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Jeannette's Duke Brown follows pattern set by Kobe Bryant

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Duke Brown, a senior at Jeannette High School, is a shooting guard for the Jayhawks. Kristie Linden | The Jeannette Spirit

Duke Brown, a senior at Jeannette High School, is a shooting guard for the playoff-bound Jayhawks basketball team.

Brown got his start on the basketball court as a 7-year- old in the Knee High program. He became interested in basketball watching professional basketball players — specifically Kobe Bryant, who has played for the Los Angeles Lakers since 1996.

“He's a complete player,” Brown said. “He carries his team. He's an all-out leader. I want to be like that.”Brown has been playing basketball ever since and enjoys scoring the most. As a shooting guard, Brown said he is responsible for rebounds, passing, playing defense and being a complete player.

He hasn't set personal goals for this season in particular, but his sights are set on team goals.

“As a team we want to win the WPIAL and win the states. We want to be a winner.”

As Brown's final games as a Jayhawk approach, he said, “It feels good. Coach (Adrian) Batts is more relaxed on the seniors and tougher on the younger guys.

“I'm going to miss it a lot. I'll miss the guys. I like hanging out with the team all the time. They're all funny, every last one of them. They respect me, I respect them.”

After his graduation this spring, Brown hopes to go to college and play basketball. He wants to study business management, but he isn't sure what school he will attend. His mother, Deborah Brown, will play a key role in how far away from home he chooses to go for college.

He likes the idea of business management because Brown is ready to be a leader.

“Before you can lead you need to be a follower first,” he said. “I followed all these years, it's my time to lead now.”He has a father-son relationship with Batts and said, “I think we built that type of chemistry this year. He's like a dad to me, I learn a lot from him.”

This season, which is drawing to a close, has been going well for him and Brown said his highlight was a 39-point night against Springdale.

“I felt like I couldn't miss. I thank my teammates for giving me the ball.”As the playoffs draw near, Brown said he and his teammates will be more focused in practice. “It's time to work.”

Last year, Brown participated in the AAU basketball league, but he is unsure if he will play in the league again this year.

“The main thing is to keep my grades up,” and find a good college, said Brown.

“Basketball always helps me stay out of trouble and my Grandma (Mamie Crawford) always liked it when I played basketball,” he said. “I'm playing for her, she's still watching me every game.”

Brown has three brothers, Darius, Derrick and Demetrius Brown.

He would like to thank his mother and his aunts, Toni Crawford and Pebbles Crawford, “for always being there for me.”

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at klinden@tribweb.com or 724-838-5154.

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