Centennial girls basketball star Jada Brown probably could have waited and garnered several more scholarship offers to play college basketball next year.
But the junior forward found what she considered a perfect fit in Kansas, and felt no reason to wait.
“It was my No. 1 school, my No. 1 pick. The opportunity came, so I took it,” Brown said.
Brown, a versatile 6-foot forward, made an oral commitment to Kansas on Friday, choosing the Jayhawks over scholarship offers from UNLV, Navy and Pepperdine. Colorado, Georgetown, Oregon State and St. John’s also showed interest.
“You get your education and get to play college ball. That’s basically what you aim for with these kids,” Centennial coach Karen Weitz said. “Like with any of our kids, when you get that news, that to me is the most exciting.”
Brown said playing for a resurgent program in the Big 12 Conference made the decision easy.
“It’s one of the top conferences in the country, and the opportunity to compete with the best night in and night out,” Brown said. “I was most comfortable with their coaches.”
Brown’s commitment to Kansas comes after the Jayhawks (21-13) advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1998, eventually losing 84-73 to Tennessee.
Brown was named Gatorade Nevada Player of the Year this season after averaging 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds to lead Centennial (29-3) to the Sunset Region title.
The Jayhawks recruited Brown to play on the wing, but she said she could potentially play power forward in spots.
“I’m a hard worker at anything,” Brown said. “I have good character on and off the court. I’d like to become a better shooter and ball handler coming up.”
Weitz said Brown’s all-around talents and ability to defend bigger post players should help her transition to the college game.
“They like her fundamental skills. They’re not scared to play undersized posts within their system, which is important,” Weitz said. “They like her athleticism and the multiple things she can do.
“With Jada, she’s one of my best all-around players, not just physically, but mentally. She’s one of those kids who’s very coachable. You tell her something one time and she picks up on it.”
Brown emphasized how appreciative she was of Weitz and other coaches and teachers over the years.
And the best might be yet to come in Brown’s high school career.
“Having her back for another year is a good feeling,” Weitz said.