The 2021 NCAA men’s basketball national champion Baylor Bears reloaded its roster with a top-15 nationally ranked recruiting class that included Langston Love, Jeremy Sochan, Arizona transfer James Akinjo, and five-star prospect Kendall Brown. Playing for Sunrise Christian Academy (KS), Brown had a successful individual year garnering selections to the McDonald’s All-American game, USA Nike Hoop Summit team, Iverson Classic, and the Jordan Brand Classic.
Along with Tennessee signee Kennedy Chandler, Brown helped lead Sunrise Christian to the GEICO Nationals final against a tough Montverde Academy (FL) squad. A legitimate NBA prospect, the two-way forward who thrives in transition, cutting, and posting up, is constantly active in passing lanes and timely rotating to the weak side by turning defense into easy offense. Brown possesses a strong frame and has developed into an underrated passer, as well.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Brown reflected on his senior year at Sunrise Christian and playing in the GEICO Nationals championship game, his goals at Baylor, his interest in movie directing and video game streaming, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present Kendall Brown, from Cottage Grove, Minnesota:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about your background. How did you get to where you are today?
Kendall Brown: I’ll say, just growing up in a basketball family, being pushed by my dad who used to play [at Southwest MN State and professionally] and my older brother. We just always grew up playing the game. So, I have an older brother to kind of lead the path to get to where I am now. It was a great help to where I am.
PI: How tall are your parents?
KB: My dad is 6’6. My mother is 6’0.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
KB: Yeah. I played pretty much everything as a kid. And the two sports that I took seriously were football and basketball, but I quit football in seventh grade because my knees hurt too much.
PI: What made you fall in love with basketball?
KB: It was just a sport that was put in my hands since I was like three years old. So just knowing that, that was like what I did, like as a kid going up, I knew that I wanted to be a basketball player and have a future in it.
PI: What are your current measurements?
KB: I am 6’8, 6’11 wingspan, 205 lbs.
PI: For those that aren’t super familiar with your game — what are your greatest strengths?
KB: I’ll say I'm a defensive player. I get my teammates involved and I can drive, cut, move without the ball easily. And I’m kind of like a playmaker. I like to get my teammates involved first and then let the game come to me.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
KB: Yeah, I'm trying to improve on everything. My whole game needs work to get to the highest level. And I’m just mostly working on my jump shot right now. I need to perfect that as well as a lot of other things.
PI: What are some underrated parts of your game you feel you don’t get enough credit for?
KB: I would say my passing. I can really see the floor and I have a good IQ to see when people are open so that’s some of my passing.
PI: Who do you model your game after and try to study on film?
KB: I like to watch a lot of Jaylen Brown and Kawhi Leonard — mostly those two.
PI: Do you have a particular training regimen?
KB: Yeah, I’ve been kind of resetting my form. So I always do this form shooting now because changing your jump shot is really hard, especially when you just shoot it a way for a certain time. So I just do that a lot and when I'm at home, just practice it to get used to it.
PI: Describe this past season with Sunrise Christian Academy. What was it like going to GEICO Nationals?
KB: It was a great season. All glory to God that we could have a season and actually play games. I know some people didn't, but we had high expectations. Getting Kennedy [Chandler], people assumed us as a number-one team so we had a target on our back the whole season. And then just, it was a great year, playing against the top teams and coming up short in the championship to a good Montverde team, but I wouldn't want it any other way.
PI: Who has been the toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
KB: I would say two dudes on Montverde: [Caleb] Houstan and [Jalen] Duren. That dude Houstan, he just doesn't miss. Like in the championship game, he didn't miss a shot in the whole three quarters. And then Duren is just a big dude man — that dude huge.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
KB: As a player, just be the best I can be on the court. Play every game like it’s my last. Just coming to college to make an immediate impact and help Baylor right away.
PI: Going to Baylor this summer, what are you most looking forward to off the court?
KB: Off the court, just being on campus and bonding with everybody. I know a lot of them down there and just to get down there and just be cool with everybody and just chill.
PI: Is there anyone on the current Baylor team that you are particularly close with?
KB: I'm super close with Dain [Dainja]. He redshirted this year, but he's from Minnesota, too, so that's my boy down there.
PI: What are some things you bring to a team off the court?
KB: Oh, off the court just kind of like goofiness. I'm kind of like a chill person, but I just like the funny side of things and to not take things too seriously off the court.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
KB: I'd probably say a movie director or a video game streamer.
PI: What’s your go-to video game to play?
KB: Madden, that's my game.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
KB: Success…I would say just achieving what you had in mind. Not like what other people view as success, but what your goals were and what makes you happy.
PI: What do you personally feel you’ll need to accomplish in your career in order for you to become satisfied?
KB: Not to be satisfied, but just take care of my family. Just be the best player I can be and know that when I'm done playing that I didn't leave anything out there — like I left everything out there and just to be happy with it when I'm done.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
KB: I would say my dad and my brother.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
KB: Chill. Happy. Athlete. Gamer.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
KB: I hope to be remembered for how I was a great person, a great leader, and just being a good role model that kids can look up to one day.
Watch the full interview with Kendall, here