Based on his grizzly bear build and sweet-natured personality, there are a few activities around Stadium High School that Lucious Brown should be the undisputed top pick for:
• Food fight: The supple 6-foot-6 senior is strong enough to hurl any 20-pound container of coleslaw airborne, and big enough to shield a whole row of unsuspecting ninth-graders from it.
• Kickball: He could surely boot a rubber ball through the gymnasium roof and out into Puget Sound.
• Stage performance: Naturally light on his feet and blessed as a smooth glider, he could dance his way into the heart of any high school musical fan.
But basketball? A 4A Narrows League player-of-the-year-type talent? The guy the Tigers need most to come through Friday night if they want to upset top-ranked Jackson High School in the regional tournament?
“Everyone is surprised at first,” Stadium boys coach Doug Cocke’ said. “You don’t think he would have that much agility, but he does, especially moving north-south. Plus, he’s got spin moves. And he’s the best passer I’ve ever coached.”
He has point guard skills packed into a power forward’s frame. (His fluctuating playing weight has been as high as 285 pounds.) There isn’t a position on the floor he hasn’t played, or won’t play – if it all means coming away with a victory.
“My dad tells me I play like (former NBA star) Larry Johnson,” Brown said. “But growing up, coaches would always said I saw the floor like Magic (Johnson).”
There are two Lucious Browns who were standouts in the South Sound.
The first one was Dad – Lucious Eugene Brown – a 6-6 power forward who was part of three Steilacoom High School state-bound teams (1985-88) before moving on
to winning a Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges champion in one season at Chemeketa (Ore.) CC, then finally finishing up college at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.
The elder Brown also played 11 years professionally overseas in Asia, Australia, Europe and South America, ending in 2003. At the tail end of his travels, his son came along.
“When they are young, you don’t know what they are going to be – a 7-footer or a 5-footer,” the elder Brown said. “So I had him handle the ball and think like a guard.
“A couple of friends who played overseas with me worked with him, and he picked up some of the little things from them. And when he got bigger, I worked with him in the post, showed him how to move his feet well and taught him a jump hook – one of the best shots to get off over guys who are bigger.”
Eventually the son – Lucious Hjahbrrie Brown – started adding tricks on his own. They even began to amaze his father, who became his AAU coach for Club Venim in Tacoma.
“Just with some of the things he was doing for a guy his size,” the elder Brown said. “I just told him, ‘Do not let anybody tell you because you are a big kid that you can’t do anything.’”
Off-court troubles forced the younger Brown to leave after his sophomore season at Todd Beamer High School. He decided to transfer to Stadium in 2012.
Last season, the Tigers advanced to the regional round, losing to Richland one stop before reaching the Tacoma Dome.
From that squad, Cocke’ lost his entire backcourt. The only two returning starters were Brown and Malik Mayeux, both seniors. The Tigers were picked in the preseason to finish as a fringe playoff contender.
“I knew with everybody gone, it was up to me, Malik and Bobby (Moorehead),” Brown said. “We needed to do everything that needed to be done.”
This has been Brown’s breakout season. Not only was he a double-double threat on a nightly basis – he averages 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds a game – but he also has been the primary ballhandler against full-court pressure in crunch time.
“Teams know our glaring weakness – ball-handling,” Cocke’ said. “What we’ve had to do is move Lucious around. Sometimes he runs the point ... or we’ll post him either inside or outside on the wing.”
Behind Brown, the Tigers won their first league title since 1991 and have returned to the same juncture as last season – the round of 16 in the 4A playoffs.
Brown knows if the team is going to advance, he has to have a big say in the outcome.
“Sometimes it gets hard (to carry a team),” Brown said. “Other times, I am like, ‘Give it to me, I’ll do whatever needs to be done.’ It means a lot to get back to a place where nobody thought we would be. But I am never satisfied until I get to Tacoma – and get that ring.”
CLASS 4A BOYS REGIONALS
No. 8 Curtis (21-5) vs. Wenatchee (15-8), 2 p.m., Big Bend Community College
Bothell (16-9) vs. No. 5 Todd Beamer (20-4), 4 p.m., Puyallup High School
South Kitsap (18-7) vs. No. 7 Gonzaga Prep (20-4), 4 p.m., Central Valley High School
CLASS 4A GIRLS REGIONALS
No. 9 Bellarmine Prep (19-5) vs. No. 2 Lynnwood (22-1), 2 p.m., Everett Community College
Kentwood (19-5) vs. No. 6 Chiawana (19-4), 2 p.m., Richland High School
No. 10 Arlington (19-4) vs. No. 7 Todd Beamer (23-2), 2 p.m., Puyallup High School
Kentridge (18-8) vs. No. 8 Moses Lake (19-4), 4 p.m., Big Bend Community College
Edmonds-Woodway (17-8) vs. No. 4 Mount Rainier (22-3), 6 p.m., Kent-Meridian High School
Puyallup (18-6) vs. No. 3 Inglemoor (20-3), 8 p.m., Bothell High School
CLASS 3A BOYS REGIONALS
No. 2 Stanwood (22-1) vs. No. 10 Foss (17-7), 4 p.m., Kent-Meridian High School
Mountlake Terrace (17-7) vs. No. 5 Wilson (21-3), 4 p.m., Mount Tahoma High School
CLASS 3A GIRLS REGIONALS
Ferndale (19-5) vs. No. 8 Wilson (18-5), 2 p.m., Mount Tahoma HS
Auburn Mountainview (18-5) vs. No. 6 Sunnyside (20-3), 6 p.m., Eisenhower High School
CLASS 2A BOYS REGIONALS
No. 6 Anacortes (18-5) vs. Fife (20-6), 2 p.m., Auburn High School
No. 9 Hockinson (18-5) vs. Foster (20-6), 2 p.m., Kent-Meridian High School
Sumner (18-8) vs. No. 3 Lynden (19-3), 8 p.m., Mount Vernon High School
River Ridge (14-10) vs. No. 7 White River (20-7), 8 p.m., Puyallup High School
CLASS 2A GIRLS REGIONALS
Bellingham (13-11) vs. No. 2 W.F. West (21-2), 2 p.m., Tumwater High School
No. 6 Black Hills (19-5) vs. No. 7 White River (21-5), 6 p.m., Puyallup High School
CLASS 1A BOYS REGIONALS
No. 9 Vashon Island (20-4) vs. No. 2 Okanogan (24-0), noon, Wenatchee High School
CLASS 1A GIRLS REGIONALS
Eatonville (16-7) vs. No. 1 Cashmere (24-0), 2 p.m., Wenatchee High School
Kalama (19-4) vs. No. 10 Cascade Christian (17-5), 4 p.m., Auburn High School
CLASS 2B BOYS REGIONALS
Tacoma Baptist (15-8) vs. Mossyrock (16-5), 6 p.m., W.F. West HS
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442