June 16, 2024

Marist’s Stephen Brown is without doubt one of the high recruits in Illinois within the 2026 class. The 6-foot-8 sophomore ahead already has gives from Illinois and Miami.

However Brown doesn’t get caught up within the highlight or get too large of a head. His coaches make certain of that.

“It’s not likely an enormous deal as a result of my coaches inform me each day that I suck,” Brown stated. “They push me tougher and tougher to show myself.”

Brown is exhibiting that he undoubtedly doesn’t “suck.” He scored 17 factors, pulled down seven rebounds and performed an enormous defensive position Friday evening because the visiting RedHawks earned a 63-48 East Suburban Catholic Convention win over Marian Catholic in Chicago Heights.

Darshan Thomas additionally had 17 factors and 7 rebounds for Marist (18-4, 7-2), which avenged a 71-60 loss on Dec. 8 at house to the Spartans. Achilles Anderson added eight factors and Marquis Vance contributed six factors and eight rebounds.

James Bullock Jr. poured in 21 factors and added eight rebounds for Marian Catholic (14-8, 7-3). Zack Sharkey scored 11 factors and Delan Davis chipped in with 9.

Brown confirmed off versatile sport Friday evening. He knocked down a 3-pointer and a number of other different bounce photographs whereas additionally scoring inside persistently.

“I’ve been engaged on it each day in apply,” Brown stated of his exterior shot. “Coach (Brian Hynes) retains pushing me each day. Even when I’m lacking, he simply tells me to maintain taking pictures and he retains me assured.”

Hynes is aware of Brown has had big expectations surrounding him since he cracked the beginning lineup final season as a freshman — and for much longer than that.

“He’s been coping with that since he was in fifth grade,” Hynes stated. “I feel it’s my accountability simply to type of make certain I’ve my arm round him.

“I can’t think about what it’d be prefer to be that needed and talked about at that age, so we simply need him to keep in mind that he’s cherished, we’re his household, and all that issues is what goes on in our locker room. His teammates love him.”

Thomas, who transferred in from Fenwick, is in his first season as Brown’s teammate.

Marist’s Darshan Thomas (10) leans in for a bank shot against Marian Catholic during an East Suburban Catholic game in Chicago Heights on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

“Enjoying with Stephen is wonderful,” Thomas stated. “He’s a younger child who’s bought loads of vitality, and he’s not a egocentric child. He’s going to move you the ball. He’s going to do what must get executed.

“His vitality bounces off all people on the staff.”

Brown was a serious difference-maker defensively in opposition to Marian. Down 16-10 after one quarter, Marist unleashed a 1-3-1 press and took management of the sport, outscoring the Spartans 26-4 within the second quarter.

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On the high of the press, Brown bought his hand on a number of balls and wreaked havoc.

“We’ve bought a very good athlete on the high of the 1-3-1,” Hynes stated. “It’s exhausting to get round him. And I feel he actually likes it.”

Marist’s Stephen Brown (5) takes a jump shot as Marian Catholic's Zack Sharkey (22) defends during an East Suburban Catholic game in Chicago Heights on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

Marist was in management a lot of the method, however Marian rallied inside 10 factors and appeared in place to chop it to eight with just below three minutes left when Brown got here seemingly out of nowhere to dam Bullock’s shot on a breakaway.

“I knew I needed to go get it,” Brown stated. “I couldn’t let it go in. I knew it will change the sport. I needed to get again, make an enormous cease and assist us win the sport.”

It was one other glimpse of Brown’s potential.

“He’s solely a sophomore and he already has these excessive main Division I gives,” Thomas stated. “His ceiling is unstoppable. I gained’t be shocked if I see him being a McDonald’s All-American, going to an enormous faculty, even being a lottery choose within the NBA.

“If he retains working exhausting, the sky’s the restrict for him.”