There was a time, early in the 2019-20 season, when it looked as though Clevon Brown would finally live up to the potential implied by his four-star rating out of high school. The senior started the first nine games of the season, shot 61 percent from the floor, and averaged a cool nine points per game — not great, but a vast improvement on the 3.3 he averaged as a junior, and just fine for a defensive stopper.
And then he got hurt and missed the rest of the season. That got him an unexpected fifth year of eligibility from the NCAA; the bad news is that upon his return, he basically reverted to being the player he was in his first three seasons at VU. a defensive specialist who was limited on the offensive end and often couldn’t stay out of foul trouble.
Granted, some of that probably wasn’t his fault. Clevon missed eight games over the course of the season and seemed limited by injuries the rest of the time. His best game came at Mississippi State, where he scored 15 points on 6-of-7 from the floor, and toward the end of the season he seemed to get healthier: he started 9 of Vanderbilt’s last 11 games (missing the other two, losses to Tennessee and Alabama) and averaged 22.1 minutes, five points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks over that stretch.
That “getting right” meant 5 points and 3 rebounds a night, though, is why I’ll only remember Clevon Brown’s Vanderbilt career for what could have been. He was a guy who seemed to have a lot going for him (6’8”, athletic enough to be a rim protector and with enough of a jump shot to occasionally stretch defenses) and ended his career having scored all of 424 points in 124 career games, though he does leave Vanderbilt sixth all-time in blocked shots with 130 (behind only Luke Kornet, Festus Ezeli, Damian Jones, Will Perdue, and AJ Ogilvy.) Brown has announced that he’ll use his free year of eligibility to play at FIU.