Terrell Brown Jr. had a few intriguing options once he decided he was going to leave the Arizona men’s basketball team and play again next season as a graduate transfer.
The Seattle product who played on two state championships teams as a sophomore and junior at Garfield High in 2014 and 2015 contemplated returning to Seattle University where he scored 1,064 points during two seasons.
“I talked a lot with (assistant Sam) Kirby and coach (Jim) Hayford that I could be the piece that gets us to the WAC championship and NCAA tournament,” said Brown, who led the Western Athletic Conference with a 20.7 scoring average during the 2019-20 season with the Redhawks. “They’ve got some good players like Darrion (Tramell), Riley (Grigsby) and Aaron (Nettles). I’m familiar with the coaching staff, the players and the team so I gave that a lot of thought.”
Brown also considered playing at Pepperdine, due in large part to his relationship with coach Lorenzo Romar, who spent 15 years at Washington.
But after consultation with his inner circle of family members and former coaches, Brown chose the Huskies.
“Seattle is where my heart is,” Brown said. “I can’t think of a better ending to this story than playing at UDub and putting on for my home team.”
It will be the fifth season for the 6-foot-1 point guard who is taking advantage of the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility to 2020-21 student-athletes.
“The word I would use is fortunate,” Brown said when asked to describe a well-traveled basketball journey that began at Shoreline Community College before a two-year tenure at Seattle U and a one-year stop at Arizona. “Everything came full circle.”
Timing played a role in his delayed homecoming.
Brown could have joined UW last year, but opted for Arizona where he was a reserve in 16 of 26 games while averaging 7.3 points, 3.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 25.7 minutes.
Last season, the Huskies had a log jam at point guard, which included Quade Green, Marcus Tsohonis and Nate Pryor.
Following a historically inept 5-21 season and the loss of six players to the transfer portal over the past two weeks, Washington desperately needs to replenish a depleted roster that currently includes just four players who played last season.
Green, a senior, isn’t expected to return while Tsohonis and Pryor are in the NCAA transfer portal.
“Last year, I was a little hesitant because of the situation here,” Brown said. “But this year it came full circle and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
“Probably the most important thing for me was the fit. I wanted to find somewhere where I can win games and hopefully get to the tournament next year. And also have that situation where the ball is always in my hands so I can make plays for my teammates and not be off the ball as much as I was last season.”
Brown didn’t have the impact he had hoped during his one season at Arizona, which finished 17-9 and was fifth in the Pac-12. However, he improved his ball-handling skills and three-point efficiency.
Last season, Brown averaged just 0.9 turnovers, which was a dramatic decrease from his 2.5 turnovers a game at Seattle U. He also shot a career-best 36.8% from three-point range.
“I’ve played a lot of games,” said Brown, who has appeared in 88 games the past three seasons. “The game is slowing down for me to see plays ahead of time and before they happen.”
The 22-year-old Brown, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and is pursuing a graduate degree in educational leadership, understands he’s joining a team in turmoil that currently returns just two starters in Jamal Bey and Nate Roberts.
“My goal is to win games and we’re looking to turn it around,” Brown said. “I know Jamal is a baller and we have some freshmen (forwards Jackson Grant and Samuel Ariyibi) coming in that are really good.
“My expectations are to compete. That’s the biggest thing. Just lead these young guys. Being a vet and playing in the Pac-12 already, you figure out ways to beat these teams. I want to become a better leader and just show everybody that we’re a school that maybe had a down year last year, but we can get back to competing for championships real quick.”
The Huskies have five scholarships available and are reportedly pursuing a handful of transfers with local ties, including Cincinnati freshman forward Tari Eason and West Virginia junior wing Emmitt Matthews Jr. Eason played at Garfield and Matthews starred at Tacoma’s Wilson High.
MarJon Beauchamp, a five-star recruit who played at Nathan Hale, Garfield and Rainier Beach before training to turn pro, is being linked to the Huskies.
“I’ve been recruiting my butt off recently,” Brown said chuckling. “There’s a couple dudes I’ve really been talking to. I can’t give any names right now, but hopefully we can get them to the UW.”
When asked about starting in a potential lineup that includes Beauchamp, Matthews, Bey and Eason with Roberts, Grant, Ariyibi and Cole Bajema as backups, Brown laughed again.
“If we can keep what we have right now and add a little more Seattle to it, then that would be great,” he said. “But seriously, I’ve got a lot of trust in the coaches that they’ll bring in who we need.”