BIRMINGHAM – Justin Brown, a Birmingham native and Spain Park High School graduate, returns home after playing the last three seasons at USF. The 6-6 guard/forward is coming off a 2020-21 year where he averaged 8.1 points per game and led the Bulls with 37 3-pointers.
For his career, he ranks fourth all-time in USF history with 192 3-pointers made and his 123 games played is third all-time. Brown recorded 39 double figure games and has 951 career points.
UABSports.com sat down with Brown to discuss his return to The Magic City and what he plans to bring to the Blazers.
What influenced your decision to come back home to the Magic City?
There were a lot of factors that played into it. But the biggest influence would be the combination of the great coaches they have, especially Coach Kennedy. I like what he had to say and the plans he had for me going into this season. I’m really excited to play for him.
Our team is going to be really experienced. I wanted to go to a school with a winning culture and be a part of a program that wants to win. Everyone is on the same page and everyone is playing to win, not for individual stats. At the end of the day, Coach Kennedy is going to hold every player accountable on the team and hold everyone to a certain standard.
We have a lot of high major experience guys transferring in that have played against good competition. Playing at UAB, that experience can only aid us when the season comes. With the graduate transfers, seniors and juniors, we are going to have a very experienced team that will only raise the results from last year.
How did you feel when the NCAA announced that you have an extra year of eligibility?
When I found out about it, I was still concentrating on finishing strong at USF. I wasn’t really thinking much about if I was going to use that extra year or not. When last season was coming to close, I felt that I had some unfinished business to take care of. When I entered the transfer portal, I was still looking at professional options at the time. But ultimately, I felt it was in my best interest to use that grad year. Once the season ended it became a big possibility for me, especially when I heard about the opportunities that presented themselves at UAB.
What style of play will you bring to the Blazers this season?
I play very hard on defense. I hustle a lot, I dive for loose balls, I try and take charges and rotate on defense. I’m really glad that Coach Kennedy is a big defense guy because when a team is locked in and connected on defense, then the offense feeds off of that. That’s a big factor for us going into this year.
Individually, what I bring to the table for this team is my shooting ability. I’m a good spot-up shooter and rebounder for my position. But I want to improve on my play making ability. I had flashes of that last year, but being the main 3-point shooter at USF, I wasn’t always able to do that.
Now being at UAB, we have a lot of good shooters. I feel that with a team like this everyone can contribute in their own way. I want to be an all-around player on both ends of the court and not just a one-dimensional player. I’m expecting to bring all aspects of the game to this team, whether it’s being a leader on the court or off the court, diving for loose balls, making a shot, getting a rebound or drawing a charge. Whatever I need to do, I’ll do. I’ll bring that mindset into next season and hopefully everybody has that mindset. I’m going to really tune in on that once we all get together on campus. We all have to be on that same page when the season starts, and I feel like we will get there.
Describe Coach Kennedy in three words.
Determined: I can you tell you that he is a determined coach and he wants to win. At the end of the day, he wants to be a winner and take us to the tournament.
Genuine: He is a very genuine guy from the talks we had. He, along with the coaching staff, wants me to be successful and believes in me.
Connected: He is connected with his players. In our conversations, he’s been very personable. He understands the same struggles that I have had being a college basketball player. He can help me in that aspect.
How does it feel to be reunited with high school teammate Jamal Johnson?
It’s going to be great. We had a little run there in high school. We’ve been best friends for about six or seven years now. The opportunity that presented itself was amazing. It was a coincidence that we both were able to come back to Birmingham. When it all came to fruition, it was great. We’ve both gotten better as basketball players. Not only have we gotten bigger and stronger, we’ve gotten smarter as players since we were in high school. I can only see it going up from here.
What’s something you want to say to Blazer Nation?
Blazer Nation, stay tuned for a very big year. We have a lot of new faces on this team, but we’re going to bring it. We’re going to give it all we have regardless of who is on the court. We’re going to bring tenacity. We’re going to bring toughness. We’re going to have many leaders on the court. Lock in with us, it’s going to be a fun year.
MEN’S BASKETBALL TICKET INFORMATION
Men’s basketball season tickets for the 2021-22 season are on sale now. Current basketball season ticket holders can click here to renew their original 2020-21 seat locations prior to social distancing adjustments. Click here to purchase new 2021-22 season which start as low as $100 with the Blaze’s Corner season ticket.
Fans interested in season tickets can fill out the season ticket request form or contact the UAB Ticket Office at (205) 975-UAB1 to receive additional information.
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