Fishers guard Brown makes it official with UE

Jaylon Brown

Fishers (Ind.) High School guard Jaylon Brown signed and faxed his letter of intent to UE on Wednesday morning, he said, making a binding commitment with the Aces as part of their 2013 recruiting class.

Castle High School forward Blake Simmons is expected to join Brown by signing his letter at a school ceremony on Thursday, and Cleveland point guard Duane Gibson will do the same at his Villa Angela-St. Joesph High School on Friday.

“Blake, I actually played against a couple times,” Brown said. “We’ve played Indiana Elite South multiple times during AAU. He plays on a good team. He’s very talented. He’s big. Duane, I haven’t played against him, but I do know of him and I’ve seen him before. I’m pretty comfortable with those guys.”

Of the three prospects set to sign with the Aces, Fishers coach Joe Leonard said, “Evansville has a hell of a recruiting class.”

Brown visited UE both officially and unofficially before committing to the Aces in late October. His top five schools were Evansville, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, St. Bonaventure and Wichita State, all of which offered a scholarship to the 5-foot-11 point guard.

“Everything went well, and I felt like that was the place for me,” Brown said. “It was a lot like home – the people I interacted with – and it really made me comfortable. Any place that makes me feel comfortable, I want to play at.”

Brown cited freshman guard D.J. Balentine, a former Kokomo High School standout, in particular as someone who helped him make the choice.

“It’s a big deal for somebody to want you to come and play with them,” Brown said. “He did a pretty good job of doing that. We’ve played against each other since my sophomore year and when he was a junior, so I’m used to him being around and stuff. I played against him twice during my high school career, so I knew who he was.”

UE coach Marty Simmons will officially announce his 2013 recruiting class once all letters of intent are received.

More on UE’s two new point guards

UE’s 2013 recruiting class tripled in size Monday, adding point guards Jaylon Brown and Duane Gibson to Castle High School forward Blake Simmons’ commitment made in May.

In the 6-foot-3 Gibson, the Aces secured a pass-first guard. He averaged 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists as a junior at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School in Cleveland.

From Brown, measured at 5-foot-11 or 6-foot, UE will get scorer. He averaged a team-best 13.2 points and 2.8 assists as a junior at Fishers High School outside of Indianapolis.

Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, Brown is one of the most high-profile players coach Marty Simmons has landed in his six seasons at UE. The Indiana Basketball Source breaks down his game: “Brown is likely the most athletic guard in the state of Indiana regardless of class. He has great body control when he gets to the basket, which allows him to finish most plays. His outside game has been steadily improving and has shot very well beyond the arc during the fall league. Brown has a very high ceiling at Evansville.”

Gibson comes with less fanfare, but his high school has produced stars such as Desmond Howard and Clark Kellogg. He’s also first cousins with Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, another VASJ graduate. Triple Double Prospects rates Gibson the best high school point guard in Cleveland.

Another note: Both players said UE freshman guard D.J. Balentine played a big part in convincing them to pledge to the Aces. Depending on whether Marty Simmons uses Balentine as a point or shooting guard, the new commits could eventually compete with him for playing time.

—Check out my full story in today’s paper about Brown and Gibson.
—Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star wrote about Brown’s commitment.
—The News-Herald in Ohio provided the local angle on Gibson.

Here’s more internet chatter about the two point guards:

http://storify.com/ECP_Lintner/internet-chatter-on-jaylon-brown-duane-gibson

Fishers guard Brown building relationship with UE

Jaylon Brown

Fishers (Ind.) High School guard Jaylon Brown is back to playing basketball after sitting out the end of the summer circuit with mononucleosis.

Thanks to some eye-opening performances, including 77 points in two games Sunday at the Metro Indianapolis Fall League, Brown is making up for lost time.

Brown announced his list of top five schools in August: UE, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, St. Bonaventure and Wichita State. Drake and Richmond have since joined in recruiting him.

“He probably was going to have some pretty big offers — not that Evansville’s not — and it didn’t work out for him,” said Fishers coach Joe Leonard. “But he’s starting to realize that Evansville, Miami of Ohio and a couple of these other schools have already been there. That’s who he’s narrowing it down to right now.”

The Indianapolis Star and Scout.com this week have both featured the 5-foot-11 senior, rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com. Brown was also named the top uncommitted recruit in the state by the Indiana Basketball Source.

Leonard said UE coach Marty Simmons planned to visit Brown on Wednesday.

The Aces’ staff has “been on him since last year, and they’ve done a good job of building a relationship with him,” Leonard said. “He’s pretty much a relationship kid.”

