Judging by features that emanate youth and inexperience and a name that is shared by a famous cartoon character, you might think that Brown is somewhat of a pushover. This reasoning is strengthened when you see Saint Joseph’s disappointing regular season record of 11-19.
But freshman Charlie Brown has shined brightly with his play on the court and has put up impressive numbers through 27 starts. In 21 years of coaching, coach Phil Martelli is known to start freshmen who end up being a star. Charlie Brown joins an elite group of players including DeAndre Bembry, Langston Galloway and Jameer Nelson. These players -- as freshman -- started on a regular basis and averaged more than 10 points per game. Brown could undoubtedly be the next great Saint Joseph’s basketball player. Before we get into his numbers on the court, it is important to have some background information about him and his success at the high school level.
The 6-foot-6, 185-pound small forward, attended George Washington High School in Philadelphia for four years. While there, he was awarded the Public League B Division MVP but decided to take a prep year and attend Saint Thomas More School, an all boys catholic boarding school in Montville, Connecticut. It hails students from many different states and even has a large number of international students. The school has a rich athletic history and has sent many athletes from their basketball team to Division 1 schools around the country. The school also happens to be the alma mater of Detroit Pistons’ center and 2016 NBA All-Star Andre Drummond as well as George Washington’s Yuta Watanabe and former NBA player Quincy Douby.
In St. Thomas More’s 2015-16 season, Brown helped bring his team to the National Prep Championship game with an average of 16.4 points per game. His scoring prowess, however, wasn’t just limited to high school.
This season, Brown seized the opening at the small forward position with the departures of Aaron Brown and DeAndre Bembry. Among active St. Joe’s players, Brown is second on the team in points per game with an impressive 12.8 points. He also leads the team in free throw percentage (.819) and minutes (among active players) with an average of 34 minutes per game. On the entire team, Brown ranks second in both three-point-percentage (.382) and steals with 24. But how do these numbers stack up against Atlantic 10 conference opponents?
Brown places 21st in the conference in points per game and was the only freshman in the conference’s top 30 list. On the 15 best free throw percentages, he placed 14th in front of the La Salle Explorers’ sharp shooting senior, Jordan Price. On the list of the 15 best three-point-percentages, the Philadelphia native placed 15th, but tied for 4th place for most three pointers made. Finally, Brown placed 9th in most minutes played and was yet again the only freshman on the list of players who played the most minutes.
In addition, he’s shown a lot of maturity lately by stepping up his game after the leading scorer, (up to the point of his injury) Shavar Newkirk, tore his ACL and was sidelined for the year. From December 30th on, Brown had just one game where he didn’t have double digits in points. He also averaged an incredibly low 1 turnover per game. As the old adage says, numbers don’t lie. But there is certainly more to basketball than numbers.
Hawks coach Phil Martelli realized very early in the scouting process that Charlie Brown was a prime time scorer. During media day, he explained:
“That Charlie Brown kid can really really really really score. He’s a guy on this team that can make a correction when you’re coaching him. His eyes get real wide and I think he feels like he’s let us down or that he let me down and his feelings can get hurt. But he can really shoot the ball. He can score. And that’s one of the major areas of concern because we haven’t really scored the ball easily.”
This season hasn’t exactly been a dream for the Saint Joseph’s Hawks. After last year’s NCAA tournament berth and conference championship, an 11-19 record and injuries to arguably the best three players on the team, isn’t exactly what coach Phil Martelli and the St. Joe’s program expected. But for Charlie Brown, this season served as an opportunity to get his feet wet and to experience personal success. Brown has shown that he can pull his weight just as well as guys like Shavar Newkirk, Lamarr Kimble, and James Demery can. He can compete well against the rest of the Atlantic 10 conference. There are high expectations for Charlie Brown for seasons to come, but this year he has proved that he has what it takes to reach above and beyond what people think he can do.
Photo: Sideline Photos, LLC
-LaMarr "Fresh" Kimble ruled out for the season with injury to his left foot.