This weekend, Anthony Brown is being entertained by the city of Las Vegas for the first time ever — the lights, the high-stakes casinos, the billion-dollar hotels, an entire setup created to inspire awe and amazement.

Finally, someone is returning the favor.

A 6-7 junior for the Central Oklahoma men’s basketball team, Brown is in Las Vegas for the High Desert Classic on Saturday and Sunday. The basketball player and the city that never sleeps is a pairing that should’ve been made a long time ago.

Brown is a one-man thrill show all by himself. His long arms and ridiculous vertical have bonded to form the kind of highlight show that hasn’t been seen around Edmond since the days of NBA starter Eddie Robinson.

Dunks, blocks, sky-scraping rebounds, you name it. The new kid at UCO has done everything he can to get people to stand and applaud.

“I’ve never had a player who I could make a highlight tape on in eight games,” UCO head coach Terry Evans said. “I do now.”

A transfer from Northern Junior College in Tonkawa, Brown is leading the Bronchos in scoring at 17.8 points per game, is pulling down 6.9 rebounds a contest and has a team-high six blocks.

UCO doesn’t keep a stat for alley-oop dunks, but it’s quite possible Brown could be leading all of NCAA Division II in that. Two weeks ago, against Oklahoma Christian University, he threw down five dunks in the second half alone, three of them on alley-oops. One of the assisted slams was even a reverse, which sent the crowd at Hamilton Fieldhouse into a frenzy.

It also was against OC back on Nov. 19 that Brown first got his reputation for a rim assaulter, as he got on a fastbreak and dunked right in the face of Eagles’ shot-block specialist Micah Miles.

“When he’s on a fast break, the chances are pretty good that somebody’s getting dunked on,” Evans said. “He’s going to finish it whether there’s a defense there or not. He doesn’t care.”

Brown isn’t just a highlight show, however. Aside from leading the team in several statistical categories, his presence has allowed the Bronchos to have one of the best post games in the country.

Now that Brown is in town, UCO can go to either he or 6-8 Joe Kennerly and pound away at opponents down low, getting teams into foul trouble and wearing them down.

“A lot of teams in our division don’t have an inside-outside game, but we do,” Brown said. “If you’ve got two people inside that you can throw to, it makes us more dangerous.”

A left-handed shooter, Brown is able to post up on the left block and use that baseline in a way many right-handers rarely do. Of course, he only shoots left-handed and does everything else in normal life with his right, meaning he’s not afraid to take it to the rim with his right either.

“Everybody knows by now that I’m going to go left, so I really can’t use it to an advantage anymore,” he said. “But I really don’t have a problem using my right, either.”

Evans is still wondering how Brown even ended up at UCO. After starring at Northern for two seasons, both the University of Oklahoma and Oral Roberts University showed interest, only to back out at the last minute.

Fortunately for the Bronchos, the Stillwater native still wanted to stay in-state.

“We were surprised OU didn’t take him early, then we were really shocked when ORU turned him down to take Marcello Vealy,” Evans said. “Tulsa and OSU didn’t offer and he wanted to stay in-state, so that’s how we got him. We put the time and energy into recruiting him, but we really didn’t feel like we’d get him.

“He’s meant a lot. I thought he would be a difference-maker and he’s been a difference-maker. It’s his defense, his rebounding, he can score, he’s a super kid, a super athlete and, more importantly, he’s a super person.”

Evans is convinced all of the Division I colleges in Oklahoma made a mistake by not nabbing Brown when they had the chance. He believes the style of basketball played at NOC disguised the forward’s ability some.

“At Northern, they played kind of a slow tempo, so most coaches didn’t know how good he could be,” Evans said. “We felt like he’d be better in an up-tempo, but we didn’t even realize how good until we saw him in practice.”

The cherry on top is the fact that Brown is only a junior, meaning Evans and Co. still have a year-and-a-half to utilize their new star. And the best news for fans, is Brown has made a guarantee that there’ll be even more spectacular plays.

“I’m going to be getting up there higher next year,” he said. “The dunks will be better.”

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