Ohio State basketball power rankings: No. 11 Gene Brown III

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Eugene Brown III, Southwest DeKalb (Photo courtesy of Southwest DeKalb)

Ohio State will open its 2020-21 men's basketball season by traveling to South Dakota to participate in the Crossover Classic. The three-day event that takes the place of the Battle 4 Atlantis will see the Buckeyes face Memphis on Nov. 25 in what will be the first Ohio State game in 262 days. The hope is to play a 27-game season that will include 20 Big Ten games and lead into a conference and then NCAA Tournament amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In preparation for an unprecedented start to the season, The Dispatch is counting down with power rankings for each member of the Ohio State roster.

These rankings are an educated guess at which players will have the most significant on-court impact during the course of the entire season.

The series continues today with the No. 12 player in our rankings.

No. 11 – Gene Brown III

Position: Wing

Class: Freshman

Height/weight: 6 feet 6 / 195 pounds

Jersey number: 3

Background: A three-star recruit according to the composite rankings, Brown came to Ohio State as the No. 135 national recruit and the No. 22 shooting guard following an injury-shortened high school career at Conyers (Georgia) Southwest DeKalb. ESPN ranked him as a four-star recruit and the No. 29 small forward prospect in the nation. During his time with the Panthers, Brown helped the team win regional championships three times and led the only two teams in school history to consecutive state final four appearances. During his first three years of high school, Brown averaged 9.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game before suffering a broken tibia in his left leg as a junior. In five games that season, Brown averaged 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists prior to the injury.

As a senior, he returned to the same gym where he suffered the injury and finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds in a 56-55 overtime win. He committed to the Buckeyes from a list of six finalists that also included Butler, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Texas A&M. In 97 career games, he scored 1,120 points, grabbed 584 rebounds and recorded 149 steals, 139 assists and 138 blocks.

Need to know: Brown does not have a middle name and is afraid of small holes, a fear known as Trypophobia. He lists Young Thug as his favorite musical artist of all-time. Brown finished in the top 10% of his graduating class, scored an 1100 on his SAT, earned the David Mitchell Community Service Scholarship and Barack Obama Leadership Award and was selected to the National Society of High School Scholars. Brown was coached by his father, Eugene Brown Jr., in high school. Ohio State assistant coach Jake Diebler was his primary recruiter.

2019-20 recap: In his return from injury, Brown averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds per game as a senior at Southwest DeKalb. He was named first-team all-state by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Georgia Coaches Association named him the defensive player of the year and picked him for the senior all-star game. He played more on the ball than he will at Ohio State and told The Dispatch that it took him roughly eight months to fully shake off the rust from the injury.

2020-21 outlook: If there is a position where the depth chart is crowded on the Ohio State roster, it is on the win, and although Brown is officially listed as a guard he is viewed more as a wing whose versatility was prized by Chris Holtmann during his recruitment. Brown has surprised teammates with his size, many of whom have said he arrived taller than they expected, and that coupled with his defensive abilities give him opportunities for playing time as a freshman.

“Gene has shown ability to defensively, we think, be able to help us,” Holtmann said at the start of preseason camp. “He’s got to continue to improve some of his offensive skills and shooting at this level.”

Additional reading:

Ohio State freshmen Zed Key, Gene Brown surprising their new teammates

Gene Brown puts injury behind him

Freshmen's parents put trust in Ohio State, coaches

Gene Brown commits to Ohio State

Previous power rankings:

No. 12 – Jimmy Sotos

No. 13 – Harrison Hookfin