When you google the most popular first and last name combinations in the United States you get James Smith which had 38,313 combinations found in a study from Lee Hartman an associate professor emeritus of Spanish at Southern Illinois University. Michael Smith, and Robert Smith were two and three in the list while number five was David Smith. I actually knew a David Smith in junior high school, a basketball player Michael Smith played in Germany for BC Soest (2.Regionalliga) in the 2017-2018 season and overall 38 Michael/Mike Smith´s are listed at eurobasket.com and one of the many Robert Smith´s in this world is the lead singer of the Cure. I even interviewed another Mike Smith who had a long career that recently ended in retirement. Another name that is one of those common names that could pop up in any town tiny or big in their telephone book is Alex Brown. In 1850 Brown was the second most common surname and in 2019 it is the fourth most common surname in the states and has 1,380,145 matches. And one of those is Alec Brown. Granted the Alex is surely more common than the spelled Alec, but he will never get away from having that common name Brown. At eurobasket.com that have over 500,000 player profiles worldwide, there 2,526 players listed with the name Brown. There are 15 players named Alex, while Alec Brown who signed recently with German team Telekom Baskets Bonn isn´t the lone guy listed on the website, but another Alec played at Lake Michigan CC six years ago, but never turned professional. The American laughed when asked about his common name and even has kept tabs on the amount Brown´s he has met in his life. “I think that it has been close to 10-20 Browns that I have met, but I think that it´s closer to 20. I have met a lot of guys with that name that play basketball”, stressed Alec Brown. Alec Brown has that common name, but special unique game set. Having an ordinary name is the least of his worries at the moment, but moreover being able to bring some positive punch on the court to a struggling Telekom Baskets Bonn who are treading on very thin ice at the moment at position 16 with a very disappointing record of 2-10 in the German BBL.
Brown is a 27 year old 216cm center from Winona, Minnesota and began his basketball career at Winona High School leading them to a 29-2 season and third place finish in the Minnesota Class AAA tournament. In his senior year he averaged 22,4ppg, 9.8rpg and 4,9bpg. He set 7 school records during his prep career and registered a triple double against Mankato West with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocks. . He then proceeded to play at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (NCAA) from 2010-2014 playing a total of 125 NCAA games. He was able to improve his scoring each season and as a senior played 30 games averaging 15.3ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.0apg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 42%, FT: 72.7%. He had many long lasting memories like hitting Fairfield for 40 points, producing a triple double against Minnesota-Duluth amassing 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks, swatting away 11 balls against Wright State in a 57-56 victory or being named to the Horizon all defensive team twice, but it wasn´t so much the accomplishments on the court that he remembered most fondly. “I think off the court just building long lasting relationships with the coaches and players. The best thing has been building life long friendships with the people there. I can always get in contact with the coaches which is nice. On the court there were a lot of achievements. It would have been nice if we would have reached a NCAA tournament, but we won the conference my senior year so that was a big achievement”, stressed Alec Brown. The American is definitely a player that won´t be forgotten at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay as he left with many records like scoring 1,678 career points to rank fifth all-time, had a total of 309 blocks which broke the school record, and was third in career rebounds with 800. He couldn´t have achieved all the success without the guidance of head coach Brian Wardle. “When I got to school I was so unprepared for everything for being able to do the level of work there. He helped me become responsible. He also helped my shot giving me the green light. He had the confidence in me and helped me develop as a player”, added Alec Brown.
