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Meet Charlie Brown Jr., the unexpected Summer League standout

Some exciting stuff from the Philadelphia native

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers-Media Day Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The last few years, the Knicks were able to put together Summer League rosters that gave fans some reasons to get really excited. With a nice combination of potential role players, highly touted prospects and returning players expected to showcase their improvement, Summer League had become surprisingly entertaining.

In 2019, the team consisted of Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Allonzo Trier, while the recently drafted RJ Barrett headlined the squad. Two years later in 2021, we got to see a very strong group team made up of Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, Jericho Sims and Deuce McBride. And just 12 months ago, despite the Summer League graduation of Quickley and Toppin, we got to witness some of the potential that Grimes and McBride had. Fast forward to just a few weeks ago when this year’s Summer League roster was announced and fans were skeptical, if not completely disinterested. Thanks in large part to the team’s lack of first round picks over the last two years, there was an evident scarcity when it came to well known prospects.

But amidst the circumstances, one player has stepped up and separated himself from the pack, and it isn’t a name people were expecting. Ask any Knicks fan a couple weeks ago, who they thought would be the standout performer in Las Vegas, and chances are most of them would answer Trevor Keels, Isiah Roby, DaQuan Jeffries, or Jaylen Martin. And rightfully so. Keels was a second round pick last year, Roby has shown flashes of being a solid player in the NBA in the past, and both Jeffries and Martin are interesting players with some intriguing skillsets. However, it’s been Charlie Brown Jr., the 26 year-old undrafted wing out of Saint Joseph’s, that has wowed fans.

The Summer League standout, with his quotes, demeanor, and energy comes across as an energy guy. “I think first and foremost, my mindset is always team first,” said Brown. “I feed off everybody’s energy. We’ve got great energy on this team. … I take this opportunity to get better, do what Dice asks me to do, and things are going to work out the way things are going to work out. I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can.”

But he’s clearly shown that he’s capable of being more than just a glue guy and he’s impressed some of the coaches. “He can play multiple positions, he can handle the ball, he can rebound and he can push the ball,” Knicks Summer League coach Dice Yoshimoto said. “Just his versatility, he can do different things. The way that he handles himself, he’s done great so far.”

The 6’6” Brown, who is coming off of an impressive 19 point, six rebound, four block game, is a journeyman, who has appeared in 41 NBA games, and has played on Team USA’s 3-on-3 team. And just two summer ago, he was the MVP of the 2021 FIBA Americas Championship. Like so many of these Summer League invitees, Brown is looking to secure a roster spot in the NBA, something he may be able to do in New York thanks to his impressive performances.