Brown Basketball Set to Open 2017-18 Season Against Johnson & Wales

Saturday, November 11, 2017
Joe Calabro, GoLocalProv Sports Team

Obi Okolie
The Brown Bears men’s basketball team is set to open their 112th season on Saturday when they host Johnson & Wales at the Pizzitola Center.

After going 13-17 last season, the Bears return this season with three of their five starters from last season and six freshmen.

“I’ve been really pleased with the way the team is working so far. I am excited about what I think we can become, we definitely have a lot of work to do, but we got some guys that are eager to learn. There is a great hunger with this group and a really good competitive spirit that I think is going to help us out as we get started,” said Brown head coach Mike Martin.

Tip-off for the Johnson & Wales game is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 11. 

Who is Returning

The Bears return three key players for the 2017-18 season in junior Obi Okolie, sophomore Joshua Howard, and sophomore Brandon Anderson.

Okolie is Brown’s top returning scorer after averaging nine points and four rebounds per game last season.

He started 29 of 30 games for Brown last season.

Howard is returning for his sophomore season after starting 22 of 30 games for Brown last season. He ranked fourth in the Ivy League and first on the team in field goal percentage, shooting 51% from the field.

He averaged 8.7 points per game and reached double figures 11 times.

Anderson will lead the Bears backcourt after averaging 8.2 points per game for Brown as a freshman last season.

Anderson ranked 5th in the Ivy League with 1.3 steals per game, and poured in a career-high 21 points vs. Penn, hitting 5-of-10 field goals and 10-of-11 free throws.

He started 28 of 30 games on the year.

The Newcomers

The newcomers in Brown’s frontcourt include Barrington’s Matt DeWolf and Tamenang Choh.

DeWolf is a rugged forward, who averaged 10.4 points and 6.3 rebounds as a senior at Northfield Mt. Hermon. 

“He's really developed into a strong, physical, and highly competitive frontcourt player.  He brings great size and strength, which will allow him to be strong interior defender and rebounder.  He's also a good low post scorer and has the ability to play at the high post and handle the ball on the perimeter, great qualities for a frontcourt player in our system,” said Martin.

Choh was an All-ISL selection at the Brooks School and MVP of the NEPSAC Class B Championship.

“He will be able to rebound, defend, and finish high above the rim.  He also possesses the ability to handle the ball on the perimeter and is a very good passer.  He hasn't lost a game in well over a calendar year as his AAU team (Mass Rivals) went undefeated on the Adidas circuit last summer and his Brooks team went undefeated and won the New England Prep School Class B Championship this past winter,” said Martin.

Brown’s backcourt will be bolstered by 6’3” freshman Jake Shaper out of The Kinkaid School.

"Jake comes to us from Kincaid High School in Houston, TX and from another really good high school program. He's a highly competitive young man and very capable of scoring the ball from the perimeter or in the paint. He possesses a strong work ethic and plays the game with a relentless approach. He has good size on the wing and will add a physical presence to our unit."

Shaper will be joined in the backcourt by Desmond Cambridge out of The Hun School in New Jersey. While there, he averaged 17 points and five rebounds per game as a senior.

"Desmond has an impressive combination of athletic ability, basketball skills, and a competitive fire that we think will allow him to make a significant contribution to our program.  He's a very good shooter, both from 3-point range and from the mid-range, and is an explosive finisher at the rim.  He also has very good size and length, giving him the potential to be an outstanding defender and rebounder at the guard position.  He's played for two terrific programs at Ensworth and the Hun School,” said Martin.

George Mawanda-Kalema out of Burke, Virginia and Episcopal high school. In high school, he averaged 20 points, five rebounds and two assists as a senior.

"George comes to Brown fresh off a fantastic career at Episcopal, a terrific basketball program in the IAC, which is a very good private school league in the Washington DC area.  He has good length and quickness, can handle the ball, and should be a good perimeter defender.  Above all else, George is a scorer.  He's a lethal 3-point shooter with deep range, he can shoot it off the bounce, and just has a knack for scoring,” said Martin.

Looking Ahead

Joshua Howard
Following their game against Johnson & Wales, Brown hits the road for three straight games where they will play Quinnipiac, St. Francis Brooklyn and Stony Brook before returning home to play LIU Brooklyn.

Brown then visits in-state rivals Bryant and the University of Rhode Island before hosting Central Connecticut on December 2.

A visit to Providence and Northwestern with home games against UMass Lowell, Marist, and NJIT rounds out the non-conference schedule.

The Bears open Ivy League play against Yale on January 12.

  • Cedric Kuakumensah

    Class of 2016

    Cedric Kuakumensah is the only player in Ivy League history to score 1,000 points, grab 900 rebounds and block 200 shots. 

    Kuakumensah also is the Ivy league all-time leader with 311 blocked shots, while his 1,181 points rank 16th all-time at Brown and his 907 rebounds rank 4th all time. 

    Kuakumensah averaged 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots per game in his career. 

