In Sterling Brown’s first game with the Wisconsin Herd, he finished with 25 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals. He was the first player on the Herd to score, nailing a three pointer three minutes into the game. He went on to shoot 3-6 from behind the arc.
He shot 10-18 from the field and 2-2 at the line in 32 minutes of playing time. He also had a few powerful dunks that left fans wide-eyed. He finished the game with 4 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, and finished with the Herd’s second highest +/- of 9. He was engaged and aggressive on defense, and played with confidence and surprising ease, considering it was his first assignment to the Bucks’s G-League affiliate.
After the game, Ben Steele of the Journal Sentinel asked head coach Jordan Brady about Sterling’s first game with the team, and if he had been able to get any practice time with the team. Coach Brady replied:
"He was at shoot around with us this morning but no official practice yet. I thought Sterling was fantastic. He played really well. I thought he picked his moments really well, it didn't seem to me like he was pressing, just made the right plays. I'm really impressed with his first assignment."
When asked what he likes about Sterling’s game, Coach Brady said loves his physicality. Brady describes Sterling as big strong body to have on the floor. Offensively, coach was impressed by Sterling’s scoring in the paint. Specifically, Brady noted that “he can get to the rim, you know, I like the way he finishes. He's a presence out there on the floor, plays with a lot of confidence — I like that about him."
His teammate, James Young, also had good things to say about Sterling post-game. Young — who was waived from the Bucks’ roster back in October — had quite the night for himself, finishing with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Post-game, Young was asked how Sterling fit in with the team. Young replied:
"He fit perfect. We just moved the ball around, [Sterling] kinda helped me out because a lot of defensive pressure went on me ... and a little bit on him, so it kinda got both of us open. I mean, that was really good for him to come in here and just play the role for our team."
Of course, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk briefly with Shannon Brown about his little brother. The older Brown also made his first appearance with the Herd last night, finishing with 2 points, 1 rebound, and 1 steal in 17 minutes of play. Shannon started beaming when I asked him about Sterling, and it was hard for him to find words to describe how it felt to play with brother on a professional level. When I asked what playing with Sterling meant to him, he replied:
"It's special. You know, I could talk about it all day, you know what I mean. It's just a special feeling, you know what I mean. I don't even know how to explain it, you know. It's definitely been a goal for me personally, you know, because we're nine and a half years apart, you know what I mean? To go from changing his diapers, to not being able to see him much because I'm off in college. Coming up, he going to grade school, going to high school, you know all we do is talk on the phone. He come see me every once in a while, you know, everything come around full circle. It's just unbelievable."
Since the Bucks’ season started, Shannon has often posted tweets and Instragram photos in support of his brother. I asked him what it was like to be able to support his brother in person, both on the bench and on the court. He replied:
"It's a blessing, you know what I mean. I thank God. You know, playing one on ones, and fighting, to see, you know, all the obstacles he had to overcome. You know, it's just a blessing. Like myself, I had to overcome a lot of obstacles, but I believe everything happens for a reason and we're going to take advantage of this moment."
Knowing the competitive nature of brothers, I asked Shannon if he’d gotten to play Sterling one on one since he’s been in Milwaukee. Shannon said that they haven’t played one on one in practice yet because he’s only been here for two days, but he said, “we played one on one - he actually beat me for the first time like two months ago."
An older brother admitting to being beaten by his younger brother. I was shocked! I joked with him, saying I was surprised he was giving his brother credit. While laughing, he responded, "I gotta get my win back. I'm ain't gunna do him like that, I ain't gunna do him like that. Yeah, I need my win back though, so we'll be playing again soon."
After getting positive feedback from his coach and teammates, I got to speak with Sterling about his first G-League experience. When asked about how the game went, he said he “tried to play hard, you know, tried to get these wins, trying to keep up with the team flow. Just go out there, and like I said, play hard.”
MidwestBallers.com was also in the locker roon, and they asked Sterling if playing in the BMO Bradley Center made a difference or worked in his favor. Sterling answered:
“Yeah, a little bit. You know, I’m always in the gym though. Always in the gym putting up extra shots and working on it, so I feel like whatever gym I go to, I’m gunna have the same results.”
Since Sterling hadn’t even practiced with the team, Ben Steele asked him if he how he was running the offense: if he was doing it by feel or if he was being told what to do. Sterling said he got help and had coaches and teammates talking to him on the court, which helped. He said some some of the sets are familiar and mirror that of plays the Bucks run. Sterling also already knew a couple of fellow Herd teammates, and he knows some of their tendencies on the court.
Of course, I had to ask Sterling what it means to be on the same team as Shannon and get some playing time together. He was equally elated in his response, saying:
“Aw man, it’s great. It’s a dream come true, all of that. You know, hopefully we both go up to that next level of play, but other than that it was a dream come true. I was trying to get him going. I’m looking forward to the game tomorrow.”
I couldn’t pass up the chance to bring up the recent one on one game with his older brother. When I told Sterling about Shannon’s admission to losing to him for the first time, he laughed and said, “I ain’t got nothing to say. It’s battles man, it’s battles. We gunna keep doing it until the end. You know, I gotta keep building on it though, keep building on my first win.”
In relation to building his game, Sterling was also asked what he would like to take away from his time with the Herd.
“Getting the feel, you know, the flow of the game, the sets that we run. Being able to read them, reading different options, being able to get my teammates involved, being able to find my shots in the offensive flow. In defense, being able to be in the right spot, be in the right position, lock up one on one. Overall, just get better overall...that’s really what I’m here for.”
The Herd play in the Bradley Center again tonight night versus the Maine Red Claws. I asked Sterling if his great play tonight would carry over and make him more confident going into the next game. “No question” he said. “I’m going into every game with confidence. I’m going into every game looking to win. I’m going to every game trying to shut down my man. So, it’s gunna be the same tomorrow. Ain’t nothin’ gunna be different.” We’ll see if Sterling can maintain his level of play tonight in his second Wisconsin Herd game.