In the summer of 2014, he took part at the NBA Draft Combine and made waves hitting 18-25 three´s in standing shooting drills and was rewarded with his stellar college career by being drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round at #50. That summer he played in his first of four NBA Summer Leagues playing with the Phoenix Suns playing 5 games averaging 2.8ppg, 1.4rpg. He hurt his left shoulder in his last Summer League game and initially was going to play his rookie season in Spain, but then joined the Bakersfield Jam (D-League) playing 20 games averaging 7.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0apg, 2.0bpg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 79.3% It was a shortened season for him, but he didn´t allow the injury to effect his rookie season in a negative way. “The D-League as a rookie was tough. I was drafted and then was injured right away and missed a long time until I returned in February. Important in that down time was doing the rehab right. I knew at the end of the season that my shoulder was good again. I put in the time to get healthy again and put in the time and didn´t risk coming back to early”, stressed Alec Brown. He scored in double figures in 5 games and had two games with 5 blocks including his professional debut against the Los Angeles Defenders. In the summer of 2015, he attempted to reach the NBA again playing NBA Summer League with the Phoenix Suns averaging 2,8ppg and 2,4rpg, but missed out so his path took him to Europe for the first time as he played with Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro CAB (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 29 games averaging 6.1ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 75.0%. Playing in one of the best leagues in the world, adapting to a new culture and habits, it wasn´t an easy first season for him overseas. “It is always tough to be far away from home living on your own and then being in a foreign country. I lived in a small city where few knew English. The late dinner´s actually fit into our schedule so I liked that. My Spanish still isn´t fluid. I know basic Spanish”, added Alec Brown. He scored in double figures in 6 games and his stats were solid for averaging 15 minutes per game. In the summer of 2016, he had another go in the NBA Summer League with the Phoenix Suns averaging 2,8ppg and 2,3rpg. He split the 2016-2017 season with the Windy City Bulls (D-League) playing 50 games averaging 10.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.9bpg, 2FGP: 53.4%, 3FGP: 36.4%, FT: 81.0%, in Apr.’17 moved to Movistar Estudiantes (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 6 games averaging 14.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 68.0%, 3PT: 63.6%, FT: 68.8%. In Chicago he was teammates with Paul Zipser who would play 2 years with the Bulls. Back in 2017, Brown was very impressed with the young German´s game. “ He could have a long NBA career. I only played a couple of games with him, but from what I saw, he really knows how to read the game well. He is a very smart player and really knows how to play”, said Alec Brown. Now he will be reunited with Zipser as he will clash twice against his ex teammate in the next months in Germany when Bonn meets Munich. With the Windy City Bulls, he scored in double figures in 29 games including a 31 point explosion against Reno and 27 points against the Raptors 905.He finished the season strong in Spain again scoring in double figures in all 6 games including a 20 point game against top Euroleague team Real Madrid shooting 8/12.
In the summer of 2017 he would play his last NBA Summer League in Las Vegas this time with the Los Angeles Lakers, but played only one game. Even if his last NBA Summer League was in 2017, the NBA always still remains a big goal. “I didn´t have much opportunities last summer to showcase my abilities. I don´t plan on giving up on reaching the NBA. As long as there are opportunities to play NBA Summer league or others I will accept. There is no harm in trying for the opportunity. I don´t plan on stopping”, added Alec Brown. Brown who lists current Laker Anthony Davis as the toughest player he ever battled against in the paint at a Nike Camp took part at the 2017 Fiba America´s cup winning the Gold medal while sharing the ball with NBA players like Reggie Williams, Xavier Munford and CJ Williams and won´t forget the experience. “I would play again if I was asked. It was an amazing experience. I will never forget all the confetti coming down and everyone going crazy. I kept the jersey and medal and framed it”, warned Alec Brown. In the 2017-2018 season he returned to Movistar Estudiantes (Spain-Liga ACB) and had his best season to that point in his career playing 33 ACB games averaging 10.8ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-4(1.0bpg), FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 84.1%; and played 16 BCL games averaging 11.4ppg, 4.8rpg, Blocks-4(1.2bpg), FGP: 64.0%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 77.8%.After parts of two seasons in the ACB league in Spain, he demonstrated in his third season in Spain that he could heighten his game. A big help was being able to play in a system that fit his game whereas in his rookie