New USC basketball coach Lamont Paris and his staff hosted their first official visitor over the weekend in Citadel transfer guard Hayden Brown. The product of Byrnes High School is leaving Charleston as a graduate transfer after spending five years with the Bulldogs. He took an official visit to Loyola of Chicago two weeks ago and will visit Georgia Tech a week from today.
Brown will go down in the USC basketball history books as the first official visitor welcomed under the Paris administration. He said it was a different feeling all the way around for everyone.
“It was a unique experience because it was their official visit as a staff,” Brown said. “With them getting acclimated to the city and the school itself, it was mutually beneficial. As I was learning more about the program and what they have to offer, they were learning about the city and how things operate. I think it went well, all things considered. Comparatively looking at what I’m coming from, it’s definitely a nice area and facility. They have plentiful amount of resources that I would have access to, so it was good.”
This is not the first time Paris and his staff have seen Brown up close. They coached against him for five seasons while at UT-Chattanooga. So, Brown went into the weekend with a good feel for Paris.
“From the jump, I’ve really just appreciated the honesty and authenticity of Coach Paris,” Brown said. “I knew that going into the visit, but prior to the visit I hadn’t met any of the other staff. So, getting to lay eyes on them and shake hands with them and getting to know them more, I think that was also helpful too. A great staff from top to bottom. They all seem real solid and real bought in to what Coach Paris is and what he brings as a coach.”
And having played against the schemes that Paris drew up to stop him, Brown has a good feel for how he would fit in with what he likes to do.
“I think it’s a good fit,” Brown said. “You look as far back as his Wisconsin team he was a part of when they went to the Final Four, you look at a player like Nigel Hayes who was undersized for his position but was versatile and able to stretch the floor and get and exploit mismatches. And I a hundred percent see myself doing that if I were to go there. That’s exactly how he would use me. I’m very familiar with his play style, how he coaches is something I’m definitely interested in.”
Ironically, Brown’s last game with The Citadel came against Paris and UTC in the Southern Conference Tournament in March. For his career against UTC, Brown averaged 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Two seasons ago he had one game against the Mocs of 37 points and 13 rebounds.
Brown is still living in Charleston and said there’s no timetable for a decision following next week’s visit to Georgia Tech.
“Evaluate, process and make my decision,” he said. “I don’t have a certain date. Whenever I finish whatever the rest of the process looks like. It’s kind of up in the air.”
Brown played in 111 games at The Citadel and finished with career averages of 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. This season he averaged 18.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. For his career he shot 50% from the floor, 29% from three and 67% from the line.