The Wolfpacker

January 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 45 of 79

T By Brian Rapp here was a time, back in the sixth grade, when Len'Nique Brown's primary goal as an athlete had nothing to do with basketball. "I hoped to run track in the Olympics," NC State's redshirt sophomore point guard revealed. "I had started running track when I was in kindergarten. When I first started playing organized basketball, I hated it — it wasn't like being able to run, like in pickup games. I stayed with it because my mom made me." Fortunately for the Wolfpack, and thanks team) and 3.3 assists a contest (second best on the Pack). And her 4.6 rebounds a contest trails only junior forward Kody Burke (8.1) and junior post Markeisha Gatling (6.1) — despite the fact she's only 5-5. "Playing against my brothers really helped me in most of the things I do in basketball," Brown explained. "I just try to box them out as much as I can, or outjump them if I can, or beat them to loose balls." But Brown's chief asset is the blazing speed she developed as a sprinter and long- and triple-jumper in AAU and high school track, and that has been her primary player and had coached in the WNBA," Brown explained. "But after a year, I just wasn't comfortable with his type of play and coaching style, and also it could have been I was pretty far from home." Brown asked Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil, her coach with the Team Xpress AAU team she played for, to contact schools that might be interested. Coincidentally, one of Brown's Team Xpress teammates, Erica Donovan, was being recruited by NC State in the spring of 2011, and Davis-Wrightsil informed Harper that another player might be available. Change Of Pace Transfer Len'Nique Brown Gives NC State Versatility At Point Guard to her mother Rosalind Brown's insistence, Brown finally grew to love the game she first experienced through two older brothers and her dad, Leonard Hoskins, himself a junior college player in Texas. Now, the San Antonio native is in her first season as what NC State assistant coach Jon Harper calls "co-point guard" of the Pack, along with junior Myisha Goodwin-Coleman. She provides NC State with versatility at the position that has not been available in the four years since head coach Kellie Harper took over the program in 2009. weapon on the hardwood. "The speed she brings to the court is something we didn't have, and we needed," Kellie Harper said in her preseason press introduction to the team. "Last year, when we had her on the scout team, we literally had no one who could stay with her one-on-one," Jon Harper added. "So now we have a point guard who's physical and a great outside scoring threat [Goodwin-Coleman] and one who has the speed and quickness to put pressure on defenses off the dribble "The speed she brings to the court is something   we didn't have, and we needed." ■ Head coach Kellie Harper "Any time you can have two-deep depth at every position, it's a plus," said Jon Harper, who coaches NC State's backcourt players. "Last year, if Myisha had to come out, we had Marissa [junior Marisa Kastanek], KB [freshman Krystal Barrett] and Emili [senior Emili Tasler] all playing point at times — and none of them are a point guard or want to be a point guard. "It's miserable playing that position, because there's so much going on, and it's so mentally taxing. So to have a backup, or even the option of having Nique and Myisha on the floor at the same time, helps us a lot." Through the first 10 games this season, Brown has been more than just a capable backup to Goodwin-Coleman. She's been the Pack's top contributor off the bench, averaging 6.8 points a game (sixth on the and who can penetrate. It gives us a lot of options." Having Brown in a Pack uniform, Jon Harper admitted, is decidedly better than seeing her in a Trojans uniform, which he and the rest of the NC State players and fans did two years ago, when USC defeated the Pack 84-75 in December 2010. Brown, who averaged just 12.4 minutes a game in her one season in Los Angeles, scored eight points and pulled down four rebounds in that contest. A four-time all-district selection and MVP her final two years at Karen Wagner High School in San Antonio, Brown chose USC over Michigan State and San Diego State primarily because of its then-head coach. "I want to play professionally after college, and Michael Cooper was an ex-NBA Brown actually had a choice of New Mexico State, Colorado and NC State to transfer to in the fall of 2011 — but chose Raleigh after her first and only visit. "It's more appealing than L.A.," she said. "It's quiet here, and I like that." Despite the one-year absence from the court and having to readjust to a new city, team and teammates, Brown said she doesn't regret the roundabout journey that's brought her to the Pack. "I think God had His plan for me to go to USC to learn from the things that happened there," she said. "It was tough sitting out — in all my years of playing basketball I was only hurt seriously enough once [a broken nose] to miss a couple of games my senior year in high school. "But I think I've gained more than I lost, because I learned patience, I was able to sit and learn behind a great point guard, and I was able to take all last year and learn what the coaches expect from the point guard. I think everything happens for a reason, so I feel this was all part of God's plan for me." "There's still a learning curve for her," Jon Harper said. "She's still learning to make the right decisions at the right times, when to push the ball and when to be more patient. That comes with playing time. But she's the most athletic point guard we've had here so far, and she has the chance to be very good." ■ After sitting out a season following her transfer from USC, Brown has been the Pack's top contributor off the bench through 10 games this year, averaging 6.8 points and 3.3 assists per contest. photo by ken martin 46  ■  the wolfpacker 46-47.Len'Nique Brown.indd 46 12/11/12 2:26 PM

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