Former Rocky Mount High basketball star J’Kyra Brown was supposed to mark a new era in East Carolina women’s basketball.
She was a top recruit in the class of 2013, something Pirates coach Heather Macy said was an important step for the school when Brown signed in November 2012. Brown expected to be a pillar of the program, possibly a four-year star.
Instead, it took only a few days after the end of her freshman season for the relationship between school and player to end. In late April, Brown was granted her release by the school after the connection between the two wasn’t what she expected.
“It just wasn’t right here,” Brown said. “It wasn’t a fit. I didn’t feel like it was the place for me to be. … It’s more so basketball. The basketball part, that was the part that I didn’t feel was right.”
Brown, who was ranked as the No. 32 guard in the country as a high school senior, averaged 5.9 points per game as a true freshman despite playing an average of just 11 minutes per game off the bench. She scored a season-high 29 points in January and twice was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Week.
As a part of her recruiting process, Brown said she was told she would be a centerpiece of the program and a major part of the team.
Ultimately, the beliefs Brown held coming into her college career weren’t consistent with what she said she experienced at ECU.
“The coaches, they talked me into going there,” Brown said. “When I got there, I didn’t know about it. It just wasn’t the right place for me. I just want to be happy.”
Macy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brown was the three-time Telegram All-Area Player of the Year and led Rocky Mount to the NCHSAA 3-A Eastern Regional Championship as a junior. She verbally committed to East Carolina during that season and signed with the Pirates in early November of her senior year, before she had a scholarship offer from any other school.
Brown expects continue her collegiate career, but as of now, she’s not sure where that will be. She said she wants to keep her options available.
If she goes to another Division I school, she will have to sit out a season in accordance with the NCAA’s transfer rules.
“I just have my eyes wide open,” Brown said. “I’ll just try and find somewhere that is the right fit for me.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org