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Why family matters in Greg Brown III’s basketball decision

The hoops prep star announced he will play for Texas next season


(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the news of Greg Brown III’s decision to attend the University of Texas.)

In 1971, Greg James Brown Sr. committed to play football for legendary coach Eddie Robinson on his official visit to Grambling State University. In 1997, Greg James Brown II called the University of Texas to inform the football program of his intention to sign with the Longhorns. And on Friday, prep hoops star Greg James Brown III continued the family sports tradition in even grander fashion when he made his decision on where he will play next season.

Brown III made his announcement on his Instagram account in conjunction with The Undefeated, committing to play for Texas.

“I have a lot of pride because there have been three generations of Gregory James Brown. The first two held their own and I have a lot to live up to carrying that name,” Brown III told The Undefeated. “I’m a lion in the jungle.”

The 2020 Texas Gatorade Player of the Year’s college choices included Texas, Kentucky, Auburn, Memphis and Michigan. As of Wednesday, the G League also had an offer on the table for over $300,000 for Brown III to play in the new, accelerated one-year program with a select team of young players.

“My emotions have been all over the place,” Brown III said on Tuesday. “All the choices are great choices and I have to pick one out of all six.”

From left to right: Greg Brown Sr., Greg Brown III, Charles Barkley, Garron Brown and Greg Brown Jr. during a visit to Auburn.

Brown Family

Brown III was ranked as the ninth-best boys high school player in the Class of 2020 by ESPN.com. At Vandegrift High School in Austin, Texas, the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 26.1 points, 13.2 rebounds and 3.5 blocks as a senior and was named to the 2020 McDonald’s All American team. He led Vandegrift to a program-best 33-3 record and its first district championship.

While the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 McDonald’s All American Game, as well as his senior prom and high school graduation, Brown III has been staying focused at home.

“I have been just using it as motivation to work out and get better,” Brown III said. “Not going to McDonald’s or graduation, that really doesn’t sit well for me. I will just use that anger and sadness to go get better. … But I am getting in shape and getting stronger. I have a little weight set in the garage. And then we go see my uncle, who is a strength and conditioning coach.”

Brown Sr. played wide receiver for Grambling from 1971 to 1974 but did not play in the NFL. Brown II, a cornerback, started the final 25 games of his career at Texas and was a two-time honorable mention All-Big 12 selection before going undrafted by the NFL in 2001. He was on the practice squad for the Denver Broncos from 2001 to 2003 and later signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but never played in an NFL game. He went on to play for the Austin Wranglers in the Arena Football League and for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe.

Greg Brown III’s father played cornerback for Texas during 1999-2000.

Stephen Dunn/ALLSPORT

Brown III said he has learned a lot about having the right mindset from his father and grandfather.

“Attitude reflects altitude. If you have the right mindset, you will go far,” Brown III said. “Never be satisfied. If you get a prestigious award or get invited to a prestigious thing, don’t be too high about that. Don’t get full of yourself. Work for more.”

Brown II has also offered lessons from the successes and failures of his own pro and college career that he hopes have been educational for his son.

“I have been preaching to him that once his high school career is over, it’s a business,” Brown II said. “The fun and games are over. When you go to college or the G League, it’s all about being a professional at all times. You need to be the first one to practice and the last one to leave getting the extra work. I was saying this before the G League offer.

Greg Brown III (left) playing for Vandegrift High School.

“Having played at the highest level has definitely impacted a lot of the decisions and choices I’ve made for him over the years. Not just the G League and college choice. I have pushed him to do things a certain way. But since he has become a young man, I more or less lay the facts on the line about everything I know. I have a ton of resources that I can call in on. Then I lay it on the line for him to make a great decision.”

Brown II said Tuesday that he and his son had talked in detail about the pros and cons of his college choices and the G League. He added that he recalled his parents not talking to him for three months in 1997 after he decided to go to Texas over Notre Dame without their blessing.

With that in mind, Brown II said his family supported his son in any decision he made, but they also wanted him to understand the magnitude of his decision.

“We definitely have told him at all times to be a representation of us,” Brown II said. “As kids, you try to do your own thing and you don’t understand how the decisions you make in life impact your friends and your family. I specifically, and my dad reinforces it, we talk to him and all the grandkids about the decisions they make and how it impacts the rest of us as well. We always tell him to make good decisions, but make yourself happy.”

Brown III chose Texas, and he is looking forward to seeing the reaction.

“The Instagram Live concept is cool because you can see all the people tuned in and the comments,” Brown III said. “I just imagine once you say where you are going to, you can see how many people in the comments are happy or sad. That’s kind of funny.”

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.