By David Knox
Justin Brown is eager to get his first shot at running his own program.
Brown, 32, is the new boys basketball coach at Moore County High School. Brown, previously an assistant varsity boys coach and head junior varsity coach at Southwind in Memphis, replaces Heath Hardin.
Brown, who grew up in Sparta, TN, is a 2010 graduate of Tennessee Tech. He served as the freshman and junior varsity coach and assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Dyersburg High School from 2013-2014. He relocated to the Memphis area and has served as head middle school coach at Millington Middle School and assistant varsity boys’ basketball coach at Millington Central High School for two seasons from 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. He then moved on to serve as junior varsity coach and assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Southwind High School in Memphis for the past four seasons from 2016-2017 through 2019-2020.
He has been a part of successful basketball programs. His teams’ successes include: 2017 TSSAA AAA state runner-up, three District 15-AAA championships, two District 15-AAA tournament championships, 2019 Shelby County Association runner-up and 2020 Shelby County Association champions.
During his time at Southwind High School, he helped his team achieve a record of 107-21 and an 80% winning percentage over four seasons.
Still, there’s nothing like running your own program.
“I’ve actually been looking for two or three years and just never really found a good opportunity or the right fit,” he said. “I think this is going to be a good spot.”
He’s already watching game film from last year’s team and is excited about getting on the court. He believes Moore County is a place that can be a consistent winner.
His defensive philosophy is to play man-to-man defense.
“I’m a huge defensive guy,” he said. “We’re going to play a lot of man-to-man, I’m not a big zone guy. If you play man-to-man and you play it right, it’s super hard to get good looks. Now, it’s also the hardest one to do right and it’s also the hardest one to teach. But if you do that right, that’s your best bet.”
Offensively, he will be looking to do what best fits his personnel.
“When going to run with whatever gives our kids the best chance to win, whether that’s spreading you out and attacking you off the bounce, dribble-driving you to death, or if it’s more traditional, Princeton type of stuff where we’re cutting and screening. It’s whatever’s going to give us the best chance to win.”
He does say that no matter which way he goes, his teams won’t hold the ball. “We’re going to shoot it, I’m a big believer in that. I had a rule with some of my freshmen teams, a 1-second rule. You had one second when you go the ball to drive, shoot or pass it. We’re not going to stand and hold it.”
He’s not sure yet what his teaching assignment will be. He’s a social studies teacher and a PE coach. Middle school social studies is one possible assignment.
He’s heard nothing but good things about Moore County and the youngsters there.
“Mrs. (Brooke) Lindsey (assistant principal) said it’s a very coachable group and I should enjoy it. I’m looking forward to it.”