Alec Brown is heading back to Europe. But before that, he hopes to make stops in Uruguay and Argentina.
Brown, a Winona Senior High School graduate, is one of 16 players selected to try out for the USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Team. The training camp started Thursday and ends Aug. 24 in Houston; the official 12-member USA team will then compete in the AmeriCup in South America.
The 7-foot-1 Brown, who was picked by the Phoenix Suns in the second round of the 2014 NBA draft and has played in the NBA D-League (now called the G-League) and in Spain, is one of eight players at the camp who has played professionally in the U.S. and overseas.
Former NBA head coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy is the head coach. Some of the other players at camp include Larry Drew II (UCLA, Sioux Falls Skyforce), Darius Morris (Michigan, Rio Grande Valley Vipers) and Marshall Plumlee (Duke, New York Knicks). Reggie Williams, who has 206 NBA games under his belt, also is in the camp.
Team USA will open preliminary play in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Aug. 28, and will face Panama, Uruguay and the Dominican Republic. The top finishing teams in each of the four groups will play in the semifinals Sept. 2 in Cordoba, Argentina. The championship is set for Sept. 3.
Whenever Brown’s time with Team USA is done, he will then head back to Spain, where he’ll play a second season for Estudiantes in Madrid. He played six weeks with Estudiantes last season, after his D-League season with the Windy City Bulls ended.
It may have been the best stretch of his professional career.
He averaged 14.5 points per game for the team based in Madrid, but more importantly, he was 14 of 22 (63.6 percent) on 3-pointers.
“Throughout the season, my shot improved,” Brown said in June. “But I thought it really helped that I was healthy. I didn’t have any problems. I could get comfortable playing. I thought the system I was playing in was beneficial. They let me shoot the ball. They let me play my game.”
The performance, combined with a strong year for the Windy City Bulls, got Brown back on the NBA’s radar and he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers summer league team. But the Lakers didn’t give Brown much of a shot to show what he could do in the Las Vegas Summer League — he played in only one game, making two 3-pointers and grabbing four rebounds in 12 minutes — and Brown left the team during its summer league tournament run when it was clear he wasn’t going to see any more playing time.
This will be Brown’s third full season of professional basketball. He missed more than half of the 2014-15 season recovering from shoulder surgery, and finished by playing for the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League. In 2015-16, Brown played for Obradoiro, another team in Spain’s ACB League, but was dealing with a mistreated ankle injury.
Last year he averaged 10.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a game for the Windy City Bulls. He also shot 36.4 percent on 3-pointers.