Brown had another recent in-home visit with UE. He told Scout.com, with a laugh:

“Really they just kind of want me to commit to the school. They have been talking to me for a long time. They wanted to talk to my mom and show my mom what they have. It was a good visit, and I really like the place. They have a nice arena and they are in a good conference.”

Brown plans to commit sometime this fall and sign a Letter of Intent during the NCAA’s Early Period in November.

Simmons already has one verbal commitment from his son, Castle High School forward Blake Simmons. Harrison High School guard Ernie Duncan reopened his recruitment last week after committing to the Aces.

UE’s four scholarship seniors – Colt Ryan, Ned Cox, Troy Taylor and Lewis Jones – are all guards.

UE News and Notes for Sept. 30, 2012

UE freshman Mark Anthony Gonzalez scored twice in the Aces’ win over Oral Roberts. SAMANTHA OWENS/COURIER & PRESS

The UE men’s soccer team on Sunday snapped a three-match losing streak and equaled its wins total from last year in a 4-0 home win over Oral Roberts. The Aces got two goals apiece from freshmen Faik Hajderovic and Mark Anthony Gonzalez.

—Women’s basketball coach Oties Epps channeled his inner Allen Iverson when talking about his team’s first official practice Monday. The Aces can practice 30 out of 40 days leading up to their season opener.

I wrote some thoughts Sunday about the Ford Center and how it’s two main tenants, UE and the Evansville IceMen hockey team, will affect each other this year. With the IceMen now affiliated, it’s a good time for UE to open its new practice facility. This could be the sort of thing that turns into a larger story down the road if UE’s basketball programs feel they aren’t getting enough time in the Ford Center outside of game days.

—Days after receiving an in-home visit from UE men’s basketball coaches, Fishers (Ind.) guard Jaylon Brown scored 53 of his team’s 89 points in a Metro Indianapolis Fall League game on Sunday. He tallied 77 points on 13 3-pointers total in two games. Brown’s list of top five schools includes UE, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, St. Bonaventure and Wichita State.

UE’s women’s soccer team played to a scoreless tie at Missouri State on Sunday. In the past week, the Aces (2-6-3, 1-0-1 MVC) have shown some life, beating Illinois State (picked first by MVC coaches in the preseason poll) and drawing with the Bears (picked second).

Creighton’s volleyball team sent UE to a 3-1 (25-16, 25-10, 23-25, 25-17) loss Saturday night at the Carson Center, dropping the Aces (6-12, 2-4 Missouri Valley Conference) to seventh in the league standings. The top six teams by conference record make the MVC tournament at the end of the season.

Junior Kelsey Costales advanced to Sunday’s singles finals at the tennis team’s tournament at Austin Peay. Costales also went undefeated in doubles play with teammate Natasha James.

—The men’s golf team starts competition Monday in the Cleveland State Invitational at Canterbury Golf Club.

UE News and Notes for Sept. 26, 2012

Follow Derrick Docket of the MVC on Twitter (@ddocket) for more insider photos like this one of Marty Simmons from today.

—In lieu of a Missouri Valley Conference basketball media day this year (it will be done by teleconference for the first time), league officials have been visiting all the member schools to film promos for the upcoming season. They stopped in Evansville on Wednesday with a group that included Derrick Docket (@ddocket). He’s a good follow on Twitter for MVC matters and tweeted the photo to the left.

—Look for a story on backup men’s soccer goalkeeper Robert Randant, one of two seniors on the team this year, and a swimming and diving season preview in tomorrow’s paper. UE’s swimming programs really don’t receive enough funding to compete at the top of the Missouri Valley Conference (women) and Mid-American Conference (men) leagues each year, but both teams excel in the classroom.

—Speaking of academics, UE will host its student-athlete academic honors breakfast on Thursday morning. Expect some fairly big news out of that.

—Trevor Andershock of the Indiana Basketball Source tweeted last night that Fishers guard Jaylon Brown had an in-home visit with UE today. The website rates Brown, a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, as the top uncommited in-state recruit for the class for 2013. Brown recently announced a top five that includes UE, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, St. Bonaventure and Wichita State.

—This column pre-dates the blog, but I thought I’d share because it still applies (and it will for the next month). From the C&P’s Dan Korb: Dial back the emotions and learn to embrace the UE-USI basketball exhibition.

—Andrew Durre of MVCFans.com put together a two-part piece on realignment and the Missouri Valley. You can check out part one here and part two here.

—Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson (@CoachBHinson) joined Twitter this week. And if you didn’t know already, UE coach Marty Simmons (@AceCoachSimmons) is also tweeting now.

—The Ford Center Facebook page published photos today of the ice rink for the upcoming Evansville IceMen season. Training camp for the building’s other main tenant starts Monday.