The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 92 of 99

MARCH 2020 THE WOLVERINE 93   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? "There was nothing I could do about it, but you're always thinking you'd like to be out there helping. It pains you to watch your teammates out there playing when you're not able to help." U-M's junior center did make the most of it while unable to take the court. "I did a lot of things outside of my ability to play," he said. "I worked on my flexibility, other parts of my body. It made me into a stronger player and a stronger person in the long run." Amaker 's team proved much stronger when Brown and his class- mates battled through their senior season. They went 22-13 overall and a level 8-8 in the Big Ten, knocking off Purdue, Indiana and Michigan State along the way. They still came up shy of The Big Dance, but Brown looks back with no regrets. "We were playing great basket- ball," he said. "Every big-name team we ran into, they were all worried about us. We still had our ups and downs — the Big Ten season is dif- ficult. But we really performed all the time. "I know we didn't make the NCAA Tournament, but I really had pride in what we did. There were a lot of special guys on that team." Brown played his own special role, setting screens that left opponents sprawled on the court — never dirty, always potent. "That was my game," Brown re- called. "There was nothing out there mean or overly aggressive. I just played as hard as I could, every single play. A lot of teams tried to take Daniel and our guards out of it. I set a lot of half-court screens to get things open. "The rebounding, the setting picks, getting guys open … I was a role player. My role on the team was to do the dirty work for everybody else. That's the kind of person I am. That's why I fit so well. "That's what we needed. I was the glue for everyone. That was my role, and I loved that part of it." Brown then embarked on an 11- year overseas professional basketball sojourn. It began on Terceira Island, Portugal, in the Atlantic Ocean — 6.5 hours from Boston and 2.5 hours from Portugal's mainland. "It was my first overseas experi- ence, and it was phenomenal — a lot of great teammates," Brown said. "You got a little bit of an idea about the professional life and how to han- dle yourself." Brown also got to know the Azores, but it wasn't easy navigating be- tween islands. "We played on Madeira Island, but there was no direct flight," he recalled. "We had to fly two-and-a- half hours to Lisbon, then another hour and a half southwest to go back to Madeira." He played on Portugal's mainland the following year, winning a Euro- pean championship. Brown became the league's Center of the Year, and the holder of a coveted team title. "That was a great experience for me, to win a championship," he said. "We won a couple of different cham- pionships, but that was one that was really big — especially in just my sec- ond year overseas. I was still pretty young." He followed that up with four years in Belgium, hanging out with fellow former Wolverine Chris Young and thoroughly enjoying the sur- roundings. "All four years were phenomenal," he said. "Living in Belgium was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had. I lived on the Flemish side, northwest of Brussels. It was easy to live, no language barrier, a great life- style there and a lot of great times." France brought a wife (Blair, whom Brown met at Michigan) and two daughters into the picture, and an eventual realization it was time to go home. "Being overseas for 11 years, with young kids, we wanted them to spend time with their grandparents, their aunts and uncles that we hadn't seen in a long time," Brown said. "It was a good transition time." He now works in medical spinal equipment sales, spending each day in hospital operating rooms during procedures, instructing surgeons in the use of the Globus Medical equip- ment he sells. He's always been all Michigan, and now he's back in the state — doing all he can to help another team. ❑ Brown and his wife, Blair, have two daugh- ters, Sloane, 6, and Piper, 3. PHOTO COURTESY GRAHAM BROWN The Graham Brown File Michigan Accomplishments: Served as a captain his final two seasons … Earned Michigan's Steve Grote Hustle Award all four years … Won a host of other team awards, including the Iron Man Award in 2006 … Was a member of the 2004 NIT champions … Averaged 5.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, shoot- ing 56.8 percent from the field. Professional Accomplishments: Played 11 professional seasons in Europe, Portugal, Belgium and France … Won a European championship his second season abroad … Works in Ann Arbor-area hospitals in medical equipment sales for Globus Medical. Michigan Memory: "My Michigan memory would be just being a Wolverine. That's what I always strived to do. Now looking back, having all the years there, all the memories, we're a Michigan family, through and through. My brothers went to Michigan. It's a phenomenal program, a phenomenal institution. To be able to say I played there — wherever you go throughout the world, there are always people who are Wolverines. That's something special you can cherish the rest of your life." Education: Earned a bachelor's degree in General Studies in 2006. Family: Brown and his wife, Blair, have two daughters, Sloane, 6, and Piper, 3.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - March 2020 Issue