season, he couldn´t play his game to his potential because the system didn´t fit his game. In the ACB league he scored in double figures in 22 games including a 22 point game against Zaragoza and 18 point games against Real Madrid, Andorra and Gran Canaria. In the Basketball Champions Legaue he scored in double figures in 11 games including a 24 point game against Greek team AEK and a 21 point game against Umana VE. He also credits his success to playing with a highly skilled point guard ex NBA player Omar Sharif-Cook. “It was great playing with Omar. I have played with many great point guards including good scoring point guards, but I have never played with a point guard that has seen the court as well as him. His IQ is amazing. Anyone would love to play with him”, added Alec Brown in 2017. Despite living in Madrid and not playing for the famous Real Madrid, he did cherish the whole experience playing for the smaller club Estudiantes. “Real Madrid is the big team in Madrid, but Estudiantes has a pretty big following as well. We will meet fans on the street and that´s kind of cool. People tend to like to cheer for the underdog. We aren´t as high profile as Real Madrid, but we believe that we can beat any team on any night”, stressed Alec Brown in 2017. Last season he had another good season in Spain playing with Cafes Candelas Breogan Lugo (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 30 games averaging 10.9ppg, 5.9rpg, Blocks-2(1.5bpg), FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 42.5%, FT: 80.5%. He scored in double figures in 20 games including 4 double doubles. After playing parts of 4 seasons in Spain, he feels like his game really developed nicely there. “I want to say that I have become more consistent. I think that I also became more basketball smart and read the flow of the game better. This all came with time”, warned Alec Brown.
Brown who has Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird,and Lebron James on his personal NBA Rushmore began this season with BC Nizhny Novgorod (Russia-VTB) playing 7 Basketball Champions League games averaging 8.9ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.3bpg, 2FGP: 48.4%, 3FGP: 50.0%; and played 6 VTB United League games averaging 7.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 2FGP: 45.5%, 3FGP: 25.0%, FT: 84.6%. “The Russia experience wasn´t a bad one. The VTB is a good league and I had good teammates. Coach and I didn´t mend well. It just wasn´t the right situation for me”, expressed Alec Brown. Now a few days after Christmas, he sought a new challenge in a new league in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. With ex NBA big man Stephan Zimmermann out, the club had to react and know exactly what they are getting with Brown. “With his size and mobility he can defend the 4-5 positions and on offense spread the floor with his good outside shooting”, stressed Telekom Baskets head coach Thomas Pach. The American is excited about playing for the first time for a German club and despite it´s sad record, he is confident for a turnaround. “I could tell after my first practice that this team has a lot of talent and is very hard working. I think that this can be a really good team. They lost a lot of close games That tells me that you have to make a few adjustments here and there at this time of the year and then it could be possible to make a run. I hope I can help”, warned Alec Brown. His role will be to score, rebound and block shots. That is what he does. His outside shooting continues to be something that he keeps working hard at to improve. He improved his outside shooting in his last two seasons in the ACB, but this season shot only 25% in the VTB league, but then again 50% in the Basketball Champions League at 50%(10/20). “I feel that shooting has always been a work in progress for me. I always had a natural touch from the mid distance. I worked very hard in school in expanding my range little by little. I have to really credit my coaching staff who had a lot of confidence in my abilities and believed in me. I eventually got the green light. That has really helped open up my career and get new opportunities”, expressed Alec Brown. Not only on the offensive end do the Telekom Baskets Bonn need steady consistency, but also on the defensive end where the club is allowing 92 points per game, he can give them a boost in the paint being a menace for opponents with his body and long arms. He was the 4th and 2nd best shot blocker in the ACB the last two seasons and he should make an impact right away in the BBL especially when he continues to study film of opposing players. “ I think knowing especially what hand a player uses best or what moves they have is important for being successful as a shot blocker. Most important is the timing and knowing when to be in the right place and knowing when you need to help off the drive”, commented Alec Brown. After playing most of his career in Spain, he has already played in Russia this season and embarks on a new adventure in Germany as he will wear the #15 and give his debut this Sunday in Ulm. After a few games under his belt in the BBL, his special unique game set should be on display so his common name will quickly become a known name in German basketball.