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Iowa State Daily

Addy Brown: Iowa State’s new Swiss Army knife

Tyler Coe
Addy Brown shoots a three pointer against Kansas at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 3, 2023.

AMES — After helping lead Iowa State to a commanding four-game winning streak heading into the Big 12 tournament, freshman forward Addy Brown reflected on the remarkable start she has had to her collegiate career.

“Looking back, I think I’ve done a pretty good job. There are always things I can work on and I plan to do that as we finish out our season, but it’s been great so far,” Brown said.

Brown finished second on the team in scoring (13.3) while leading the Cyclones in rebounding (8.4), assists (4.9) and minutes played (33.4). Brown was also the only Cyclone to play and start in all 28 games this season, as she has played an integral part in Iowa State’s success.

Even during the season, Brown had been honored with the Big 12 Freshman of the Week award to start out the 2024 year, as she helped lead the Cyclones with 19 points and 10.5 rebounds per game to big wins over Kansas and BYU during her dominant week.

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly credits Browns’ success this season while highlighting the work she has put into the game that has seen her thrive through the first 28 games of Brown’s collegiate career.

“I think she’s played great,” Fennelly said. “You look at her numbers and she fills the stat sheet. She’s an active participant in the game and loves the responsibility we’ve put on her. I’d say it’s been a really, really good season for her and I’d be shocked if she didn’t finish it in a really, really positive way.”

But for Brown, this came as no surprise that she has been a multi-faceted basketball player, as she helped lead her high school team to a state championship appearance with very similar statistics.

Coming out of Derby, Kansas, Brown attended Derby High School and helped lead the Panthers to a Class 6A State Tournament runner-up finish in 2023. In her final year at Derby, Brown averaged 20.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game in 21 games.

With these numbers, Brown was honored as the 2022-23 Gatorade Kansas Girls Basketball Player of the Year and was a McDonald’s All-American selection, which showcases the best of the best coming out of high school.

It wasn’t the first time a former Derby High School native won the Gatorade Kansas Girls Basketball Player of the Year award or was awarded a spot in the McDonald’s All-American game, as these honors have already run their course through a different member of the Brown family.

Addy Brown’s older sister, Kennedy Brown, was awarded these honors following her astounding 2018-19 season, where she led the Panthers to a deep run in the Class 6A State Tournament. In that stellar season, Kennedy Brown averaged 17.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.8 blocks and 1.8 steals in 21 games.

Despite being four years apart, Addy Brown has always looked up to her older sister and believes that she wouldn’t be at this stage of her life without Kennedy Brown.

“It’s been really cool,” Addy Brown said. “I looked up to her at a very young age. We were four years apart, so she was always my role model and seeing her accomplish everything made me realize what I wanted to do. So being able to accomplish the same things coming out of high school was really cool.”

Kennedy Brown is a senior at Duke and has helped lead the Blue Devils to a 19-10 record. While the Brown sisters aren’t in the same conference, the bond is as strong as ever between the Derby stars.

Addy Brown joined Iowa State guard and fellow Kansas native Emily Ryan who also played her high school days in the Sunflower State. Contrary to Addy Brown’s days in Derby, Ryan grew up and played Claflin, Kansas and attended Central Plains High School.

At Central Plains, Ryan ended her campaign with the Oilers with a bang as she helped lead them to a Class 2A state championship during the 2017-18 season. That season, Ryan was also awarded the Gatorade Kansas Girls Basketball Player of the Year with 34.5 points, 6.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds and six steals per game average.

But now having shared a full regular season with Addy Brown, Ryan sees the way how she approaches the game and believes that her future can only grow brighter for the young Cyclones forward.

Addy Brown runs to the Iowa State bench after Baylor calls a timeout at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 13, 2024. (Tyler Coe)

“[Addy Brown] has a feel for the game that a lot of freshmen don’t have,” Ryan said. “For [Addy Brown] to have that naturally coming in was huge. She puts so much work in and to see her being so successful this season has been really fun.”

Especially earlier in the season, when Ryan dealt with an injury that kept her out for most non-conference play, the floor general for Iowa State was a glaring issue that needed to be filled.

Addy Brown stepped up to fill this role after having prior experience being the primary ball handler in her days at Derby, as she helped facilitate the young Cyclones offense while providing a heavy defensive presence.

Even when Ryan made her first appearance of the season back in December against Troy, Addy Browns’ role stayed relatively the same and made it difficult for opposing teams to gameplan for a forward who can handle the ball just like a point guard.

Fennelly saw Addy Brown’s ability to facilitate an offense back in her days at Derby, as he believes that she is one of the select few who understands what she wants to do with the ball in her hands.

“That was one of the things when we brought her here,” Fennelly said. “She passes the ball as well as any high school kid I’ve ever seen and that includes point guards. She really understands what she wants to do.”

But when having this passing ability that Addy Brown has comes with some missed opportunities, as Fennelly talks about how she could sometimes benefit from taking more shots than making the extra pass.

“We’ve tried to make her be a little more selfish since she tends to pass it more than shoot it which I think is a compliment for her,” Fennelly said.

Now, with the postseason starting to kick into gear for Iowa State with high aspirations, Fennelly will look to utilize Addy Browns’ skill set for the remainder of their season and throughout the rest of her time as a Cyclone.

“She’s got an upside that’s through the roof,” Fennelly said. “She’s so skilled, physically she’s ready for this league and she’s tough minded with a little edge that good players have. She wants to be a really good basketball player and have an impact on a lot of things and she’s done that so far and I’m really excited for what’s ahead for her.”

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