Kent State’s Kris Brewer got used to seeing his mother, Kim Brewer, in the stands at all of his high school basketball games in Memphis, Tenn. — whether he was playing games at home or on the road.
But it wasn’t until last week that Kim Brewer finally got to see one of her son’s college games. She and 17-year-old daughter Kristin Brewer traveled to Kent and were in the stands for Saturday’s game against rival Akron.
With mom and sister cheering him and the Golden Flashes on from seats behind the KSU bench, it felt just like old times for Brewer. With their support, Brewer, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound sophomore, enjoyed one of finest collegiate performances with 14 points, three assists, two rebounds and two blocked shots in 35 minutes.
“[Mom] was very excited to be there and I was so glad to look up and see her in the crowd,” Brewer said. “She hadn’t been to one of my games since high school, so it was just good to have her there and it really motivated me a lot to play well.”
Six of Brewer’s points came on two 3-pointers, the final one tying the score after Akron had claimed a lead late in the game.
“Overall, he did an excellent job running our team and defending,” KSU coach Rob Senderoff said. “He hit a three with a minute to go with us down three, that was a pretty big play at that time.”
Brewer, who also made some clutch free throws in the final few minutes Saturday, said he can always hear his mom’s voice above the crowd noise. He said there have been times he has had to ask her to tone it down a bit but he relished having her and his younger sister nearby again after so long.
When Brewer graduated from Ridgeway High School, he had the talent, but not the grades required to attend a four-year college. So he went to Illinois’ Brehm Preparatory School for a year before coming to KSU.
“Because I didn’t really have good grades, there weren’t any schools looking at me out of high school,” Brewer said. “So I went to prep school and focused on getting my grades together.”
By the time he was done at prep school, ESPN.com ranked Brewer as a three-star recruit and the 57th-best shooting guard in the country.
When Senderoff scouted Brewer at prep school, it helped his cause that former Flashes point guard and assistant coach Jordan Mincy had attended the same high school as Brewer. So with a more mature outlook and his academics in order, Brewer enrolled at KSU last year and played sparingly as a freshman, averaging 2.5 points and 1.4 rebounds.
Brewer enters tonight’s game at Bowling Green averaging 8.6 points, 2.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. He has started 11 of KSU’s 18 games.
“If he can consistently play with as much heart and as much passion as he played with Saturday, he’s going to become a really good player for us,” Senderoff said. “Kris is really athletic, he’s got good size, he’s really, really fast and he has a lot of tools that can make him a really good player. Right now, it’s just him understanding; ‘I gotta bring it every game, I’m really important to this team, I gotta play this hard on both sides of the ball each game.’ ”
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.