As one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017, 7-foot-1 center Zach Brown was a player on the receiving end of interest and offers from many of the top programs in the country. But now his future is in doubt, as the Miami, Florida native has run into serious legal trouble.
As first reported by CBS Miami, Brown was arrested Saturday night on charges of robbery and fraudulent use of a credit card, with the charges resulting in a bail of $25,000. In total there were two counts of robbery by sudden snatching, one count of armed robbery and one count of fraudulent use of a credit card totaling more than $100.
Brown originally committed to UConn in mid-January, and then transferred from Miami Beach HS to Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut shortly after making that decision. However his time at PSA was brief, as Brown left the school after getting into an altercation with a player following a game in mid-February. Less than three months later Brown’s pledge to UConn was no more, as the two parties went their separate ways.
J.T. Wilcox of CBS Miami touched on Brown’s childhood in his story on the center’s recent arrest:
Brown, who’s said to have converted to Judaism – the religion of his legal guardian, has had a tumultuous past. The youngest of five, Brown grew up with his biological mother in Liberty City and spent time bouncing around in various foster care programs before he began living with (legal guardian Michael) Lipman.
In what has been a tough upbringing, Saturday’s news is a sad turn in the life of Zach Brown.
Back in mid-January UConn made waves on the recruiting trail by securing a verbal commitment from 7-foot-1 center Zach Brown, a player seen by many as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017. That partnership came to an end Thursday, as the two parties decided to part ways. News of the mutual decision was first reported by Scout.com.
The Miami native is currently ranked 28th in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, and Thursday’s news opens up a spot in the front court that UConn head coach Kevin Ollie and his staff will now have to fill. Amida Brimah, who’s currently going through the NBA pre-Draft process, will be a senior next season should he return to Storrs as will Kentan Facey.
Among the interior options who will have eligibility remaining beyond next season for the Huskies are sophomore Steven Enoch and incoming freshmen Mamadou Diarra and Juwan Durham.
UConn was in the running for 2016 power forward Taurean Thompson, but multiple outlets have the Brewster Academy product considering Michigan State (which added UNLV grad transfer Ben Carter Wednesday), Seton Hall and Syracuse at this point in his recruitment.
All-Americans Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker combined for just 17 points on 7-for-19 shooting on Saturday afternoon. Connor Frankamp, the Kansas transfer eligible for his second game, finally hit his first shot as a Shocker … with less than a minute left in the game. Anton Grady and Landry Shamet did not play.
And Wichita State still smacked around No. 25 Utah in the Koch Center, winning 67-50 in a game that the Shockers controlled basically from the tip.
They’re back, guys.
Zach Brown and Markus McDuffie led the way for the Shockers. Brown finished with 14 points while McDuffie added 13, hitting 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Perhaps more promising is that, for the second straight game, the Shockers held a likely NCAA tournament team to just 50 points in 40 minutes. On Saturday, their game-plan was pretty simple: pressure Utah’s guards in the half court, make it difficult for them to run offense and double Jakob Poeltl on the catch, forcing someone else to beat them.
Poeltl finished with just five field goal attempts and six free throws. Utah committed 19 turnovers. Not a bad effort.
The Shockers entered the season as a preseason top 15 team, but a hamstring injury to VanVleet was a major reason that they lost four of their first six games. There had been concern that this group had managed to play their way out of at-large contention in the first three weeks of the season, but those doubts have been assuaged. With their point guard back in the lineup, the Shockers landed wins over UNLV and Utah in Wichita this week, and while that certainly does not lock anything up, it does show us just how good this team can be when they’re at full strength.
For Utah, a team that looked like they might be the best in the Pac-12 prior to Saturday, this loss is really concerning. They’ve now played two top 25 caliber teams this season — Wichita State and Miami — and been beaten fairly easily in both games. Jakob Poeltl is a beast, one of the nation’s most improved players, but there’s only so much he can do if he can get the ball in the post or a play run for him.
We knew losing Delon Wright was going to hurt this group.
We saw just how much is hurt today.