Athlete of the week: Jalen Brown just keeps getting better for the Tigers

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Jalen Brown is helping change the boys basketball culture at Troup High. It has been a tough couple of years for the Tigers program as they won 14 games across the past two seasons. Brown helped lead the team to a six-game win improvement during his freshman season and has developed into a key contributor for the team.

“This season has had its ups and downs, but overall It’s been good” Brown said. “I was excited to for a bigger role and a new challenge this year.”

Brown came in and made an instant impact as a freshman, but this season Brown had had to take on a bigger role. He has the ball in his hands more often and is tasked with creating his own shots and shots for others in a way he did not previously have to. 

“I have the ball in my hands way more now and I have to make more plays for me and my teammates and really be a leader for the team,” Brown said. 

Now, Brown is a leader for the team despite just being a sophomore. But it is a young team at Troup and Brown has shown a natural ability to lead. 

Brown backs up his leadership with his play on the court and is averaging 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game through the first 11 games of the season.

Coach Vacher Hammett has came in and given Brown a ton of freedom on the court. Hammett, in his first season in charge, has brought new life to the program.

“He has been strict, but that is exactly what we need to build a culture,” Brown said. “He has stepped up for us.”

Basketball is life for Brown. Ever since he started playing the game as a spry, wide-eyed 9-year-old to where he is today. When he is not playing with Troup he is playing travel ball or pickup when neither is in season.

“Travel ball starts in March, right after the high school season ends,” Brown said. “It’s pretty much basketball year round for me.”

Those days playing pickup over the summer helped Brown realize where he needed to get better.

“Pickup ball really helped me out over the summer, playing against older boys that are bigger, strong and faster,” Brown said. 

“I’ve been working on my pace and just having a strong base, so I can’t get knocked off my spot. I’ve been working on my body.”

Brown still has a ton of untapped potential as he continues to expand his game with 2.5 high school basketball seasons still in front of him.

Currently, his eyes are firmly set on the upcoming portion of the Tigers’ season as they prepare for the heart of region play. 

“I’m ready for region play, those other games were just tune-up games for these,” Brown said. “We want to go to the playoffs. That is the only goal for me right now.”

With the no. 24 on his back and a smooth pull-up jumper, Troup’s shooting guard might be mistaken for an NBA icon that used to wear that very same number and play the game the very same way in Los Angeles. 

“I always try to stay calm and collected on the court,” Brown said. “I want to always get my teammates involved in the game too and not just take shots.”