The last time that Duke had an all-conference big, she transferred to Connecticut. Six years later, the Blue Devils got to steal away a high-quality big for themselves.
Former Oregon State forward Kennedy Brown has committed to Duke, she announced Sunday via Twitter. Brown entered the transfer portal in early April, along with fellow Beaver starters Taylor Jones, Taya Corosdale and Greta Kampschroeder. She joins in Durham former teammate Aleah Goodman, the Blue Devils’ director of recruiting and player development.
Standing at 6-foot-6, the rising senior will be the tallest member of a Duke rotation since Azurá Stevens, who left to play for Connecticut after the 2015-16 season. On account of having missed her sophomore season with a torn ACL, the redshirt sophomore will likely retain three years of eligibility.
Brown, who hails from Derby, Kan., was ranked as ESPN's No. 20 recruit in the Class of 2019. The move to Durham comes as a surprise since none of her finalists back then were east of the Appalachian Mountains, and her younger sister is a 2023 commit to Iowa State.
Like Reigan Richardson, the combo guard out of Georgia who transferred to Duke Wednesday, Brown’s calling card is her defense. She’s one of the better rim protectors in the country, and is excellent at providing rotational help. She was playing behind perimeter defenders who struggled to contain dribble penetration, but was still adept at guarding multiple actions without leaving herself out of position. Her post-up defense is generally good, though she struggles against stronger centers or post scorers with great technique, as she’s vulnerable to good last steps.
Brown ranked in the 82nd percentile among forwards with a 6.7% steal and block rate last year, per CBB Analytics. She is also ranked above the 85th percentile in total rebounding rate for her career, per Her Hoop Stats.
On the other hand, Brown doesn’t offer as much offensively. Having spent a lot of her time passing, screening and handing off out of the elbow, Brown should fit into head coach Kara Lawson’s system quite well. But otherwise, she offers little as a post scorer, with no signature moves to speak of. Her screening was limited on account of her role, as Oregon State asked her mostly to set touch screens. She has quite good form on her spot-up jumper, though, and a 67.5% free-throw percentage suggests there could be something in the midrange to unlock.
With 14 scholarship players slated to be on the 2022-23 roster, the Blue Devils have one spot remaining. Given that Duke still has just a handful of players above 6-foot-1, it would not be surprising to see the team pursue a depth piece at big.
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