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Wisconsin basketball recruiting: UW offers 2024 big man James Brown out of Chicago

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The 5-star St. Rita High School product is a promising prospect in the 2024 class.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any major college athletics team, but following it closely as a fan can sometimes be difficult and can often be time consuming. We’ll try and condense all the recruiting news you can use into this bi-weekly (sometimes more) post. It’ll include updates on current commits, including stats from their high school games, as well as news on players the Badgers are still pursuing. Let’s get down to business!

New offer

I’ve seen Brown listed as anywhere between 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-10, so let’s split the difference and say he is 6-foot-9. He is slender, as he only weighs 210 pounds, but there is clearly room for him to add good weight once he gets to college. The 247 Composite has him ranked as the No. 26 player in the country, the No. 5 center in the country and the No. 1 player in the state of Illinois.

Brown plays his AAU ball for Meanstreets in Chicago, a program that has produced NBA players like Derrick Rose and Eric Gordon and also had former Badger Michael Ballard. His high school, St. Rita, just won the Illinois 4A regional championship over Morgan Park, led by 2024 teammate high 4-star Morez Johnson, who is committed to the Illini already.

According to MaxPreps, Brown is shooting a preposterous 71% (139-of-197) from the floor on the season while averaging 12.1 points per game, 10.5 rpg, 1.3 apg and 0.8 bpg. As always, the veracity of high school stats is tough to find, but St. Rita is a big enough school, in a big enough city, where I’d put more weight into their stats than most other places.

Highlights of Brown were hard to find. The first video is not all highlights of him (he’s No. 23 on the white team) and the second video is from Nov. 2019 which, uh, is a while ago. There were still a couple of things I was able to glean from these videos, however. First, Brown has a nice, soft jumper that looks repeatable and he is confident in. It doesn’t appear that he has extended his range out to the three-point line yet, but that potential is there.

Second, he has decent handles for a guy his size. He definitely needs to tighten up his dribbling, but he could have some ability as a tertiary ball handler. He also looks like his passing instincts are good, especially in the post. One thing he needs to work on is his strength. He tries to body people in the post and even against guys that are his size, or maybe a little smaller, he was getting his shot blocked too often.

Brown is only a sophomore so he obviously has a lot of room for growth. He is the sixth offer the Badgers have sent out in the ‘24 class, and the second center. He is an enticing prospect for the Badgers and, personally, I like any big guy that wears rec specs on the court. I think Wisconsin has had good luck with tall, lanky, rec spec’d dudes from Illinois in the past.