COPPERAS COVE — Every team needs one. Johnathan Brown is “that” player.
While teammates like Rashard Odomes and Montre’ Williams garner attention for their scoring skills, Brown quietly produces plays that go unnoticed on a nightly basis. He grabs rebounds, sets picks, dives for loose balls, takes charges and, when asked, is more than capable of leading Copperas Cove in scoring.
Brown is the Bulldawgs’ leader through example, who refuses to be outhustled on the court.
Although doing the little things typically do not generate big headlines, Brown loves his role.
“It may not show up in a box score,” the 6-foot-3 senior said, “but they are plays that we need to win games off of, so I’m happy with what I do.”
A self-admitted quiet personality, Brown lets his emotions show through his play, sometimes removing his reserved demeanor in favor of being a vocal drill sergeant to lesser experienced teammates if the situation demands it.
Brown is willing to do anything for his team to be successful, and Copperas Cove head coach Billy White Jr. understands exactly how important such a presence is to the overall team chemistry.
“It is very vital,” White said. “Coaches have to have a player like that on their team. If you don’t, you’re in trouble. ... He just wants to play basketball. He’ll stay in the gym all day if we let him. He’s the kid we have to tell, ‘Hey, all right, it’s time to go home. We gotta go.’ And that is every day.”
Last season, Brown’s contributions often went overlooked as the Bulldawgs made their first postseason appearance since 2008. Now, whether his efforts go unnoticed or not, Brown is determined to help Copperas Cove begin a playoff streak.
Following Friday’s 66-55 home loss to Class 5A No. 14 Harker Heights, Copperas Cove is currently on the outside of the playoff picture with a District 8-5A record of 2-3 (11-11 overall), but Brown sees the potential within his team.
“We are playing decent right now, but we could be playing better,” he said. “Our main thing is we’re just making turnovers and not executing right now, but we are turning it around, and we should be able to finish strong.”
Against the Knights, Copperas Cove committed 17 turnovers, missed 37 of its 55 field-goal attempts and was called for 28 personal fouls, leading to 31 points at the free-throw line for Harker Heights.
One year ago, the Bulldawgs suffered through a similar lackluster start to district play, but were able to rebound, winning six of their final seven games, including four consecutive victories to conclude the regular season, clinching the fourth and final postseason berth.
Once again, Copperas Cove finds itself in a comparable situation, and White knows his team must consistently do all the little things in order to produce another miraculous run. He does not need to relay the message to Brown, however.
“He’s a kid who is going to give his all every time he steps on the court,” White said. “Practice, games, open gym, whatever the case may be; that is how he plays. That is just the type of player he is.
He gives everything he has regardless of what the situation is or what is at stake, and it has been like that for as long as I’ve known him.”
With only nine guaranteed games remaining in his high-school career, Brown is dedicated to producing in any possible fashion. After all, he is “that” guy.
“My teammates depend on me to step up,” he said. “If I step up, then I’m doing my job. All I want to do is win games.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org