A lot of nonsense can be stated in 140 characters.
High school athletes, especially, can definitely make some very inane and obnoxious statements on Twitter.
And their English teachers would be horrified.
Then there is Jalen Brown.
The Mountain Pointe junior uses the social media stage to expand his leadership role within the Pride program.
He’ll make the occasional out-of-nowhere comment, but for the most part Brown’s tweets are directed at his teammates, or any of his followers really, in hopes of inspiring them.
“There are some people that can’t express themselves easily,” Brown said. “If I put something out there maybe they feel the same way I feel and can relate to it.”
The tweets had to take a different connotation last weekend after Mountain Pointe lost its first game of the season.
Here are a few examples:
• “Everyone feels fear. Cowards let it stop them from reaching their goal while heroes use it to their advantage. #Courage”
• “It isn’t where you came from; it’s where you’re going that counts.”
• “I am going to do everything I possibly can to be the best I can be and to impact this team in a positive way.”
It’s another example of Brown’s maturation process after making a splash on the varsity level in both football and basketball, along with being a very good student, as a freshman.
Back then he was getting by simply on athletic ability, getting six interceptions and being a defensive stopper on the hard court, while trying to fit in with teammates several years older.
Now, as a junior and one of the Pride’s core players, Brown has a different standing on the team. He is still one of the top athletes, of course, but now the players and the coaches look to him for various roles on the team.
Before the Chandler game, Pride coach Norris Vaughan was asking Brown about the Wolves’ skill players early in the practice week and how they can hurt the Pride’s defense.
Mountain Pointe offensive coordinator Eric Lauer said when Brown comes to the sidelines after a series ends they’ll ask him what he is seeing, and what the defense is doing, and sometimes make adjustments accordingly.
“We see things when we are one the sidelines, but sometimes the play is on the other side of the field and 30 yards away,” Lauer said. “He comes off the field and gives us input and confirms some things. Jalen knows how they are playing him and sometimes we will immediately adjust what we are doing based on what he said.”
Brown, who has 29 catches and 473 yards with four touchdowns, has an even bigger role as a leader. He is not just the great athlete anymore. The way he carries himself on and off the field has more weight than when he was younger.
Last year, the Pride was going through some struggles on offense, there was a little evidence that he was getting frustrated. He admits to the same frustration at times in 2012, but he does a better job of keeping it inside.
“It doesn’t do the team any good if someone yells or pouts,” Brown said. “When I was a freshman I didn’t understand what it meant to be on the same page mentally as a team and how it helps you work together.”
Brown, who has more than 15 top Division I scholarship offers from most of the Pac 1, from in-state schools to Nebraska and Arkansas, has become one of the leaders because of beliefs just like that.
“He is so intelligent and knows the game well,” senior wide receiver Thair Blakes said. “He knows every offense and defense we face. People look up to him because he is a tremendous athlete and carries himself right.”
Brown’s maturity is another thing for college recruiters to check off their list of positive qualities. They will also be happy to know as of now he is completely focused on football and leaning toward not playing basketball this season.
“Right now, I am stepping aside from basketball and focusing on football,” Brown said. “It’s hard and I was really looking forward to (new coach Aaron Windler), but it’s better for me because I kind of lost that fire for the game.”
It’s another sign that Brown is more comfortable in who he has become since way back when he was wearing No. 85 a few years ago.
“He has come a long way,” Vaughan said. “We knew athletically he was going to be fine from the very beginning, but now his personality has come out and we know we can count on him to be a leader in a lot of different ways.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.