College basketball: North Rowan’s Brown signs with Shaw
By Mike London
Shaw University owns a recruiting advantage it never knew it had.
“Right there in front of the school,” former North Rowan standout Shemieka Brown said in a gleeful tone. “I’ll be eating there a lot. Like every morning.”
A daily Egg McMuffin won’t hurt the wiry Brown, who will burn any excess calories on the basketball floor.
Brown has played ball at Wilkes Community College the past two seasons. She’ll finish her courses there in a few weeks. After that, she’ll report to Division II Shaw, a CIAA school in Raleigh.
The 5-foot-6 Brown was one of five late recruits announced by Shaw. Junior college teammate Victoria Tanner, a 5-11 forward who led Wilkes in scoring, is also part of the signing class.
Fortunately for Shaw, Brown does things well besides eat. A standout in basketball, track and tennis at North, she won major honors that included Rowan County Girls Basketball Player of the Year in 2007 and Rowan County Female Athlete of the Year for the 2006-07 school year.
Most of Brown’s athletic success stems from her springy legs. In the Central Carolina Conference Meet her senior year, she won the triple jump, was second in the high jump and took third in the long jump.
She started playing tennis late ó seventh grade ó after watching Serena and Venus Williams on television, but Brown made enough strides to become a regional doubles qualifier as a junior and North’s No. 2 singles player as a senior.
While Brown was good at tennis and very good in track, it was obvious early on that her future was in basketball.
A four-year starter for the Cavaliers, Brown in 2006 helped North share the only conference championship its girls basketball program has ever won.
Her scoring average rose each season ó 10.0, 11.3, 15.0, 16.2 ó and she finished her career with 1,358 points. She is North’s No. 4 all-time scorer behind a trio of D-I players ó Sophilia Hipps, Stephanie Cross and Megan Honeycutt.
The biggest shot of Brown’s prep career came as a junior, when she knocked down a wing 3-pointer at the horn to beat East Davidson on the road. The biggest roll of her life came when she scored the Cavs’ last 11 points to beat Salisbury and personally end North’s 12-game losing streak to the Hornets.
Brown has always been able to score, but her role changed at Wilkes. She embraced learning point guard skills, which allowed her passing and ballhandling to improve.
“There was one game this season when I made five 3s, but I’ve stopped shooting a lot,” Brown said. “I’m penetrating a lot more now and getting a lot of assists.”
As a sophomore, Brown helped the Wilkes Cougars share the conference championship. She averaged 5.5 points, 1.9 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals for a balanced team. She remembers playing 38 minutes one night, but usually Wilkes rotated lots of people.
Brown made 19 3-pointers in her second season. She shot 35 percent from the field and 58 percent at the foul line.
Shaw spotted Brown when Wilkes competed at Rockingham Community College in the Region X Tournament in late February. Shaw coaches liked her potential as a point guard.
That first sighting led to phone conversations between Brown and Shaw assistant coach Ebony Moore and visits by Brown to the downtown Raleigh campus.
Brown also drew recruiting interest from Johnson C. Smith, Morris, Wayne State and Southern Wesleyan, but Shaw probably had her as soon as she spotted those convenient golden arches.
Brown plans to major in sports management at Shaw and is convinced Wilkes was the right place at the right time for her academically and athletically after she graduated from North.
“Wilkes is so small with nothing to do around there, but it’s a good school with helpful teachers,” Brown said. “I struggled at first, and at times it’s been crazy, but I was able to get through it. Now I’m going to a bigger school in the city. It’s all good. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
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