David Brown Jr. can never step on a high school basketball court anonymously again.
Not after the St. Mary’s sophomore scored 32 points, dished out eight assists, and collected six rebounds in an 87-70 victory over Bishop Fenwick on New Year’s Day in Peabody.
With those eight assists, that adds up to 48 points total that the dynamic 5-foot-9-inch point guard and son of head coach David Brown Sr. and Helen Brown directly contributed in what was a battle of unbeatens between the two CCL rivals. David Brown Sr. was a prolific scorer and point guard at St. Mary’s (1,267) and Westfield State College (1,035) and is a Hall of Fame inductee at both schools. Brown was a four-year starter for Coach Frank Valeri’s Spartans, leading his team to the North Sectional finals as a junior.
A Breakout Performance
David Jr. was highly efficient in eclipsing the momentous 30-point mark versus Fenwick. He took only 15 shots, hitting 4 three-pointers and 7 two-pointers in the game. He was 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
The humble hoopster wasn’t aware that his points were piling up in the scorebook.
“I was surprised because I really don’t look to score that much,” said Brown. “I usually look to get my teammates open and find a way to win. At one point when I was at the free throw line [teammate] Ali Barry was joking around to me and he said, “How many points do you have – like 40?’’’
David Brown Sr., who had some of 30-point plus efforts of his own during his basketball career, was also surprised by the huge scoring stat in the scorebook.
“He was very efficient,” said the coach. “He let the game come to him and he took his open shots when he had them. It was a quiet “32” if you ask me.”
David Brown Jr. has some very capable partners in the St. Mary’s backcourt. Sammy Battista and Ali Barry give the Spartans a “triple-threat” in the dribble-drive-dish, perimeter-oriented offense.
The Spartans were on the doorstep of a state title a year ago, dropping a tough 55-52 decision to Jeremiah Burke in the state semifinals at the TD Garden.
An Elementary School Basketball Champion
Is David Brown a true overnight sensation? Not really, because longtime observers have noticed his special talents on the court as far back as the Lynn Elementary School Basketball Tournament when he led his Sewell Anderson team to the championship as a fourth grader.
The very next year David Jr. had to make what was his first big basketball-related decision. As a fifth grader in 2016, David’s team was again playing for the Elementary School championship. But his father’s St. Mary’s team was playing on the same day for the state title in Springfield. David Jr. chose the St. Mary’s state championship game.
“I sort of think about that decision sometimes,” said David Jr., who, like his father, brings an ultra-competitiveness to the court.
“David decided to come and be with our team that he had supported all year,” recalled David Sr. “He had been around that team for so many years, so it was a tough decision for him.”
David Jr. traveled with his mother, Helen, and his grandfather, the legendary “Pistol” Pete Pedro, to Springfield College and Coach David Brown Sr. and the Spartans won the state championship.
Practice Produces Results
David Brown’s year-to-year improvement on the journey from Sewall Anderson to St. Mary’s has been steady and dramatic. It’s taken a lot of practice and a lot of personal instruction and encouragement from his father.
“I’ve put in a lot of time into practice,” said David Jr. “I’m grateful that my father always brings me down the gym and helps me improve as a player. Last year I didn’t really shoot the ball really well at all. We just kept shooting the ball day after day and my shot has gotten a lot of better since last year.”
There has never been a doubt about his ballhandling wizardry. He can “Kyrie” with the best guards in the area.
“I would say that’s the best aspect of his game,” said David Sr. “It’s gratifying as a dad as well as a coach to watch a kid progress as a basketball player. He’s been a dominant playmaker, ballhandler, and facilitator for most of his basketball career but the other coaches and I talked about David looking to score more points. I’m hoping he stays aggressive but at the same time we look to him to make the correct decisions whether he’s passing the ball to an open teammates ot taking his own shot.”
The Road Ahead
St. Mary’s has some tough games ahead with newcomers Bishop Feehan (Attleboro) and Bishop Stang (Dartmouth) on the court.
“Bishop Stang has a 7-foot center,” said David Jr. Stang also has the reigning New Bedford Stanard-Times Player of the Year in 6-foot-2-inch senior Declan Markey, who is averaged 25 points a game last year. Interestingly, Stang also shares the same school nickname, the Spartans, with St. Mary’s.
The Hall of Fame Family Legacy
David Brown Jr., who is also a very good football player, has some big shoes to fill in the family.
“He has a wall in his bedroom and I told him he has to get his name up on that wall,” said David Sr. “On his wall he has his great-grandfather, Tom Brown, Lynn Classical Hall of Famer, his grandfather, Peter Pedro, Lynn Tech and State of Texas Hall of Fame for college football, and me, St. Mary’s and Westfield Hall of Fame. So I told him he needs to put himself up on that wall someday.”
Meanwhile, David Brown Jr. is carrying in his day-to-day life as a St. Mary’s High School student. He turned 16 on Dec. 22 and has received his learner’s permit.
May he drive on the streets and highways as expertly as he drives to the basket.