As assured, mystery juco star Brown goes lottery
By Albert Lin, CNNSI.com
NEW YORK -- There are few guarantees in life. Apparently, however, Kedrick Brown going No. 11 to the Boston Celtics was one of them.
Through a little backroom dealing, Brown's agent, Arn Tellem, reportedly secured assurances that Boston would take his client with the second of its three first-rounders. Speculation is the choice was made for the Portland Trail Blazers, but no trade was immediately announced and officials denied any discussions.
"There's no chance we would do anything with Kedrick," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "Kedrick is going to be with the Boston Celtics for a very, very long time."
The Celtics already have Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce, and they loaded up on wing players on draft night, taking Arkansas' Joe Johnson (No. 10), Brown and North Carolina's Joseph Forte (No. 21), furthering speculation that something has to give.
"If I'm moved I'll still give 100 percent," Brown said. "But Boston is a really great team I'd like to play for."
A virtual unknown as recently as a month ago, observers began suspecting something was amiss when Brown last week was invited to attend the draft. Only potential lottery picks generally wait in the Green Room, and Brown long had been considered a borderline first-round selection.
The 6-foot-7, 222-pound wingman, whose full name is Albert Kedrick (KEE-drik) Brown, has been the biggest mystery man in the draft. He submitted his name after only two years of junior-college ball, at Okaloosa-Walton CC in Florida, and did not work out or interview with a single NBA club (he had turf toe on his left foot). Ergo, the rumors of a deal by Tellem. How else could someone have skyrocketed with no new information available?
"I trusted the people around me," Brown said. "My coach [Bruce Stewart] coached in the CBA, so he knows a lot about the game. Arn Tellem is a powerful man, so I put my trust in him and I put my trust in God."
What has teams drooling is Brown's superior physical abilities. He is solidly built and can jump through the roof (think of him as comparable to Arizona's Richard Jefferson). What separated him from others, though, is his (apparent) shooting ability. Brown hit 76 of 188 (40.4 percent) 3-point attempts last season, when he averaged 22.9 points and 8.8 rebounds.
"I didn't think about [turning pro] until the end of the season," Brown said. "My junior college coach did a lot of research. I really thought I was going to go to LSU. But at that time I was at the top of my game, and I really thought this would be the right time."
Brown signed with Tellem's SFX agency and moved to Los Angeles to train with other, bigger-name clients, including Johnson (taken by Boston a pick earlier), Eddie Griffin, Brian Scalabrine and Earl Watson. Brown lifted and worked out twice a week and built confidence by playing pickup games; he had never before competed against this level of opponent.
"When I stepped foot on the court and held my own, I knew I could play with those guys," he said.
Despite the enormous differences from low-level high school basketball to junior-college competition to the NBA, Brown anticipates no problems making this latest jump. He doesn't foresee too much pine time and expects to be ready to contribute.
"As soon as they need me," he said. "I'm not in any rush, but I think I can step in and help immediately."
Regardless, Brown already is worlds away from his childhood in Zachary, La. Indeed, he is light years away from where he was just 24 months ago, forced to attend junior college because he couldn't make the grade academically.
"I never could have imagined this," Brown said. "I always dreamed that I could go [to the NBA], but I'm here quicker than I thought I would be."