Brown enjoying Boston memories

Posted: January 31, 2014

BOSTON - Just a couple hours north of Boston, in South Portland, Maine, 76ers coach Brett Brown is a legend. He built a bridge from Maine to Boston when he attended Boston University, playing for Rick Pitino after a storied high school career playing for his father, Bob Brown.

So making his first trip to Boston as a head coach in the NBA was something quite special for many people. Brown said he had his parents and a plethora of friends in attendance last night and the memories were abundant.

He remembers the first time he went to the old Boston Garden, watching the Celtics play the Milwaukee Bucks. He recalled playing a game there in college and his pregame jog took him along the Charles River and past BU.

"I've gotten quite a few phone calls over the past 48 hours," Brown said. "And it is my pleasure to be here. I'm grateful. I don't touch the players' side of it [getting extra tickets]. I want to, but I don't. That's their side of the fence. I could sure use them, but I won't go there.

"You grow up down [Interstate] 95, I've come to see the Celtics for so many years and spent my [college] years at Boston University and just have fantastic memories from a long time ago about this city, and to come back now as a coach in the NBA is a true privilege and honor.

"The first time I played at the Garden we played Boston College and I remember we lost that game, but what I remember the most is that when you dribbled the ball and you'd be flying up the court and the ball would just be absorbed into one of the parquet squares. I'd tell coach Pitino that it wasn't so much that I didn't dribble hard, it just got absorbed in the court. You actually could channel that into a positive in that you knew where to go for steals when somebody would dribble over there. It was a great atmosphere and you'd go sit up into the high stands and you couldn't believe the stuff hanging from the rafters. That's where I sat back in my day. To come back and have the memories of [John] Havlicek and [Dave] Cowens and then you had it really going with the 76ers with Doc [Julius Erving] and [Larry] Bird and [Andrew] Toney and that whole era. Those were fantastic memories growing up as a kid."

It was also a homecoming for Michael Carter-Williams, who grew up in Boston before attending Syracuse. While the rookie downplayed the excitement of playing in front of many family and friends, his coach knew that it was a special time.

"I want him to come in here and enjoy this and be proud. He's an NBA point guard and he's from this area," Brown said.

MCW in New Orleans

It was announced yesterday afternoon that Michael Carter-Williams will participate in the All-Star weekend's BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, which will be played in New Orleans on Feb. 14.

Heading into last night's game against the Celtics, MCW led all rookies in points (17.4 average), assists (6.7), rebounds (5.6) and steals (2.41). While it was no surprise for him to be invited, you have to wonder whether a few days of rest would be better than being involved in the busy All-Star weekend.

"His numbers confirm that he's special," said coach Brett Brown. "To be selected by assistant coaches around the league speaks a lot to what other coaches think of him. I've had the privilege of coaching in two [All-Star Games] and you go into a locker room and see 24 of the best players in the world all rolled into one roof. You look around and you're just blown away by the talent. It is a fast-moving weekend and it is Mardi Gras; it's a circus and it's no time for rest, and Michael won't experience any rest. I wish he could, but on the flip side I'm proud of him and I really do want him to enjoy this experience."

Second-year guard Tony Wroten was none too happy in the locker room before the game after learning he was not chosen to participate. "Look at my numbers," he said. "I think I deserve to go, but nothing against the people who decided who should."

On Twitter: @BobCooney76