Green Bay, WI - Alec Brown is not a good college basketball player because he's tall.
The 7'1" sophomore center at UW-Green Bay is good because he's constantly growing as a player.
"There's no doubt his ceiling, his sky, is whatever Alec Brown wants it to be," says UW-GB head basketball coach Eric Wardle.
Brown admits he got a wake-up call during his first official workout with the Phoenix as a freshman.8808430
"I realized how out of shape I was then. I had no clue how out of shape I was until workouts started last year. I was just dying all the time," Browns says with a smile.
Despite being taller than everyone he played against, The UW-GB center was also being pushed around a lot on the court.
"He kind of has a target on his back, people see him as a big body to hit," says sophomore guard Kam Cerroni.
Now, as a second-year player Brown is seeing progress.
"I've grown in many ways I feel," says Brown. "I've gotten bigger, gained about 10-15 pounds since last year so that has helped a lot."
"I've been getting it down low in the post more often and playing a lot more physical."
Wardle says increased confidence has benefitted Brown as much as anything else.
"He's a lot more aggressive," Wardle says following a recent practice as the Phoenix prepared for rivals UW-Milwaukee.
"A bit more of an attitude, which is what I want, and he knows he needs."
That has led to an increase in production, and Brown is showing flashes of the player that dominated at times at Winona Senior High School.
As a senior, the 7-footer averaged 22 points, almost 10 rebounds and five blocks a game for a Winhawks team that posted a program-best 29-2 record, and a 3rd place finish in the MSHSL Class AAA State Tournament.
Brown set seven school records at Winona, but recently he's garnered attention in Green Bay for some other record-setting feats.
On February 4th Brown picked up the 134th blocked shot of his career against MIlwaukee. That was good enough to make him the all-time career leader at Green Bay...as just a sophomore.
Brown also recently broke his own single-season blocks record he originally set his freshman season.
Brown is in the top ten in the Horizon League in scoring, and in the top three in blocks and rebounds. He realizes there is still room to grow in his game.
"The only thing holding me back is strength," says Brown who weighed in at recently 220 pounds, the most he's ever weighed.
"I think he grows every day," adds Cerroni. Not just last year to this year. Whether it is gaining weight or working on different moves. Defensively, he has such a better feel for the game."
"I don't ease up on him," says Wardle.
"I think he wouldn't want it any other way. He does want to reach the dream of winning a championship here at Green Bay and hopefully play at the highest level, which I think he's very capable of doing."
"I'd love to play in the NBA some day," admits Brown.
"Obviously I need to put a lot of work in my game and do a lot of stuff. But I'll try my best."
For now the 7-footer settles for a smaller token to show how far he's come.
That game where Brown set the all-time blocks record just so happened to be on Alec Brown bobble-head day.