Chaundee Brown came into Wake Forest as a heralded top 40 recruit in the nation, and a fair share of Demon Deacons fans thought that he would be a superstar from day one given his physique and talent.
While he has started every game that he has been healthy at the small forward position, no small feat in the ACC as a freshman, averaging 7 PPG and 3.5 RPG, I think some folks may wonder why he hasn’t put up better numbers in his first campaign.
This is not at all meant to be an article that bashes Brown. I think that he is doing exactly what the staff wants him to do, and is one of the best defenders on the team, which we wrote about earlier in the year. If anything I believe that Brown should be getting more minutes per game than the 20 that he is currently averaging.
Part of this is likely the coaching staff and Danny Manning in particular developing him slowly like he has done with nearly every single freshman during his time here. I respect that the staff is playing the long game and I think Brown will ultimately benefit from it over time.
The issue with Brown offensively this season is not really so much on him in my opinion, as it is the litany of ball-handling options that we have in the backcourt. While Brown may prove to be a capable long-distance shooter throughout his career at Wake Forest. I believe that his biggest asset is the ability to slash to the basket, get into the lane, and be strong at the rim. He has shown a good ability to rebound the ball and outwork opposing players, so this should come as no surprise.
As he continues to develop and gets a bit more comfortable I think he will see his offensive workload increase, but that means being more confident to take the ball to the rim and not deferring to Childress and/or Crawford a high percentage of the time. I understand that he is a freshman looking at a sophomore and junior respectively, but he is too good to not be more aggressive and try to get to the basket.
With the news that Keyshawn Woods is out for at least the game against Boston College tomorrow, and possibly the Virginia Tech game on Wednesday night, this gives freshman Chaundee Brown a huge chance at stepping up and delivering more on the offensive side of things.
Keyshawn Woods will be out "about a week" and will definitely not be able to play at Boston College.— Les Johns (@Les_Johns) January 5, 2018
Some of these minutes will no doubt go to Crawford, Wilbekin, and Childress, but I think a good bit of the 30 MPG that Woods gets should go to Chaundee Brown.
The three that he hit late in the game against Syracuse from the corner was absolutely huge, and hopefully he can gain some confidence in his three-point shooting, which is currently at 28% through 39 attempts on the season. Not exactly time to worry there, but something to keep an eye on.
In the one game that Keyshawn Woods didn’t play this season (Quinnipiac), Brown shot 6/16 from the field for 16 points and 7 rebounds. 16 shots may seem like a lot, but for a player of the caliber of Brown I think that’s an alright number.
Looking specifically at the game against Boston College tomorrow, Brown appears to be a perfect match on defense to take on 6-5 Jerome Robinson and try to limit him. The length of Brown and lateral foot speed that, quite frankly, nobody else on the team has is the obvious best answer to Robinson’s game.
Robinson is on the floor for 85% of Boston College’s minutes so far this season and is an excellent three-point shooter (47% on the year on 73 attempts). Woods is really the only guy on the team who can match up with Robinson and I would expect the staff to get the most out of him for tomorrow.
On the offensive end Brown also causes a unique problem for the Eagles, as either Jordan Chatman or Jerome Robinson will have to defend him. I am guessing that it will fall on Chatman since Robinson will draw Crawford when he is out there.
This provides a great chance for Brown to be aggressive and get to the rim to try to get Chatman and/or Nic Popovic in foul trouble inside to get to some guys on the bench who have no played a lot this season (the Eagles use their starters more than all but 8 other D-1 teams).
Overall I think that Woods being out could be a blessing in disguise for Chaundee Brown and is an opportunity for the staff to “take the training wheels” off and let him show what he can do. This could be a great chance for Brown to excel and take the next step in his development and for the team.