Photo: Coosa Christian senior India Brown signed a basketball scholarship with Shelton State on Feb. 22. Pictured, sitting, from left: brother London Marbury, India, mom Breshelle Pearson, dad Anthony Brown. Standing, from left: Coosa Christian girls basketball coach Jayme Hollingsworth, Shelton State womens head basketball coach Madonna Thompson, Shelton State womens assistant basketball coach Chris Sanford. (Courtesy of Gary Wells)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
India Brown soon will join the crème de la crème of junior college basketball programs, both in the state of Alabama and nationwide.
The Coosa Christian senior signed a scholarship with Shelton State on Feb. 22 in Gadsden.
A six-year starter at center for the Lady Conquerors, Brown this past season averaged 18.5 points and 16.5 rebounds while helping Coosa make it to the Class 1A sub regional playoffs, where the Lady Conquerors lost to Talladega County-Central by two points. She was voted Class 1A, Area 12 Most Valuable player by the area coaches.
As a junior, Brown averaged 16 points and 15 rebounds while helping Coosa win 18 games.
“It’s been a good ride ever since I’ve been here,” said Brown, who is considering studying occupational therapy at Shelton. “I want to thank Mrs. Justice and my Coosa Christian family who has helped me tremendously along the way. I also want to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates who have pushed me to become better each day.”
Brown cited the close relationship to Shelton State women’s head basketball coach Madonna Thompson as the deciding factor in signing with the Lady Bucs.
“The first time I met her, I knew that [Shelton State] was the place for me. She really made me feel comfortable when I came to visit the school and made me feel like I was already there. I wanted [a college coach] who really wanted me, and I could tell that Coach Thompson really wanted me there. Plus, the campus is really beautiful for a junior college and has a lot of offer.”
Brown certainly is joining a team used to winning. In her 22 years at Shelton State, Thompson has racked up 600 wins while guiding the program to 19 consecutive 20-win seasons, with 10 of those eclipsing the 30-win mark. The 2018-19 Lady Bucs went 29-4, won the Alabama Community College Conference championship for the fourth year in a row and received a No. 3 seed at the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament. From 2006 to this past season, Shelton State won 12 conference championships.
Coosa Christian girls head basketball coach Jayme Hollingsworth estimated that Brown finished with over 1,500 points and over 1,000 rebounds for her high school career.
“I think Gary Wells said it best a little bit earlier tonight – it’s rare to get a player like India, at any level of coaching basketball. India’s one of the most dominant high school players in North Alabama, and her stats don’t lie. She’s a phenomenal player who will be impossible to replace. I want to thank her for all that she’s done for Coosa Christian basketball. India’s going to play for the most successful college program in the state of Alabama, regardless of school size. I’m looking forward to seeing what she’ll be able to do at that level.”
The Lady Bucs currently are 25-2 and ranked No. 4 in the latest NJCAA women’s basketball poll.
“The only reason that our program has had so much success is because of the people we chose to be a part of our team,” said Thompson. “The ability, the coachability, the academic level, the personality and the willingness to give it all they have all comes into play when we consider signing someone. At the level that we are at, we’re looking for people with potential, and in India, I definitely feel that we’ve found someone who has that. India has great talent and great numbers, but I don’t think she’s hit her ceiling just yet and I think her best basketball is ahead of her. She’ll be pushed and challenged on the basketball floor, in the classroom and in her social life, and I think India will be ready to meet those challenges.”