Brown, a one-time UW recruit who will play at Northwestern, became the Metro League’s career leading scorer Tuesday. His 2,280 points passed Michael Johnson, the former Ballard and UW player, from 1997.
The most amazing thing about watching Lakeside guard Isiah Brown isn’t the way he makes shots. That’s expected. Normal even.
What’s amazing is the way he misses them. The ball clings to the rim, hangs there, then gently bounces out. So often, his misses on even the toughest shots come so close to being makes.
“Seeing him play for four years, it just becomes normal, which is pretty amazing considering how exceptional he is,” said Shea Robinson, Lakeside’s coach. “That’s really how far he has taken his game.”
Brown, a one-time UW recruit who will play at Northwestern, has taken his game to the top of the prestigious Metro League’s record book: He became the Metro League’s career leading scorer in a 62-41 win Tuesday against Ingraham.
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He needed only 21 points to break the record and finished with 29, including banking in a half-court shot at halftime, giving him 2,280 points for his career.
Michael Johnson, the former Ballard and UW player, set the previous record of 2,271 points in 1997.
With 33 seconds left, Lakeside called a timeout to honor Brown. He received a standing ovation from the crowd and Ingraham’s players but he stayed in the middle of his teammates in the huddle, almost like he was ducking the attention.
“There’s been an incredible amount of great players to play in this league, a lot of guys I’ve been fortunate enough to be pretty close with,” Brown said. “It’s an honor, man. I’m very grateful to be able to share it with my teammates and my family. I was glad to have the moments with my guys.”
Brown, 6 feet 2, spent all four years on Lakeside’s varsity. As a freshman, he helped Lakeside reach the state championship game and started receiving interest from Division I programs, including the UW.
Over time, he only got better, stronger, more refined. He rarely comes out of games anymore. He averaged 34.5 points and 6.5 rebounds heading into Tuesday and had the green light — and ability — to pull the trigger from anywhere. He scored 52 points at a tournament in Phoenix and had 50 against a very talented Garfield team.
Just last week, O’Dea coach Jason Kerr was talking about former Tacoma superstar and NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas, a wrecking ball of a player, when he thought of Brown.
Said Kerr, “It’s rare when you can be out there on the floor — and I would imagine there are some guys who have felt this in the last two years with Isiah Brown — that you can look at your kids and know they’re doing everything correctly, it’s the correct game plan, there’s not anything you can do defensively to the guy but throw him to the floor — and yet it’s still unstoppable. … I feel like I’m looking at a reincarnated version of that.”
Brown then dropped 46 in a loss at O’Dea last Friday.
Brown is quick and excels at changing pace. He can evaluate defenses on the fly and usually makes the right decision. Robinson said officials tell him they have a hard time knowing when Brown is receiving or initiating contact because he generates so much of it. He gets to the free-throw line 12 times per game and makes 85 percent of his attempts.
“One of the things that sets him apart is his pull-up jumper,” Robinson said. “In high school, it’s often either threes or going to the hole. When you have the body control to stop and pull up, and for him it’s a go-to move when guys are backing off, then you become three dimensional.”
Brown, a three-star recruit according to Scout.com, surprised some people when he decided to play at Northwestern instead of Washington, but he said he felt comfortable when he visited the school.
But Tuesday night wasn’t about the future as much as it was about the past. In the last few weeks, Brown has heard from past Metro League greats, including Johnson and Jamal Crawford. Of all the great players to come through the league — Crawford, Nate Robinson, Michael Johnson, Jawann Oldham, Doug Christie — Brown scored more points than any of them.
“I might call them and gloat a little bit,” Brown joked. “Probably the only thing I get to gloat about. It’s an amazing feeling.”