J’Quan Brown is a 24 year old guard that played at Emmanuel Christian High School. He never went to college, but has semi-pro basketball experience with two teams Glynn County Crusaders (2015-16) (Semi-Pro) averaging 13.3 PPG 5.3 APG 3.2 RPG 1.3 SPG and the T.R.U.E. Eagles (2016-17) (Semi-Pro) averaging 20 PPG 6.3 APG 4.4 APG 2.3 SPG. He is part of the Howard Hoops tour in Germany for the second consecutive year and spoke about his basketball career and the tour.
J Quan thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how have you been holding up the last months during COVID-19?
Thanks for having me. At the moment, I’m currently in my hometown. As far as this COVID-19 stuff, I’ve been holding up pretty well. Just trying to stay out of the way.
How has the whole COVID-19 crisis affected your life in the last 4 months? What kind of adjustments did you have to make in terms of training?
It really hasn’t affected me much. Other than the fact that I wasn’t able to see a lot of my family and friends. I actually didn’t need to make any adjustments as far as my training goes. I had full access to a gym, so I was able to get my work in with no problem, which I’m very fortunate for!
COVID-19 has affected the whole world. How do you feel have you become stronger as a man off the court during these hard times?
For me, it was understanding that I could only control what I could. I had no control over the COVID-19 and the limitations that it brought upon us, but I did have control over my reactions toward it and how I wasn’t going to allow it to control my attitude.
This is our second interview. Last summer I interviewed you as you were to play at your first Howard Hoops tour. What memories do you have of last summers Howard Hoops tour? How much of a positive experience was it for you?
A lot of memories, for sure! A lot of site-seeing and going to different places. The food was pretty amazing!! And of course, I got the chance to play the game that I love at the professional level!!
Did you make any meaningful connections and life-long friendships with the teammates that you had then?
Yes, I did, for the most part. I don’t really keep up with every teammate from last year’s team, but I’m still in contact with a few of them.
What was the coolest experience that you had at last years Howard Hoops tour that continued to be in stories that you told to people?
Coolest experience. I would say probably the fact that the McDonald’s over in Germany had chicken wings, lol! And it was real chicken! Really good too! Where I’m from, McDonald’s serving chicken wings isn’t a normal thing. I still talk about that to this day, lol!
You are going to take place at a second Howard Hoops Tour which isn’t so normal as players usually find a job then. With what kind of expectations will you be coming back to Germany in 2020?
My expectations are to contribute to the team as best I can, be a sponge, stand out, and sign my first pro contract. Simple as that.
How much hungrier are you this summer than last summer to make your mark at the Howard Hoops and to continue to grow as a player and ink that much desired contract
A lot more hungrier now. Last summer, I actually injured my hip. Developed a hip impingement which caused some nerve damage. It limited me a bit as far as my performance. But I’m healthy now and ready to get the ball rolling’!
When you talk with other players, how often are do you feel like not having played college ball really has been missing for you? Do you feel like you would be a different player today, have a different development and be somewhere totally different on the basketball ladder had you played college ball?
A part of me does feel like me not playing college ball is missing. Would I be a different player today had I played in college? Probably so. Would I be somewhere different on the hoop ladder had I played in college? Possibly, but not 100% guaranteed. I know guys who have played all 4 years in college are still struggling to sign a contract. Their first contract at that! But I don’t dwell on that. I’ve been dealt a hand of cards and that’s what I’m going to work with. No regrets, I control what I can control.
How did you experience the whole transfer period after your first Howard Hoops tour? Some teammates found playing jobs. How was it for you? Did you find a job in the last year after having a few semi-pro jobs?
So, I mentioned that I developed a hip impingement that caused nerve damage. When I returned back home, getting that checked was an absolute MUST!!! Even sitting on a plane for 8 hours bothered me. Once I found out that it was a hip impingement, I was sidelined 4 months. No running, no jumping, no basketball, no nothing for 4 whole months. Talk about a difficult time! And then the process of rehabilitation and getting the strength and mobility back in that area was a task as well. But I got through it and feel better than ever!!
Howard Hoops tour director Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.) is a basketball players best friend. He tries to help any guy who is willing to work hard to achieve their goals’. Give a good example of his selfless approach to life and how important every single player is for him form his Howard Hoops tour?
The best example would be that there have been so many guys that have played overseas and done well, just like Ron! But none of them are doing the things that Ron is doing. He’s literally taking guys and opening up avenues for them to pursue their hoop dream. Most guys could care less! And he’s not getting a dime from it! We really need more like him!!
Talk a bit about how you experienced Ronald Howard at the last Howard Hoops tour. What kind of relationship did you have with him and what was the most important piece of advice that he gave you?
I actually grew pretty close with Ron from last summer. Like I said before, other than the fact that we’re both undersized guards, we’re both HUGE Nipsey Hussle fans. He kind of found it funny that he’s from South Central and I’m from Georgia, but I knew so much about Nip. And as far as advice? Man, it’s kinda hard to pick one particular thing because he’s dished out so much… I’d say… Just be a dog! Being small, you gotta work 10x harder than the next! So you gotta have that dog in you!!
