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Season in Review: Chaundee Brown’s importance was immeasurable

He played a huge role off the bench.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Louisiana State at Michigan Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We were not sure what to expect from Chaundee Brown when he decided to transfer from Wake Forest to Michigan. A former starter at Wake Forest, Michigan was hoping for a solid rotational piece and someone who could lead the second unit. But, the Wolverines got so much more than that from a guy that did not get all the appreciation he deserved throughout the 2020-21 season.

Chaundee Brown Stats

Brown averaged 8.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 0.6 assists in 20.6 minutes per game in the 2020-21 campaign. He was the first man off the bench that often provided a spark when the second unit began to take the court. These numbers were down from his junior season at Wake Forest where he scored 12.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per contest.

The difference was Brown’s efficiency on the offensive end. At his former school, he struggled to find his niche in the system. He played a lot on the interior for a wing and was shooting the ball from all over the court.

Juwan Howard saw something different, though. Brown became Michigan’s 3-and-D wing who was almost always planted in the corner on offensive sets. Whether it was a kick out directly from Hunter Dickinson in the middle, or a series of swing passes from end-to-end of the perimeter, Chaundee became one of the most lethal shooters in the country from the corner.

At Wake Forest, Brown shot 32.8 percent from deep in three seasons averaging 3.2 long balls per game. In his last season at Michigan, he attempted 2.8 three’s per contest and converted at a 41.9 percent clip. Clearly, there was a significant difference in his shooting consistency in a much similar volume of attempts, and that is because he took a majority of his shots from his hot zones in the corners.

If he wasn’t kept in check by opposing defenses, he had the capability to take over basketball games. He scored 21 points and led the comeback over LSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Brown also scored 15 points off the bench against Ohio State in a big 92-87 win in Columbus. Overall, Brown had 10 double-digit performances off the bench for the Wolverines this season.

His shooting and effort caused him to quickly emerged as a fan favorite. If you needed a board or someone to dive on the ground to snag a loose ball, Chaundee Brown was your guy. Not only that, but he showed a bit of a clutch gene as well hitting some big shots late in the season against Ohio State, LSU, and UCLA.

While Brown was much improved on the offensive end, he stayed consistent with his defensive approach. Outside of Franz Wagner and Eli Brooks, Brown may have been the best defender on this team. Howard typically put Wagner on the best wings and Brooks/Brown on the best guards of their opponents. Coming off the bench kept all three fresh as they were relied on heavily on both ends.

Onto the next level

Many hoped that he would be one of the seniors to return given the NCAA’s ruling to allow an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 wiping out last year’s postseason. He likely would have been given an expanded role in 2021-22 as a starter.

However, Brown elected to move on from Ann Arbor after a season where he earned a significant amount of notice helping a major program like Michigan make an Elite Eight run. He even earned him the respect of one media outlet as ESPN put him as No. 77 prospects on their 2021 NBA Draft big board.

The exposure he got from Michigan and his spectacular play off the bench may be just enough to earn him a spot on a G-League team and fight for an NBA roster spot. Who knows? With some good workouts for NBA teams, he may even find himself being worth a late second-round flier. If not, there will definitely be a role for him overseas.

Every team at every level could use more guys like Chaundee Brown. The 3-and-D wing is one of the more utilized positions in the NBA today. With Brown’s tenacity and energy, he could claw his way onto an NBA roster at some point in his career if he can develop more off the dribble and expand his shooting skills towards the middle of the court.

It will be very difficult for Michigan to replace the value they had with Chaundee Brown off the bench. He would likely have been a starter on 95 percent of NCAA Division I rosters. Instead, he played with a winners’ attitude and did whatever Howard and this coaching staff asked him to do while bringing a veteran mindset to the game. That is invaluable in today’s college basketball. Brown’s time in Ann Arbor was rather short, but the legacy he helped this team build will not soon be forgotten.