In his third season on the varsity team, and his second as a full-time starter, the 6-foot, 160-pound junior guard has the ability to thrive offensively and defensively, which will be a huge asset for the Hawks when they take on Norcross for the Class AAAAAA state championship Saturday in Macon.
“B.J. can shoot,” Morris said, “and when he gets going, he can knock it down.”
While Kyle Castlin is Hillgrove’s leading scorer with 21 points per game, Brown is next on the list at 12 points per contest. He’s also shooting around 42 percent from the floor and 35 percent from 3-point range.
“He’s always been a shooter,” Morris said of Brown. “But lately, though, he’s played well on defense. He gets after hustle plays and works hard on his defense. Over the last three weeks of the state tournament, his defense has helped us tremendously.”
Brown acknowledged that scoring and defending were two of his major roles with the team, noting that those are just two of his many strengths.
“I shoot the ball well,” he said. “I’m a good rebounder. I hustle on defense and attack the basket. My role is to be a scorer and a defender.”
Even with Brown’s defensive prowess, he isn’t necessarily asked to guard an opponent’s best player. Hillgrove has been successful defensively all season long because of all of the weapons at its disposal.
“We have very good defensive guards,” Morris said, “but we’re not afraid to put B.J. on someone and ask him to slow that person down. He did a great job on Avery Patterson of Wheeler (in the state semifinal) to help us get that win. So, what we try to do is put him on a key player, and he carries out that assignment.
“He’s and extremely hard worker on and off the court. He always wants to get better. He’s a gym rat. You can usually see him after practice for an extra 30 minutes taking shots and practicing.”
Brown, who has been playing basketball since he was 6 years old, credited the environment and aggressiveness of the sport as reasons why he has continued to play after starting at a young age. He also enjoys the need to be humble and focused in order to play well.
Brown says his improvement at Hillgrove has come from seeing how his predecessors performed and reacted on a daily basis.
“Just watching the guys before me has helped me become a better player,” he said. “I saw the hard work it took for them to be successful, and I worked off that. Hopefully, as long as I continue to work hard, I can help my team do well and, later, I can get to the next level.”
With Hillgrove on the cusp of its first state championship, helping the Hawks do well Saturday is Brown’s primary concern.
“It will take a lot of focus and aggressiveness from us to win that game,” he said. “We can’t let (Norcross) push us around. We have to be smart on the floor, and make sure we come out ready to play.”