Nov. 17, 2010
Chris Brown knows basketball has changed his life.
Brown was 300 pounds and playing football when he went to a gym one day with some buddies. Ms. Elaine Jones, who founded Team Genesis, an AAU team in Houston, saw Brown and told him he should give basketball a try. Brown took her card but didn't call. A couple of weeks later he went to church and saw her again. She told him to give it a try. He agreed.
Since that day, Brown has lost the fat and gained muscle. He has stopped playing football and learned to play basketball. He has a positive attitude and says "I am blessed to be playing basketball for Oregon State. If it wasn't for basketball, I'd still be 300 pounds and playing football or doing nothing."
He didn't start playing organized basketball until his junior year of high school and then spent a year at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy where he played alongside several players who are currently at Division I schools.
Head coach Craig Robinson sees the potential in his 6-foot-11, 262-pound center and is continually teaching him the game and pushing him in practice.
"He's still learning the game and is raw, but if he continues to work hard, he will be able to help this team," Robinson said. "He has the body to become a very good Pac-10 center and he's going to end up being an important player for us at some point."
When did you move to the United States?
"I was born in Western Africa in Nigeria. My parents decided to come over here when I was little. I guess they wanted a better life."
When did you start playing basketball?
Why did it take you so long to play basketball?
"I really didn't start playing until my junior year of high school. So I don't have that much basketball experience yet, but my experience at Oregon State has been great. I like the coaches and the way they coach and everything about them. They really take time with me to teach me the game."
"I was fat. I was about 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds in the eighth grade. By the ninth grade, I was about 6-foot-6. The 10th grade is when I started losing weight. That summer I lost about 50 pounds. My 11th grade year I started losing more weight and gained a little muscle. From there I went to Oak Hill Academy. The coach took me because he saw something and wanted to develop my game a little bit."
Did you play a lot at Oak Hill Academy?
"I was playing behind (Keith) Tiny Gallon. I didn't really play that much. I was just trying to learn the game more. We had 42 games and I played in 20 or so games there. I only played about 10 games in high school."
What made you decide to attend Oregon State?
"Coach Doug (Stewart) started recruiting me late. He called Miss Elaine Jones about me and said he wanted to see me. They called me up here for a visit. Coach Robinson liked me. Coach Doug liked me. The entire coaching staff liked me. I was about to sign with St. John's but their coach got fired and I didn't want to be in that atmosphere."
How have the practices been so far?
"It's really more than what I thought. They push me every day. I've never really done this much running in my life. Every day I try to push myself and try to get better and get in Pac-10 shape. The Pac-10 is different from all of the other conferences. They run more and it's more of a fast paced game. I was kind of picturing myself to be a more of a Big East player. But coming here they taught me how to run."
How did it feel to make a basket in the exhibition game?
"It felt great. It got my confidence up because it was my first college game. I feel myself coming together. Making that basket felt so good. I feel like if I learn more, by the end of the year, I can do a lot more than I do at the beginning."
How has Coach Robinson been to play for so far?
"He gets on me a lot. He knows I haven't played a lot so he's trying to pick me up and encourage me and get after me every day. The coaches tell me not to get discouraged. One day I was running and coach got on me and I haven't done this much running before. He's trying to push me every day to become a real good Pac-10 center. I really like that about him. Coaches who don't push a player don't care about them. I can tell he cares about me and wants me to become a better player."
Why is your dream job to work with Apple?
"I love working with computers and technology and all of that stuff. If something breaks at home, like my video game or something, I just take it apart and try to fix it."
What are your personal goals for the year?
"I'm trying to get experience and learn the game from the older guys. I'm trying to watch and see more into it and play hard every day and see what I get out of it. Before our first game, I prayed for the team because they said Seth Tarver did that last year and they wanted me to do it. That meant a lot to me."
What would say to the fans and why they should watch the team this year?
"I'd tell them this team is going to be something this year. We are going to be very good and they should come out and support us, because we aren't backing down from anybody. We are way tougher than last year and have better athletes and it's going to be an exciting team."
Chris Brown says .....
Favorite athlete growing up: Michael Jordan
Favorite book: Just an ESPN Magazine
Favorite movie: More Than A Game
Favorite actor: Martin Laurence
Favorite actress: Jessica Alba
Favorite TV show: The Game
Favorite day of the week: Wednesday
Shoe size: 16
Most famous person I've met: Lebron James
One thing people don't know about me: I love God and I sport nothing but Jordan and Nike gear
My favorite thing about Corvallis is: My teammates
My favorite city I've visited is: Honolulu, Hawaii
City I haven't visited yet but want to: Dubai
Do I speak another language: French
Do I have a hidden talent: Art and singing
My favorite thing to do on a day off: Workout
Do I have any pre-game rituals: Pray and then put my headphones on
If I could invite three people to dinner, they would be: Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, Amare Stoudemire
If I could attend one historical event it would be: The 1998 NBA championship to see Jordan hit the game-winning shot
My dream job would be: To work with Apple
Favorite sport besides basketball: Soccer
Word that best describes me: Blessed
The think I am most thankful for is: Having Jesus in my life
10 years from now I hope to be: A good father with a God loving family
Oregon State men's basketball fans can purchase season tickets, single game tickets and special packages by calling 1-800-GO-BEAVS or visiting the Oregon State Athletic Ticket Office located at legendary Gill Coliseum. Ticket office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Season tickets in the chairback sections are $342 for the general public and $273 for Oregon State faculty and staff, members of the Varsity O Club and people under the age of 30 (limit of two discounted tickets). The Weekend Plan includes nine home games that are played on Saturday or Sunday for $121.
Single game tickets are $25 for chairback seats and $15 for upper level bench seats. The Orange Pride Pick-a-Pack gives fans the opportunity to select two non-conference games and three Pacific-10 Conference games for $75 for chairback seats and $50 for upper level bench seats.
Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information, and to purchase tickets, follow this link or call 541-737-2370. You can make an "Everyday Champion". Follow Beaver Athletics on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.