This has turned into the longest spring break of Kendall Brown’s life.
Near the tail end of his first season at Wichita (Kansas) Sunrise Christian Academy, the five-star small forward prospect had a week off and went home to Cottage Grove, Minnesota, expecting to return to school and help the Buffaloes battle for a national championship. Instead, Brown and his teammates saw their season shuttered early and their return trips to campus postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We kind of knew this corona thing was going on, but we didn’t think it would end (the season)," Brown told The Dispatch. "We went to spring break thinking we were just going to come back next week, but just stay healthy. I guess it got worse in the next couple days and started shutting down everything. They started to cancel the NBA, and that eventually led to our stuff getting canceled."
That was roughly three weeks ago. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Brown now sits in limbo, trying to do what he can while working out at home. He’s done some weightlifting, he said, and has been shooting on the family basketball court while also fielding all kinds of phone calls and messages from the college programs recruiting him.
One of the interested programs is Ohio State.
The recruiting process requires a significant investment in time. Listed as the nation’s No. 16 overall recruit for the class of 2021 in the 247Sports.com composite rankings and a veteran of USA Basketball, Brown said he holds more than 20 scholarship offers from a list that includes Kansas, Minnesota, Marquette and others. He’s listed as a small forward but has spent significant time at guard, Brown said, because he grew up playing on his older brother’s teams. Two years younger than his teammates, Brown said he grew accustomed to being the shortest player on the court.
With travel essentially shut down and college coaches prohibited from in-person recruiting, Brown said his future plans could be affected by the uncertainty. Whether he will have a final season of AAU basketball is unknown.
"I’m just praying that there is a last year to compete for the Peach Jam," he said. "Ultimately at the end, if it does get canceled, I’m going to have to focus on the schools that are recruiting me right now and just focus on them."
Ohio State began recruiting him more than a year ago, he said, and the interest was high enough for him to take an official visit to campus when the Buckeyes hosted Maryland on Feb. 23.
It was a short visit, but Brown said it went well.
"It was really good to see a school like that, as big as they are, a well-known school like that," he said. "I really liked the campus, my relationship with the coaches and everything about it, pretty much.
"I was only there for two days, so we did a tour around the campus, hung out with the coaches, went to the game and then just talked with the coaches in the office."
Brown had taken one prior official visit, to Marquette. It’s unknown when future visits will be allowed to take place, but Brown said while on his visit that the Ohio State staff had mentioned the possibility of making another trip this fall to better get to know the players.
"I always liked Ohio State," he said. "They’re big in both programs (basketball and football), a really good sports school. I liked the way they play, and then seeing D’Angelo Russell over there, that’s one of my favorite players."
For now, Brown said he doesn’t have a list of top schools. The plan had been to go through AAU season and then assess things, but now he might start narrowing a list of favorites within the next month or so. When he does, Brown said he knows what he’s looking for.
"I’d say the relationship with the coaches, definitely," he said. "The relationship with the players and the style of play, because that’s where I’m going to be next year and I want the best relationship with the coaches and the best help to get me to the next level."