. There is not a shot Val Brown can't make."
Brown was also recruited by schools such as UCLA and Kentucky, but he wanted to play for Penders. When Penders left Texas and came to George Washington, that allowed Brown to stay near his home in Springfield, Va.
"He's the focal point of our program right now," Penders says. "He's earned it. It's not something I gave him."
What Brown was given though, was his unique name, which he did not embrace at first. Brown has gone by "Val" for most of his life. "At first I hated it because everybody was picking on me," he says.
Toward the end of his senior year in high school, however, he began to embrace the name, and in college reverted back to SirValiant. "It's a new Val, a new person," he says.
The Colonials are hoping the same Val shows up this season.
-- Jimmy Traina