Texas is Natrell Curtis’ birth place, but it was Jalen Brown making himself at home.
The Mountain Pointe duo, along with their coach, Norris Vaughan, traveled to San Antonio earlier this week for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Brown made a great first impression during Monday’s first practice for the West.
“Brown had the best day of the receivers, showing explosion off the line of scrimmage, pristine route running, soft hands and great body control,” Scout.com’s Brandon Huffman wrote in singling him out as of the top five standouts after Day 1. “(He) made the best catch of the day, going up the ladder over a defensive back to bring down a pass and then turning up field for a big gain.”
Getting a jump on things is nothing new for Brown as he was an impact player for the Pride as a freshman in 2010 and he has already fulfilled his course work to graduate in order to be on Oregon’s campus shortly after returning from San Antonio the first week of January.
Curtis, a 6-foot-3, 340-pound guard, gets a chance to go back to his home state, where he lived in Ennis, Texas, until the fourth grade.
Things are a little different these days for Curtis than when he was selected for the team and given his jersey on Oct. 29 at a school ceremony.
He has opened his recruiting after decommitting from Washington on Dec. 19 along with his family life change after watching the birth of his son during the Pride’s bye week during the season.
Curtis had a good first day too as he battled with Arkansas recruit Bijhon Jackson and others while holding his own on 1-on-1 drills.
Curtis said before leaving via Twitter that he doesn’t want to go the junior college route and announced he will be having a signing party on Feb. 8. Oklahoma is said to be still recruiting him and a good performance this week could be enough to make it official.
They are among 90 players from across the nation and are part of the largest Arizona group (four, joining Desert Mountain’s Mark Andrews and Kyle Allen) in the 13-year history of the game, which will be aired live from the Alamodome on NBC Jan. 4 at 11 a.m.
Not only will they be treated to a great experience, including some community service work, during their week stay in San Antonio until Jan. 5, but Vaughan will also be in attendance as part of the coaching staff.
“The whole week will be special, with the different coaches, the guest speakers from the Army and community service,” Brown said. “That kind of stuff is more important than playing on national TV.”
Vaughan is part of the coaching staff headed by Bishop Gorman’s Tony Sanchez and was one of six candidates for national coach of the year, but it went to Jason Negro of St. John Bosco (Calif).
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Vaughan said recently at a Mountain Pointe boys basketball game. “We had a great season, finished ranked sixth in the nation and when you do that people notice.”
However the next few days play out for the Pride trio it is clear that they are still making the most of the best season in history of the program.
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