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Bear Insider Video: Cal Frosh Combo Guard Rodney Brown

August 22, 2023
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6-6/180 4 star freshman combo guard Rodney Brown‍ brings some additional perimeter presence to the program, averaging as high as 42% from behind the arc along with 20 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game in leading his program to a CIF championship and to the state playoffs as a senior. HIs AAU coach Ryan Silver calls Brown one of the best perimeter shooters in the country, with NBA potential.

Reports from summer workouts have been positively glowing on the new frosh guard and he seems to be working his way into the early rotation by the looks of things.

"It's been great," said Brown of his transition to Cal. "Honestly, just trying to focus on getting better. I know I'm a freshman here, just learning new things every day. But the transition has been great."

Brown has the benefit of coming in with friend and fellow West Coast Elite AAU teammate Devin Curtis, which has made both players’ transitions to Cal more comfortable.

"It's been great, honestly," Brown said. "I know a lot of people, they come in with freshmen that they don't know. So for us, we already had a bond coming in. We have chemistry so that's just a bonus for us."

In high school, with his quick hands and 6’9” wingspan, Brown was able to effectively guard the 1-4, making him a versatile tool on the defensive end and adding value to having him on the court.

"For sure, I know that me coming as a freshman, I have to play defense to get on the court," Brown said. "So it's definitely something I take pride in."

Having played both on and off the ball as a 1 and 2 has expanded Brown’s game, helping him to be comfortable in either position and better understand what he’s seeing on defense and how to attack it.

"I think it has definitely made my game better," said Brown. "Because I'm not always going to have the ball in my hands. I'm not always going to not have the ball in my hands. So being able to play both is good for me. Being able to play off the ball or on the ball has been great for my game."

Brown originally committed to Cal under the prior coaching staff but gladly reaffirmed his commitment after getting to know new head coach Mark Madsen and his staff.

"It's been great," Brown said. "Coach Madsen is someone that you all want to play for. He played in the league, coached in the league. So that has been great. I felt like it was just a great situation for me to be here so that's what made me recommit."

Like his teammates, Brown finds his new head coach’s passion for the game and enthusiasm contagious and already sees it paying dividends for him and the team.

"That's great," Brown said. "I think you need that sometimes. He's always pushing me and everyone's always pushing each other. So that's great for not just me, but the whole team."

One of the challenges that Madsen and his staff are facing with a team constructed through a nearly equal number or portal and grad transfers, prep recruits and returning players is to somehow get everyone to gel both on and off the court.

"Honestly, I don't think that's not a problem for us," Brown said. "I mean, we're together obviously on the court, awesome together off the court. So I think it helps us build chemistry. So yeah, that's that's been easy for us."

After Brown committed to Cal, his head coach had this to say about his former star:

“Rodney comes from a great family, who are really supportive of his pursuits,” said Rancho Christian head coach Ray Barefield. “What Cal’s getting is a smart kid obviously who’s able to get into a school like Cal, who takes care of business on and off the floor.

“He’s got a great work ethic and is really dedicated to always continuing to get better. He’s very skilled. He’s a combo guard. Some people see him as a 2 but I’ll be playing him at the point all season, playing on and off the ball but primarily on ball, facilitating scoring, playmaking and having to make players better around him.

“On defense, he guards 1-3 and with his 6’10 wing span, he’s pretty versatile. He plays long. This year he’ll be asked to do a lot more, from 1-4. Usually, on the perimeter, he usually covers the opponent’s best wing or shooting guard on defense.

“They got a good versatile guy who can do a lot on offense and gets in passing lanes, deflects things, gets a lot of steals. He’s a Top 100 guy now, he’s still kind of a sleeper but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up Top 40 or 50 when it’s all said and done.

“He wants to go there and produce and get Cal to the upper half of the conference and get back to the tournament.”

Fans may not have expected Brown to be in the mix early in his collegiate career despite his 4 star rating but his early success in practice didn't take the confident player by surprise.

"I would say I expected it," Brown said. "You know, you put the work in so it's something I expected for sure. I've been working for this. The work never lies. Also, my guys, they always push me every day. So that's been they've been helping me, as well."

As to what he’s looking forward to this season, the Bears’ new frosh combo guard was clear:

"Winning," Brown said matter of factly. "Just ready to compete and win."

Related:

Bear Insider Podcast: Rancho Christian Combo Guard Rodney Brown

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Bear Insider Video: Cal Frosh Combo Guard Rodney Brown

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