No, don’t worry this post is not about Jabari Brown’s eligibility. He’s eligible and with the exception of the two games he has to sit out to stay within the CIF”s 26-game limit, he’ll be on the court for Oakland High for the duration of this season.
The dilemma that I’m thinking of has to do with our postseason awards. I’ve seen two of the three games in which he’s played for Oakland, missing only his dazzling 33-point, 10-rebound performance in his debut, a win over Sacramento. Tonight he delivered 33 points, five ferocious blocks and four steals in a 92-84 win over Oakland Tech to move the Wildcats to 4-0 in OAL play.
Brown is definitely the best player I’ve seen in the East Bay this year, slightly surpassing his former teammate and our defending East Bay Player of the Year Desmond Simmons. The dilemma is that he’s likely to not play more than 12 games for Oakland this year. That includes the three he’s already played, the four more he’ll play in the regular season and the 2-5 he’ll play in the playoffs. I’m predicting a minimum of two playoff games because I don’t foresee a scenario where Oakland isn’t the top seed in the OAL playoffs, which would mean only one OAL playoff game and the guarantee at least one CIF NorCal game. So along with those seven regular season games, one OAL playoff game and anywhere from 1-4 NorCal games, we’re talking about a maximum of 12 games for Jabari.
Right now, Brown is averaging 30.3 points per game for Oakland and has transformed a very good team into a contender to reach the state finals. If he helped them get there (I say helped because it’s not all about him with Oakland. T.J. Taylor and Dominique Taplin are very good and their role players will need to play well also), that would be supremely impressive.
The question is, does 12 games make someone worthy of being an East Bay Player of the Year candidate? Or even worthy of making the All-East Bay first team?
Talent-wise, he’s clearly at that level, but do we have to ding a guy because he only played 12 games in the East Bay this year? I don’t know how I’d answer that question right now. I guess we’ll have to see how things play out, but it could be a very tough question to answer.