Vandegrift senior Greg Brown III became the first Austin area boys basketball player to be named the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year Thursday, continuing an honors-laden offseason for the 6-foot-8 blue-chip recruit.
Brown, a four-year starter for the Vipers, averaged 26 points, 13.2 rebounds and 3.4 blocks while leading Vandegrift to a program-best 33-3 record and its first district championship. A first-team, all-state selection by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, Brown also earned a spot in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American boys basketball game. The game, scheduled for April 1 in Houston, was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Rated the eighth best player in the class of 2020 by Rivals, Brown has narrowed his collegiate of choices to Memphis, Auburn, North Carolina, Kentucky and Texas. He tweeted earlier this year that he will make his selection April 24.
The Longhorns remain a strong contender to land Brown, but the status of Texas coach Shaka Smart will play a big role on whether Brown stays in his hometown. Smart is on the hotseat after a mediocre 19-12 season that prematurely ended before any postseason tournaments because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Brown’s father told the Statesman’s Kirk Bohls last month that Smart’s firing “definitely will send Greg elsewhere.”
Gatorade began naming its boys basketball player of the year in 2000. Five of the first eight honorees signed with Texas, but the Longhorns haven’t landed the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year since signing Gary Johnson out of Aldine Nimitz High School in 2007.