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'Focused, not panicked': Jaedyn Brown leading Pullman's Class 2A state title hopes with cool head, hot hand

His pre-game routines include jokes and classical music. On the court, the uncommitted senior has become a walking highlight reel in his best season yet.

SPOKANE - In tense moments, Travis Brown has begun to marvel at his son, Pullman senior guard Jaedyn Brown.

A recent example comes to mind. Pullman was tied at halftime for the first time all season in the WIAA District 8 championship at West Valley (Spokane), when Jaedyn Brown shrugged off doubles, presses and defensive traps and rattled off 13 straight points.

And never once looked fazed.

"He really pulled us away," said Travis Brown, also an assistant coach at Pullman. "I think that was the first time I was like 'wow, they did everything in their power and he rose to the occasion.' "

Brown is among the state of Washington's leading scorers (28 points, five assists, five boards per game) and is the cool-handed stabilizing force leading top-seeded Pullman's Class 2A hunt — a trip filled with wishful vengeance after a state runner-up finish in 2022.

His evolution into one of the state's most dynamic scorers has been remarkable.

This season alone, he's crossed defenders to their knees. Made two defenders crash collide with a crossover. Flushed more than a dunk per game. Posted two 40-point nights. And made more than half his 3-point attempts.

Pullman coach Craig Brantner describes Jaedyn as an infectiously good teammate whose calming presence translates into a lead-by-example role on the court, and someone who keeps the mood light in the locker room.

Brown and fellow senior Tanner Barbour say Pullman's locker room soundtrack includes anything from classical music, to hip-hop and everything in between. 

"He's a fun-filled kid," said Brantner, who led the Greyhounds to 2A titles in 2013 and 2014. "People like being around him. He kind of rallies kids."

He was born in Moscow, Idaho (near Pullman) but grew up in Rhode Island and Wyoming, where his dad's career as a postdoctoral neuroscientist and college professor, took a job at Washington State

For years, Jaedyn was cerebral, skilled, but vastly undersized, which required finding ways to earn his way onto the floor.

His ball-handling earned him a spot in the rotation as a 5-foot-5 freshman at Laramie (Wyoming), and it was his scoring and playmaking ability that vaulted him to a Wyoming first team all-state selection as a sophomore.

"He looked like a sixth grader out there playing," Brantner said. "He looked out of place. But if you left him wide open, he'd nail it."

Jaedyn grew three inches to 6-foot-4 from the start of his junior year to his senior year, and his game is still reaping the benefits. 

Brantner posts him up, and he's added an ability to play above the rim. 

He's become more explosive, his coaches say, and added length and strength have allowed him to better blow by defenders and finish through contact — all while breaking his own school single season made 3-pointers record set as a junior record with 111 on the year at a 54 percent clip.

His first in-game dunk came last June. He's flushed 26 (and counting) this season while having his most productive year yet.

"Finishing through contact and above people is a big thing," Jaedyn Brown said. "Working on coming to a jump stop, getting in and finishing through contact is a big part of my game."

Where does his calm confidence come from? 

From solace in the constant work outside of the practice and games he puts in. He might not be able to jump over anyone — yet — but he's confident he's outworked opponents.

[Road to Yakima: Washington high school (WIAA) Class 2A state boys basketball preview]

On Sunday, the day after the Greyhounds' regional round win over R.A. Long, Jaedyn Brown and his dad went to Pullman to go through an off-day shooting routine. 

They followed a familiar pattern: getting shots up with a weighted basketball, a drill where he shoots 3s from seven different spots until he makes 10 in a row then moves into 15 feet and does the same, and defensive slide drills.

He's been doing many of those same drills since he was the smallest kid on the floor just a couple years ago.

Power 5 coaches have told Brantner they are wary of Jaedyn's lean frame (6-foot-4, 160 pounds). He's on track to be two years ahead on college too, as he's set to graduate this spring with an associate's degree thanks to a running start program.

He enters the most pivotal week of his basketball career with the goal of a state championship in mind. 

The Yakima SunDome could also serve as a stage for the uncommitted to prospect to be seen. He holds an offer from Idaho State, a preferred walk-on spot at Colorado State and said he's talking to several coaches in eastern Washington.

But he doesn't want any recruiting pressure to distract from the Greyhounds' goal.

"I'm just trying to enjoy my last days as a senior, and hopefully a state title run," he said.