Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

The sky’s the limit for high-flying freshman Greg Brown

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

Editor's Note: This story first appeared in The Daily Texan's February 5 online edition.

Freshman forward Greg Brown is no stranger to the spotlight.

The five-star recruit out of Vandegrift High School in Austin, Texas, said he received his first offer to play basketball for the Longhorns when he was still in middle school. Five years after he first developed a relationship with head coach Shaka Smart, Brown has been announced as a finalist for the 2021 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. 

The freshman credits his electric first season to diligent goal setting.

“I have a little journal in my dorm,” Brown said at a Jan. 15 teleconference. “I just write every day what I want to do and what I want to get accomplished, and then I write my long term goals.”

Cliff Ellis, Vandegrift’s head coach, watched Brown grow exponentially as a player during his four-year varsity career. He would consistently return in the fall twice as good as he was the previous year, Ellis said.

“I've never had a player like that,” Ellis said. “But to his testament, he put in the work.”

Brown’s rapid development was inevitable given the amount of work he did between practice and personal training sessions, Ellis said.

“Greg didn't want to be the best player at Vandegrift High School, he wanted to be the best player in the state of Texas,” Ellis said. “He doesn't want to be the best player at the University of Texas — he wants to be the best player in the country, and that's going to translate to being the best player he possibly can be.”

At times, Brown’s exuberant personality on the court can land him in hot water. In the second half of Tuesday’s game against No. 2 Baylor, Brown soared over a defender for a thunderous dunk to cut Baylor’s lead to four points. However, his subsequent staredown drew a technical foul and halted Texas’s momentum.

“That was nothing different than what he was doing in high school,” Ellis said. “While that adrenaline is going, it was always so hard to reel him in. But at the same time, I'd rather have a player like Greg (Brown) that has that passion.”

Smart said the technical foul hurt the team and changed the trajectory of the game after the Longhorns had clawed their way back into the contest.

“It's a huge teaching moment, it just can’t happen,” Smart said. “It was a phenomenal dunk, it was a great play, but we can’t give the other team two points.”

As Tuesday’s emotional display showed, there’s still a lot for the freshman to learn. Brown recognizes the aspects of his game that need development in order to achieve his NBA dreams.

“I'm trying to raise my IQ (and) trying to figure out where’s the next pass,” Brown said. “People don’t notice, but I actually love passing the ball.”

There’s no denying the star player’s talent and drive to be the most successful version of himself he can possibly be.  

“It’s going to be so much fun to watch him grow and develop into an NBA All-Star one day,” Ellis said. “If he can continue to control the things he can control, I think the sky's the limit for him.”

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About the Contributor
Matthew Boncosky, Sports Editor
Matthew is a senior studying journalism and previously covered football, men’s basketball, volleyball and swimming and diving. He is the "undisputed" ping pong champion of the basement.
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The sky’s the limit for high-flying freshman Greg Brown