The coaches who remember the high school basketball player with an unusual name say he was impossible to mark. Living up to his name, SirValiant Brown broke down all kinds of defenses.
"It was hard to form any type of defense against him, because he shot from very deep," said Brain Metress, a long time Northern Region high school basketball coach. "If you didn't get there in time [to defend the shot], he would shoot. If you got there, he would blow right by you," said Metress.
Brown graduated from Lee in 1999, the year he led the team to the Virginia AAA state semifinals. During that year he averaged 27 points, five assists and three steals per game. He was named to the Associated Press All-State team.
"HE WAS VERY very explosive, and he could get a shot off against anyone," said Metress. However, Brown was not just a player who scored a lot of points. Metress said Brown was a top defensive guard and an excellent passer of the ball. "He wreaked havoc defensively," said Metress.
An article in a March, 1996, issue of the Springfield Connection reads that Brown is an impact freshman who was instrumental in Lee's rise to regional prominence. Lee had just earned a regional semifinal berth, where it would face Wakefield. The article reads: "And as usual, freshman point guard Val Brown was a big factor. He was 6-of-15 from the field, but made 11 of 15 free throws and scored 11 of his 23 points in the final quarter."
A Fairfax Connection article, reporting from the Liberty District Final in 1999, said Brown helped lead Lee back into a game that was decided in overtime against Fairfax. The article said Brown started driving to the basket when he had trouble with his jump shot. Brown was quoted: "If they're going to foul me, I'll keep knocking [free throws] down."
BROWN'S SCORING reputation went beyond what an average basketball fan could imagine when he began his college career at George Washington University. He chose George Washington over top national programs such as Kentucky and UCLA because he wanted to play for coach Tom Penders. Penders built the program around the freshman, giving him the freedom to take a lot of shots. Brown barely missed on becoming the first freshman ever to lead the nation in scoring, averaging 24.6 points per game in the 1999-2000 season. He came in second to Courtney Alexander of Fresno State, who averaged 24.8 points per game.
During that first year at George Washington, Brown broke the school's 31-year scoring record. He scored 738 points and recorded the Smith Center single-game scoring record on Dec. 11, 1999, scoring 42 points against Siena.
He was not as prolific a scorer his sophomore year, averaging 17.3 points per game, as he was his freshman year. Brown still managed to record 20 or more points on 12 occasions, including 50-point games against Maryland and St. John's.
AFTER HIS SOPHOMORE season at George Washington, Brown entered the 2001 NBA Draft, but missed out on being selected. He then joined a One World All-Stars touring team that played exhibition games on college campuses around the country. Brown also bounced around the U.S. Basketball League, seeing some time in Pennsylvania, and the NBA Development League, playing in Roanoke for the Dazzle.
Val Brown is 56 in a survey of the area's Top 100 Athletes by Connection Newspapers in 2000.