Brown seeks to be Illinois’ Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American. He’d like to attend Michigan State and excite the Izzone with mouth-dropping dunks. He wants to be drafted and win a NBA title.
Brown would like it all, plus a little more. All the achievements Shannon hasn’t reached – a state title at Proviso East, all-American status and national championship at Michigan State, NBA lottery pick and all-star selection -- Brown also wants.
“That’s my goal -- I want to be even better than what he’s doing,” said Brown, who is 9 ½ years younger than Shannon. “I told him that. He said in order to get there I have to put in a lot of hard work and extra hours in the gym.”
Brown has begun making that push toward stardom. His sophomore season has been full of inconsistencies, but in the last week Brown showed his potential, scoring 22 points in a win over highly-ranked Glenbard East and following that up with 15 points in a win over a tough North Lawndale team. For his performances, he is the ESPNChicago.com/Muscle Milk Prep Athlete of the Week.
“The one thing he’s doing now is he’s playing with a lot of confidence,” said Proviso East coach David Chatman, who also coached Shannon. “Sometimes a player can have a good game and take it and run with it. That’s exactly what he’s doing now.
“There’s a lot of hype around his name, being the younger brother of Shannon Brown. He’s still a sophomore. He’s going to be a sophomore on some nights and some nights pop up like he has. It’s part of the growing pains, growing process.”
For Brown, there’s no escaping his older brother’s shadow. Even inside Proviso East’s gym, there hangs a banner commemorating Shannon being Gatorade’s high school player of the year on one wall, and on the opposite wall, another honors him for being on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brown doesn’t mind all the attention for the most part. The only drawback is when some people try to use who his brother is against him.
“Everywhere I go, Batavia, Addison Trail, they say Shannon is doing better than me,” Brown said. “I just use it as motivation to play. Everyone thinks I get where I am because of my brother. They think I get my starting spot because of him. They think I get my minutes because of him. I want to prove to everybody I am where I am because of me.”
Chatman can assure everyone Brown would be starting for nearly every high school team in the state. At 6-foot-5 and growing, Brown has great size. He can handle the ball, shoot it from deep or mid-range, drive it and score inside.
In comparison to Shannon as a sophomore, Chatman doesn’t think Brown is as aggressive, but he is a better shooter and matches his brother’s high basketball IQ.
“He makes a lot of good decisions with the ball,” Chatman said. “That’s what makes him so tough and so hard to guard. He knows the game. He can see the floor really good. He does a good job of mixing it up.
“They’re two totally different players. He knows Shannon had his time, and Sterling’s time is coming.”
As much as the brothers are different, Sterling does want to follow in Shannon’s footsteps in most ways. Brown really enjoyed Michigan State when he visited Shannon there and could see himself playing for coach Tom Izzo. The Spartans have sent Brown a recruiting questionnaire, but nothing more as of now.
Brown isn’t a big name on the recruiting scene yet. He hasn’t drawn the attention of some of the other players in Illinois’ Class of 2013, particularly Simeon’s Jabari Parker and Whitney Young’s Tommy Hamilton Jr., both nationally-ranked players.
Chatman believes Brown will ultimately be included in that discussion.
“The sky’s the limit for this kid,” Chatman said. “I don’t tell him that too much. In the next year or so, his name will be right next to those guys. He’s growing leaps and bounds. The way he’s going now it’s going to be hard to separate them.”