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Jamestown guard Xavier Brown’s ‘full circle’ journey ends with commitment to JMU

Jamestown guard Xavier Brown’s ‘full circle’ journey ends with commitment to JMU
Jamestown senior point guard Xavier Brown, left, committed to in-state James Madison University after a successful final season with the Eagles under his dad Chris, right. (Courtesy: Chris Brown)

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (BVM) – From the day he was born, Jamestown senior point guard Xavier Brown was destined to play basketball. The son of a basketball coach, his father Chris, Xavier didn’t get much say in the matter.

“I was running a summer basketball camp and two days after he was born I told his mom to bring him to the gym so he can hear the ball bouncing and hear the kids screaming so he can start working on his game,” Chris said.

The youngest of five kids, who all excelled and played sports collegiately from basketball to volleyball, Xavier was around sports his entire life.

“Xavier has been in the gym just by default,” Chris said.

Those early experiences crafted Xavier’s basketball life and it has paid off in spades. The Jamestown High School standout recently announced his commitment to join in-state Division I program James Madison over other programs like Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, South Florida and Wisconsin, among others.

“It was the most weight off my shoulders I’ve ever felt,” Xavier said. “When you’re growing up as a kid you’re always trying to figure out where you’re going to be and grasp where you’re going to be and it was great to just find a place that feels like home. It was a great campus and I bonded with the guys well. It was a great experience.”

Xavier has been a top player in Virginia for some time now. As a freshman, the point guard helped Surrey County to its first Virginia High School League state title in nearly 15 years. Though young, that experience helped Xavier learn how to contribute to a team while not being a focal point.

“I learned at a young age that playing the right way, whether that means I’m the one on the ball or distributing, kind of playing my role no matter what that role is, it really does matter,” Xavier said.

The next year was different. Under his dad, who took over as the head boys basketball coach at Jamestown, Xavier was thrust into a leadership role. Though it would be a difficult year for him, Xavier and his dad were able to strike a balance between the coach-player relationship and the father-son relationship.

“That first year was tough for me,” Xavier said. “My dad was really tough on me about getting to my spots and just being sharp all the time. When I was 15-16 I wasn’t the most mature basketball player, I knew what was right and wrong but didn’t always do the right thing, so he was tough on me. The first year wasn’t like this season, but I really did enjoy it.”

“Having done it a good amount of time, we have a rule that I cannot allow them to feel they can gain any leverage by calling me dad,” Chris said. “It had to be, ‘Yes, Coach.’ But Xavier is a natural born leader, the program we inherited was 8-14 the prior year, so coming in from the state champion team he brought an experience none of the guys had. They embraced him as a leader right away.”

Chris, left, coached his son Xavier to his best performances during the pair’s time at Jamestown High School. (Courtesy: Chris Brown)

The move paid off as Xavier earned second team all-state and first team all-region honors after averaging 16.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 4.0 steals, and shooting 41% from beyond the 3-point line.

This strong play also earned Xavier a chance to play for one of the most exclusive teams in the country, Oak Hill Academy, during a VHSL 2020-21 season that was largely impacted due to the ongoing pandemic. Unfortunately for Xavier, due to the talent on the squad, he would only see 6.6 minutes per game in 22 appearances averaging 2.4 points, 2.3 assists and 1.2 rebounds while shooting 42% from the field. While he wouldn’t star for Oak Hill, Xavier feels the experience gained from the top-notch program where he played with and against some of the best players in the nation helped him grow as a player.

“It was a great experience,” Xavier said. “When I went up there I was thinking, ‘I’m going to go up there and be the man,’ but honestly it was a great experience because every day I got to play against Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, all guys who were high majoring and I didn’t just play, I competed well….I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

After a strong first season under Chris at Jamestown, Xavier earned the opportunity to learn under legendary Oak Hill Academy head coach Steve Smith during his junior year. (Courtesy: Chris Brown)

Xavier returned to Jamestown to once again play under his father for his senior season, missing home and hoping for one last ride with his hometown and playing with the kids he grew up with. This was a wise decision as Xavier would turn in his best campaign of his prep career. 

During the season, he averaged 28.6 points, 6.7 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals for an Eagles program that finished 20-5 and made an appearance in the VHSL Class 4 state quarterfinals. For his efforts, Xavier earned first team all-state, all-region and All-Tidewater honors.

“My high school career was all full circle,” Xavier said. First, I had to be a role player, second year I had to score, third year I had to find ways to get on the floor and be tenacious then this year was a full takeover. I scored, assisted and led us in rebounding. I felt in my career all my moves were great, they were all big moves to get me where I am today.”

In addition to his in-state recognitions, Xavier also earned a spot in the Allen Iverson Classic All-American 24K Showcase, a full length game featuring more top talent from across the country regardless of class. Xavier also helped his Big Shots Elite team to a championship in the 17U Big Shots Virginia Beach Tip-Off by scoring 41 points including 29 in the second half alone to help his team win the final game 75-69 over Showtime Elite. The 6-foot-2 point guard earned the event’s MVP honors for his performance.

Xavier’s strong play earned him the opportunity to play at the Allen Iverson Classic All-American 24K Showcase where he learned from former NBA legends like A.I. (Courtesy: Chris Brown)

Xavier is already seen as an exciting addition to the JMU squad for next season.

“Xavier will be great for our team and will be loved by JMU fans,” head basketball coach Mark Byington said in a school press release. “Xavier has had an accomplished high school career and is one of the best players in Virginia this year. He has played for great coaches, both in high school and with Team Loaded, so we expect him to have a fast adjustment into college basketball.”

Given his penchant for playmaking and improving the teams around him, Xavier will likely come into James Madison with high expectations. With his play against elite competition and performance as one of the best players in Virginia, expect Xavier to quickly make his mark on the Dukes squad next season.

“I’m just one of those people that’s going to get the job done,” Xavier said. “I’m a leader, a whatever it takes kind of guy. If that means I’m scoring 28 or not scoring at all, whatever equals a W that’s what I’m there for. I’m not just going to be a basketball guy, I’m going to be a Harrisonburg kind of guy.”

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