Ronald Howard is a workaholic and has done so much in the last years from starting Howard Hoops, to training players individually to helping guys get jobs with his agency. Ultimately he wants to coach. From having him as a coach last summer, how far do you feel can he go as a college coach?
I feel he can go as far as he’s willing! Ron’s a player’s coach. Meaning as a coach, he can understand things from a player’s perspective. He has so much knowledge for the game and although he no longer plays, he still has that same fire and passion, just now on the coaching and training side
What have you appreciated most from his coaching style and how did he help your game most in the short time that you were with him in the summer of 2019?
One thing I love about Ron’s coaching style is that his system is set up for everyone to thrive! My game is pretty simple. And Ron realized that even though I am a PG, I can also flourish playing off of the ball, putting me in positions to flourish and execute to the best of my ability.
How did you spend the last year off the court? Last summer you told me that you had fractured your shoulder blade and had been working at a local gym. Did anything change in the last year in terms of your off court activities and having a job?
For the most part I spent a lot of time recovering and rehabbing my hip to get it back to where it was before, and even better! That was the first time in my life where in order for me to get better physically I had to sit down, literally! For 4 whole months! I was still working at the local gym, but once I got to the point where I could move freely with no hip pain and was cleared, it was back to the Slow Grind!!
In our last interview you stated that ‘My game is pretty simple, for the most part. I don’t like my game to be labeled. Yes I can score, but I’m also a guy who loves to make plays for others and don’t need the ball in my hands to make an impact on the game. I also use my size to my advantage. Yes, I’m small, but I’m definitely strong enough to hold my own. Your also a passionate defender. How do you feel has your game grown and gotten better in the last year in the many hours of work that you put in in the lab?
I feel that my game has grown more on the mental aspect. Learning how to slow the game down and play at the pace that I want to play at, rather than allowing the defense to dictate my pace. Just simplifying my game all together
On what things are you working on currently to continue to improve as a player and achieve the type of growth that you need as a player?
Everything, literally! The things that I’m not so good at, I work on those to convert them to strengths. The things that I am pretty good at, I continue to work on those to keep them sharp, although I work on my weaknesses a bit more. I’ve played enough basketball and know my game pretty well to know the things that I need to work on at this point.
In our last interview you said that any team could use in terms of your services as a player because ‘ I bring good qualities to a club. Scoring, playmaking, energy, leadership, great work ethic, determination, and a passion that’s unmatched! And though my resume isn’t the best, I know for a fact that I can play at this level. And I’m going to prove it’. How big is your chip on your shoulder to prove that you can give more on the court than the average player
That chip is about as big as I am, I’ll tell you that much! I’m far behind the 8-ball, but I trust the work that I’ve put in and ready to put it on display!
Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? I know that he is your all-time favorite player. How did he influence you the most when you were growing up as a kid?
Man I was actually at my little sister’s softball game. My phone was ringing off the hook! When I first heard, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was some crazy joke. But then alerts hit my phone. SportsCenter, NBAtv, Bleacher Report, the news, even the NFL Pro Bowl Game stopped to announce it. When I tell you that my heart was shattered?!?!?! I cried….. I put my phone on airplane mode because I didn’t want to be bothered by anyone! Kobe influenced me primarily off of his work ethic. I heard the stories about Kobe having a 6am workout but being there 2 hours before the trainer gets there, already in a full sweat! The man literally had an entire 2 hour workout with no ball. No ball?!?! That’s insane! He was pretending he had a ball, working on different moves and counters. And just his will to win and his desire to be the best. Kobe was different man… Even to this day, it’s still weird to know that he’s no longer here. Long Live The Mamba!!!
In our last interview I asked you one of my standard end of interview questions of who is the best of all-time MJ or Lebron and you stated Kobe Bryant is my all time favorite player! But I personally believe that Lebron is the greatest to ever do it! That’s no disrespect to MJ, he was great! But Lebron is a different animal. 6’8 260lbs and is able to do what he does at the highest level. It’s ridiculous! Everyone has their opinion on it. And there are even some who don’t believe that neither of the two are the greatest. But to each it’s own! Why isn’t Kobe mentioned in this conversation more?
I think a lot of people leave Kobe out of the conversation because he pretty much mirrored his entire game after MJ. And you can only have one. But when you analyze their games. other than superior athleticism, I feel like Kobe was a more skilled basketball player than MJ. In my opinion, the most skilled player ever!! From the footwork, the fall away jumper, ball handling, pull up jumpers, Kobe was an absolute purist!! He should definitely be in the conversation! I think him, Lebron, & MJ are the 3 greatest ever!
Will you be following the NBA restart? Do you feel like we could see a surprise winner this season with all the drama that has happened with COVID-19?
Yea, I plan on following it. I’m Lakers all the way though! This will be the most difficult championship to win due to the circumstances that they’re up against with the season being on pause due to COVID-19 and not knowing whether or not it would resume and now knowing that it is they have to deal with the bubble. It’s a lot, but I’m rocking’ with the Lakers. It’s been long over due. Do it for Kobe!!!
What was the last movie that you saw?
Grown Ups 1 & 2.
Thanks J’Quan for the chat.