     
  • Russ Tyler

    Class of 1971

    In addition to being one of the program's greatest players of all-time, Tyler has also been it's biggest supporter remaining close to the Brown basketball for the past 4 decades. There is no one who is more positive in his support of the coaches and players who wear the brown and white. Russ holds the second highest scoring average in the Brown record book, averaging 22.7 points per game for the Bears in 1970-71... His 46-points and 18 field goals against Rhode Island in 1971 rank second in Brown history... Ranks 10th in career scoring average with 15.1 points per game... His 568 points in 1970-71 was a Brown record at the time and still second in Brown's record book... Scored 1,133 career points... ECAC All-East selection... Also owned the Brown records for career assists, consecutive free throws, free throw percentage and most field goals in a season.

     
  • Mike Cingiser

    Class of 1962

    A tough-as-nails player and coach for Brown whose accomplishments on the court and the bench were as good as anyone. Netted 1,331 points from 1959-1962, the Brown record at the time, and now fifth... Only one of three Brown players to be a three-time first team All-Ivy selection... Went on to coach the Bears to their only Ivy League Championship in 1986, posting a 16-11 record, 10-4 Ivy, while advancing to the NCAA Tournament against Syracuse... His team play was evidenced by his leading the team in assists and was second in rebounding throughout his varsity career... Tossed in 492 career field goals, still sixth in the Brown record book.

     
  • Damon Huffman

    Class of 2008

    The prototypical "gym rat," Huffman scored 1,306 points in his illustrious career at Brown. He finished his career in style scoring 39 points in a loss to the Ohio Bobcats the College Basketball Invitational Tournament. Huffman drained a school record 9 three-pointers in that game and graduated as Brown's all-time leading 3-point shooter. He teamed up with Barrington's Mark McAndrew to lead the 2007-2008 team to a school-record 19 wins under then head coach Craig Robinson.

     
  • Sean McGonagill

    Class of 2014

    Brown fans will get to see one of their all-time greats play at least one more game Monday night when the Bears host Holy Cross in the CIT. Heading into the game, McGonagill is the school's 3rd all-time leading scorer with 1,608 points. His 257 career treys are the most of any player in Brown history and his 519 assists are second all-time. Recently named First Team All-Ivy, McGonagill showed his amazing toughness as a freshman when he returned to play quickly after an accident in which his upper lip ripped away from his face. Despite 30+ stitches and doctor recommendations to not play for 4 weeks, he returned less than 48 hours after that accident with a mask on where he proceeded to light up the Columbia Lions with a career-high 39 points.

     
  • Alai Nuualiitia

    Class of 2003

    Recognized as Brown's "Iron Man," having started every game in his four-year Brown career, encompassing 110 games... Scored 1,344 career points, fourth on Brown's all-time list... Held the Brown career record with 119 blocked shots at the time of his graduation... His shooting percentage of .617 (126 of 206) in 2002-03 is second in Brown history... Ranks fifth in career field goal percentage (.557)... Helped Brown to an NIT appearance in 2003, and to a school record 57 victories in his four-year career.

     
  • Mike Waitkus

    Class of 1986

    Brown's all-time assists leader with 577 career assists... Scored 1,165 career points... Brown's first ever Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1983... Holds Brown records for free throw percentage in a season (.898, 97 of 108 in 1983), and a career (.861, 279 of 324)... His 5.8 assists per game in 1983-84 is also a Brown record... Helped Brown to its first ever Ivy League Championship in 1986... Averaged 5.5 assists per game for his career, a Brown record... Two-time All-Ivy selection.

     
  • Phillip Brown

    Class of 1975

    Holds Brown all-time record for rebounding with 931 rebounds... Scored 1,241 career points... His 24 rebounds against Dartmouth are third in the Brown record book... Helped spark the Bears to 30 wins in three years at Brown, a record at the time... Three-time All-Ivy selection, twice a first team honoree... All-New England selection and team captains in both his junior and senior years... Set Brown and New England records for field goal percentage, and Brown records for rebounding. He accomplished this in just 3 years of play as freshman were not allowed to play varsity basketball in Brown's era.

     
  • Jason Forte

    Class of 2005

    The brother of former North Carolina Tarheel and Boston Celtic Joe Forte, Jason was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2004... His cat-like quickness made him almost impossible to guard... Three-time first team All-Ivy selection... Scored 1,597 career points, third in Brown history... Posted the Ivy League's first "Tiny," leading the league in both scoring (21.4 ppg.) and assists (5.79 apg) as a junior... Set a single-season Brown record with 155 assists in 2002-2003... Completed his career ranked first in steals (192), second in assists (524), second in free throws (536), seventh in three-point field goals (121), and tenth in field goals (469)... AP All-American as a junior.

     
  • Arnie Berman

    Class of 1972

    Arnie Berman was Earl Hunt long before Earl Hunt was born! A prolific scorer who compiled his gaudy stats in just 3 years of varsity play. Held the Brown scoring record for over 30 years with 1,668 career points... Holds Brown seasonal records for points (658 in 1971-72), scoring average (25.3 ppg in 1971-72) and free throws (250 in 1971-72), and career marks for free throws (636), and scoring average (21.6 ppg)... Connected on 25 of 26 free throws vs. Cornell in 1972... Ranks third in career rebounding (878) and rebounding average (11.4 rpg.)... First team All-Ivy selection in 1972... Held 17 Ivy League, Brown and New England scoring records... Led all New England scorers as a senior with 25.3 points per game, earning New England Player of the Year honors.

     
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