The first recruiting pitch from C.W. Post to Jalyn Brown came when she was about 7 or 8 years old.
“One of the coaches actually coached me in a little camp that we had and she always said I want to recruit you,” said Brown, a Riverhead senior. “It’s surprising that she remembered me.”
Brown, a two-time all-county player who has run the point for the Blue Waves since her freshman season, accepted a full scholarship offer from C.W. Post to continue her basketball career starting next year. She became the first Riverhead girls basketball player to accept a scholarship offer in at least a decade.
An electrifying guard who can weave her way through the defense or drain shots from beyond the arc, Brown has been the cornerstone for Riverhead since becoming a starter in her freshman season. She came up to varsity as an eighth-grader to play off the bench on Riverhead’s league championship team in 2007-08. From that point, she knew she had the potential in basketball to play beyond high school.
“That was a big step for me in eighth grade,” she said. “Then the following year starting and basically being the leader of the team because we lost six seniors that year.”
She’ll take another huge step next year when she suits up for the Pioneers, a Division II program that posted a 17-13 overall record last year.
“It’s a great day for her and her family,” said Riverhead coach Dave Spinella.
Brown started looking at schools last year. She sat down with Spinella to sort through which schools offered her major and to see how there basketball programs were. When she took an official visit at C.W. Post, she saw herself fitting in perfectly with the team.
At C.W. Post Brown plans to major in physical education with an eye toward the physical therapy program for graduate school. A high honor roll student in addition to her prowess on the court, Brown has long wanted to pursue physical therapy.
“Last year I studied athletic training and injuries as an elective in one of my classes and I was really interested in bones and muscles and how to fix them,” she said. “I saw that C.W. post had physical education and then I could take grad school for physical therapy.”
Brown is a year-round basketball player, who learned the game from her father Keith, a one-time basketball player for Riverhead. Brown spent the summer playing with Riverhead in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League as well for the New York City Elite, an Amateur Athletic Union team based in New York City.
Brown helped make a name for herself this fall when she won MVP honors of the Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic, a game featuring top players from Suffolk and Nassau County at Molloy College. Suffolk won 84-79.
Spinella credited Brown’s family for helping her reach her goal.
“It’s really a testament to the family and all the hard work they’ve put in,” he said. “I’ve just been lucky. I’m a benefit just having her as my point guard.”
Spinella said Brown has never missed a game or practice in five years.
“She works so hard all year round,” he said.
Before heading off to college Brown will look to make the most of her final season with the Blue Waves. Riverhead returned its entire lineup from last year and the Blue Waves have gotten off to a good start. The Blue Waves won the Peconic Classic last weekend in their home gym and will face a tough challenge Saturday when they travel to Deer Park, the defending county champion.
“There’s six or seven of us seniors who really want to do something this year,” Brown said.