The final July live period for the Adidas’ AAU circuit concluded with the 3SSB Open at AIM Sports Complex in Seal Beach, CA. This session featured an opening day of showcase games, followed by championship and consolation brackets, which was a golden opportunity for players to showcase themselves in the presence of hundreds of college coaches.
Pro Insight was on-hand to cover the event and caught up with Mikel Brown, Jr. of Southeast Elite (FL) and Sunrise Christian Academy (KS). Playing up two years on the 17U team, Brown Jr. showed that he not only belonged, but also excelled as a primary ball handler who possesses advanced basketball IQ and deep shooting range for his age. In the early stages of his recruitment, the rising sophomore has already earned offers from Texas A&M, Baylor, Florida, Auburn, Kansas, Texas, and Texas Tech, among many others. Last season, he helped Orlando Christian Prep (FL) win its 10th FHSAA Class 2A title alongside incoming Notre Dame freshman Ven-Allen Lubin, Ohio University’s A.J. Brown, and 2023 big Jayden Hastings. Looking ahead, Brown Jr. is poised to become a future five-star prospect who will have a plethora of options to choose from at the next level.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Brown discussed developing as a leader on and off the court, the opportunity to attend Sunrise, incorporating Steve Nash’s pick-and-roll prowess, Darius Garland’s shiftiness, and Steph Curry’s shooting and off-ball movement into his game, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2025 prospect Mikel Brown, Jr., from Orlando, Florida:
Pro Insight: Off the top, do you prefer to be called Mikel or Christopher?
Mikel Brown Jr.: My preferred name is Mikel. People just call me Chris 'cause it's Chris Brown, so they think junior, so it's Chris Brown Jr., but I like to be called Mikel. That's what everybody calls me. But yeah, that's it.
PI: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
MBJ: I mean, my background is tremendous. I got a great family that supports me in everything that I do and they always got my back every step of the way. They're gonna push me. They shown me real life lessons early on so I take advantage of that. Stay focused. Stay humble. Get in the gym. Work hard.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
MBJ: My dad was an athlete. Both my dad and my mom were athletes. My mom played basketball in high school and she played volleyball in college and my dad played basketball through college — JuCo. He went to JuCo at TCC and went to West Florida. So I mean it's kind of in my blood. I was born into it, immediately in the gym, watching my dad practice with his older guys in college. Basketball has been in my life the whole time and that’s why I love it.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
MBJ: I did for like a year, or two. I played baseball, but that was like in second grade and then when I hit third grade, I'm like “I'm really gonna focus on this basketball stuff.” Just lock in ‘til we make it.
PI: Obviously, you’re an elite shooter from distance who reads the defense and makes plays. For those who aren’t familiar with your game, how would you describe your greatest strengths?
MBJ: I mean, my greatest strength is that I got a really good high IQ. I can see plays. I'm a great teammate. I always support my teammates, always encourage them, and I'm always getting on them, as well. If they make a mistake, try to correct them, help them out. But all in all, in my opinion, just me being confident. I got the whole package, you would say.
PI: What type of leader are you?
MBJ: Before I was more of a quiet guy, but now since my dad and my coach are encouraging me like, “be a leader. You're the leader of this team. You're the anchor. You gotta take control of this team.” And that's what I've been trying to do. I've been on them every step of the way. Like even to the hotel, they gotta be on time, in the room for meetings, and stuff like that. Just trying to be a leader. I'm just trying to develop it to the fullest.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
MBJ: I'm really trying to work on getting to my spots better. I feel like I allow guys to try to rattle me, but I really don't get rattled. That, and obviously you know, gotta get stronger, so I need to be in the weight room. As a matter of fact, I'm actually gonna get in the weight room tonight after this game so you know, it ain't no days off.
PI: Do you have a specific weight goal you want to achieve?
MBJ: Before I get to Sunrise, I want to try to be 140 [pounds], but that month that I am at Sunrise, I'm trying to get to 145, 150 [pounds] — gain five to ten pounds in about like two months, so that's the plan.
PI: Congrats on the move to Sunrise, by the way. How did the opportunity come about?
MBJ: I mean, it was a great experience and a great opportunity. They saw me out in Dallas when I played. They came out to me and my dad and ever since then, they just kicked it off. They’ve always been calling us, talking to us. I mean, it’s just great coaching, great philosophy. You know, the culture there is…they’re national, so I'm playing against the elite of the elite every single day in practice and I'm playing elite competition in the NIBC.
PI: Is there anyone in particular you’re looking forward to playing with?
MBJ: I mean, I'm looking forward to playing with everybody. I mean, like I said I'm a great teammate for all of my teammates. I just can't wait to get there and meet my new teammates and rock and roll with them.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
MBJ: I study a lot of Curry and Darius Garland. I just try to take pieces of their game. Take pieces of Steve Nash’s game in the pick-and-roll series. Take Darius Garland’s shiftiness and be able to get your defender off the spot and take Curry as his shooting and being able to move around a lot. That's another thing that I got to improve, as well.
PI: What is your recruitment update?
MBJ: Well, as you know I can't communicate with them, but my dad's been communicating to a lot of coaches. Texas recently offered. Gonzaga's been texting my dad a lot. Everybody has been talking to us. I mean, everything is an opportunity for me — a blessing in disguise. Scholarships are very humbling and a blessing, but I still got a lot of work to do.
PI: Have you had a dream school growing up?
MBJ: I really don't have a dream school to be honest. I'm a North Carolina fan. I'm a fan, but whatever opportunity is best for me and they let me come in to play immediately. I mean, I'm saying this, I got three more years left so I got a lot of work to do — like I said and when the day comes, it will come.
PI: Would you consider an alternative pro option in lieu of college?
MBJ: I mean it's way too early. I'm just focusing on this game right now, these last two tournaments that we have for the season, and Sunrise. I'll focus on that later down the road when it comes. When it comes, I'll talk and then I'll communicate with it so I can talk about it, but any option is a great option. It’s an opportunity.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
MBJ: Shoot, I'm a gaming guy. I love video games, to be honest. Video games and just watch basketball all day. That's really it.
PI: When you say video games, you mean 2K?
MBJ: Nah, I ain’t a 2K guy. I'm a Madden guy. 2K be getting on my nerves, man.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
MBJ: I currently don't have one right now (thinking for a second). I’mma have to say Yeat.
PI: Where do you see yourself in five years?
MBJ: I mean, I see myself playing, just continue playing at a high level, whether it's in the college level or in the pros level, just being blessed. You know, taking it one year at a time.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
MBJ: Four separate words…(thinking out loud). Well, I’d like it to be straight four — play at high level. Play at a high level, you know. That's what I like to describe myself as. Just play at a high level every game.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
MBJ: I just want to be remembered as…when people look at me, I don't pass the “look tests,” you know. Most people think I'm small, but I'm really not mentally. Mentally, I'm just gonna try to destroy you when I get on the court. I love talking. I love talking trash, you know, as you saw but I just like to stay calm, stay cool with it. Don't go overboard. But in my opinion, maybe they “rate me at a high level,” but I don't feel like that. I still ain't nowhere. I’m still not known enough. I want to be known around the country.