Kwame Brown likes to block shots from the weak side. Seems like this piece of info was kept from at least one baller at last summer's ABCD adidas camp. A high-profile guard -- whose name will be withheld to protect future earnings -- beat his man and flashed in the lane for an uncontested finger roll. Then Brown took one giant step and most definitely contested it, swatting the lay-in off the board from behind.
Wait, there's more. Brown pulled in the carom and fired the outlet to his point guard. He then beat him -- and everyone else -- down the floor, got the ball back and nearly scraped his forehead on the rim as he threw it down. "He's as fast as most guards on the break," says hoops guru Sonny Vaccaro.
Brown goes 6'11", 240. Combine that with his speed, and you see why he's about to be the next big thing in pro hoops. But wait, there's still more. Strength: Brown benches 340 pounds. Stats: 20.1 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 5.8 bpg and 3.5 apg in his senior year at Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga. Skills: soft hands, quick feet, an accurate shot out to 20 that makes KB-KG comparisons inevitable.
KB is used to being ahead of the game. He was 6'6", 190 in the eighth grade, and made varsity as a freshman. And he signed with Florida early in his senior year. But Gators coach Billy Donovan started to get fidgety after Brown's 38 points and 16 rebounds in the Georgia state semis kicked the pro talk into high gear. Two months later, Brown made official his decision to skip college.
"No matter what I did, people are going to say I made the wrong decision," says Brown. Truth is, the 19-year-old prodigy wanted to spend some time in college. But he is the seventh of eight children and none of the hand-me-downs ever fit. He and his six brothers and one sister spent a year in a homeless shelter. His mom has a bad back and hasn't been able to work since '93, and the family has been living on her disability checks and the little money she makes babysitting. Life has been hard. Kwame is about to change that.
Will he change the game like KG did? Give him a little time. He'll definitely change a few shots along the way, though.
This article appears in the July 9 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
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