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July 17, 2019

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Centennial grad Troy Brown more confident in summer return to Las Vegas

Troy Brown Washington Wizards

John Locher / AP

Washington Wizards’ Troy Brown Jr. shoots over the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half of an NBA Summer League basketball game Monday, July 9, 2018, in Las Vegas.

Troy Brown had a message for Las Vegas fans after leading his Washington Wizards over New Orleans on the second night of the NBA Summer League on Saturday: If you see him out about town, don’t be shy.

The Centennial High product and former Gatorade State Player of the Year is back in Vegas for his second summer league with the Wizards, and he’s feeling more confident than he did during his rookie experience last year.

Brown said he was anxious about playing in front of the hometown crowd in 2018, just weeks after being selected with the No. 15 pick in the draft. But he appeared at ease on Saturday as he scored a team-high 18 points (6-of-15 from the field) and ripped down 15 rebounds in his 31 minutes.

Brown said he drew energy from the large crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center.

“I still had a little bit of jitters when I started out, but as soon as I scored my first points I was okay,” Brown said. “I was good. Especially playing at home. I love Vegas, so just being in front of a home crowd gave me a little bit of jitters. But nothing better than playing here.”

As a rookie, Brown played in 52 games for Washington and averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14.0 minutes.

He said controlling his emotions has been a major part of his growth as a player.

“My biggest thing is just my maturity. Last year I was focused on the wrong things and not realizing that it’s just basketball. I put so much pressure on it. I wanted to be so great, so fast, and that’s not how it works. I have to learn and keep getting better at my speed.”

As the Wizards didn’t play on Friday, Brown spent the night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center watching the WNBA game between the Las Vegas Aces and the Washington Mystics.

When Brown goes out in Las Vegas, he said the big difference between last summer and now is that people recognize him on a more regular basis. And he likes it.

Brown is happy to engage with his local fans.

“It definitely makes me feel good, especially because of the way I try to carry myself,” Brown said. “It’s definitely good for me, especially if it’s somebody that’s born and raised from Las Vegas.”

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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