Former Liberty County High School and South Georgia King basketball player Rion Brown, who now plays at Miami, lent a hand Saturday at a car-wash fundraiser to help his former travel team earn some money to finish out their summer season.
Brown, who will be entering his senior season this year as a Hurricane, took a break from washing cars and talked about winning the ACC title, his final year of college basketball and his NBA ambitions.
Last season, the Hurricanes won the first ACC men’s basketball title in school history. Brown said it was a surreal experience.
“It was a great experience to be able to be a part of that,” he said. “I’ve watched ACC basketball my whole life and watched my dad (Tico Brown) play when he was at Georgia Tech, so it was a great, an unbelievable experience to be a part of.”
With former Miami point guard Shane Larkin forgoing his final two seasons to enter the NBA draft, and teammates Durand Scott, Trey McKinney Jones, Reggie Johnson, Julian Gamble, Kenny Kadji and Garrius Adams graduating, Brown knows head coach Jim Larranaga will look to him to carry the team next season.
During the Hurricanes’ ACC title run, Brown averaging 6.3 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. In 15 regular-season conference games, he knocked in 21 3-pointers.
The Hurricanes were eliminated by Marquette, 71-61, in the third round of the NCAA tournament, but Brown shined in the tourney. He had 21 points against Illinois to tie for fourth-best outing by a ’Cane in a NCAA tournament game. He averaged 11.7 points per game in the tourney, hitting nine 3-pointers, and averaged 3.7 rebounds.
“I definitely want to lead the team back to where we were…another ACC championship and try and get a little further in the NCAA championship,” he said. “It’s probably going to be a little tough, but I definitely think I can step up my game to another level and help them get there. I expect great things.”
And like Larkin, Brown is looking ahead toward a potential NBA career.
“I’m really happy for all those guys, and we had a great season,” Brown said of his outgoing teammates. “I hope they all get drafted and just seeing them…well, it proves that anyone who works hard and is determined can make it…you have a great year and you put in all the work and the time, anything is possible.”
Among his personal priorities for the upcoming season is to make better than 40 percent in his 3-point shots.
“And I have a couple of other goals…I would like to make first-team ACC this year,” he said.