Troy Brown Sr. was understandably nervous leading up to Thursday’s NBA draft, and he received an encouraging text message two days earlier from another parent who went through the same experience last year.
Mike Collins, whose son Zach was selected 10th overall by the Sacramento Kings, told Brown about his own nerves before the 2017 draft.
“It’s been all that and more,” Brown Sr. said of his own feelings. “I was just so nervous for (his son) because I know how hard he’s worked and how bad he’s wanted this.”
Father and son could finally relax when 6-foot 7-inch guard Troy Brown Jr., a standout at Centennial High School who went on to play one season at Oregon, was chosen in the first round, No. 15 overall, by the Washington Wizards.
Brandon McCoy, the 7-footer who last season played for UNLV, was not drafted, but signed as a free agent with the Milwaukee Bucks, according to Yahoo.com.
Brown Jr., who wore a white Golden Knights jersey to a draft party, called the experience “surreal.”
“I tried to come in and have a calm mindset,” Brown Jr. said while standing amid family and friends in a private room at Red Rock Resort. “I had no expectations at all, just to come in and be happy to be drafted. I didn’t have a team I was high on. I just wanted to make sure it happened.”
OUR PICK IS IN!
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) June 22, 2018
Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said Brown Jr. can play anywhere from point guard to small forward.
“He was one of the top high school players in the country the year before, and he showed good progress last year,” Grunfeld said. “We think he can do more because he’s a very hard worker. Like any rookie, especially one of the youngest rookies in the draft (18 years old), there’s going to be an adjustment period, but he has nice size, a big wingspan, a nice body. He has to get a little bit stronger, like all rookies, and work on certain aspects of his game.
“But his feel for the game is really what impressed us. He’s a very good ball handler. He can get in the lane and pass the basketball. We like all those things about him, the intangibles he brings to the game, and the character.”
Brown Jr., who averaged 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds at Oregon, worked out for the Wizards before the draft and knew the team was interested in him.
He found out just how much on Thursday.
“They told me I played a lot better in the workout than I did during the season,” Brown Jr. said. “I think they saw me in my pro day, too. They told me that I’ve got a really bright future and that I’ve got to continue to work and I’m young and I’ve got to make sure I stay in the gym.”
McCoy was projected to go in the second round or possibly not at all, so being passed over wasn’t a surprise. He was the Mountain West Freshman of the Year last season after averaging 16.9 points and 10.3 rebounds. An attempt to reach McCoy for comment was unsuccessful.
One Mountain West player was drafted. Boise State 6-7 forward Chandler Hutchison, voted by the media as the conference player of the year, went in the first round at No. 22 overall to the Chicago Bulls.