By John Askounis/ email@example.com
From Bulgaria and FIBA Europe Cup to the Basketball Champions League and the playoffs. Brandon Brown’s 2019-20 run with Nizhny Novgorod is more than impressive paired with a massive upgrade in his all-around contribution. Filling his stats with points and assists played a large role for the Russian outlet to land third place in Group C.
The comeback victory at Latvia versus VEF Riga got Zoran Lukic’s team to 9-5. The hosts wanted to finish their Champions League campaign pleasing their fans, but Brown and his teammates overcame a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter for the “W”.
“Going into a game like that we’re we knew we were a lock for playoffs, we could have easily been complacent but as a team, we’ve tried to try and take little steps forward all year and build,” he told Eurohoops following the game, “Occasionally you have issues and take a step back but it was important for us to finish the season strong, control our own fate and lock in the third position and not worry about the Peristeri versus Nymburk game.”
Marching into the playoffs
The 31-year-old American point guard posted his third double-double of the season with 24 points and 11 dimes to his name. Made 8/13 from the field including 3/5 beyond the arc, also grabbed five rebounds en route for the game-high 33 efficiency rating.
“We came to Latvia with our goal of finishing the Regular Season on a high note and trying to give ourselves the best position for the draw,” he mentioned. Third place in Group C brings Turk Telekom, Dinamo Sassari, AEK, San Pablo Burgos and JDA Dijon as potential Round of 16 opponents. Nizhny Novgorod will have a challenge on its hands, especially considering its next foe will enter the best-of-three series sporting the home-court advantage.
“I think at this point in the competition, without home-court advantage, it’s gonna be a battle no matter who you get matched up with,” Brown pointed out ahead of the draw set to take place on February 18th, “All five teams are very talented and have great fans. So we look forward to the draw, we will prepare our best and try to put our best foot forward against whoever it is.”
“It’s been a bit of a crazy ride”
The Western Montana alumni played professionally in the Australian second division and Brazil. Made his way to Europe with a lengthy run in Poland, before debuting in European club competitions. Averaged 15.1 points, 5.9 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per FIBA Europe Cup appearance helping Balkan BC make it to the Round of 16.
“It’s been a bit of a crazy ride but I’ve always just tried to live in the moment, be a sponge and welcome opportunities to learn and grow. By no means do I have it all figured out,” he replied to a question on his path to the Basketball Champions League, “I’ve always just put everything into the game and it feels like it has a way of keeping you honest.”
His decision-making abilities as an experienced floor general generated the Champions League jump he is making the most of from the qualifying round to the playoffs. Averaged 13.2 points in the two-game series opposite to Legia Warszawa, went on from there packing 13.9 points, 6.4 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest throughout the Regular Season.
“I’ve really enjoyed the opportunities this year in BCL and challenging myself,” he added moving on to his current campaign, “There are some really great players in this competition. Having the opportunity to compete night in and night out is a challenge but fun. I try to constantly raise the bar and push myself to see what more I can do, and what else I can get out of it.”
Few expected such an impact from Brown in his debut BCL season, but that’s not it. Over 15 VTB United League outings has displayed 13.1 points, 5.9 dimes, 2.2 boards and 1.3 steals per game. Nizhny Novgorod is currently eighth in the standings looking into another playoffs run.
“That goes without saying, I’ve been really blessed to play alongside some great teammates that are definitely a reason for some of my successes,” he underlined in conclusion, “Moving forward you can expect me to show up and try and lead my team the best I can!”
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League