On Saturday afternoon, Lamont Paris got his first big “Welcome Home.” After playing five seasons at The Citadel, Hayden Brown announced that he would stay in-state and play for the University of South Carolina.
“I have trust in Coach Paris and the rest of his staff,” Brown told The Portal Report, “I also think it’s just a unique opportunity. There’s something to be said about rebuilding something that really excites me.”
Brown had that chance and rolled with it at The Citadel. The program in Charleston is one of four original schools to never make an NCAA Tournament and they very seldom have won in their history. During the four full seasons that he played, the Bulldogs had double-digit wins in them all. A school that he beat twice and seemed to battle every time was Chattanooga and Lamont Paris.
He scored 37 against the Mocs to open 2021, averaging 18.8 points per game in each of his final two seasons.
“We both came into the SoCon in the same year, so I’ve been familiar with him the last five years. So, I’m relatively comfortable in how he runs his teams,” Brown said, “We have to do scouting reports. We have to have an understanding of how he runs his offense, what he likes to do on the defensive end. So, there’s already understanding there, and vice versa he understands me. Tendencies of mine, strengths of mine, weaknesses of mine.”
That showed this season as the Mocs were able to hold him to only 27 points in three games this season. In the opener at McKenzie Arena, Brown only scored four points in 34 minutes. Playing with a leg injury in the game at McAlister Field House, Brown only played ten minutes before the pressure caved in and made him sit out the remainder of the game.
Paris knew exactly how to attack him and although he allowed him to score 17 points in the SoCon Tournament and make a clear difference in the game, Paris was able to shut down the rest of the Bulldogs winning the matchup by a score of 71-66.
That ended his season and as Duggar Baucom was let go of his head coaching duties, Brown entered the transfer portal. The kid from Greer was down to three final schools but ultimately decided to stay in-state and play in front of his fellow South Carolinians.
“I can only imagine how great it’s going to be. My support system’s only going to grow but the system I have now is phenomenal. I just love everybody who’s walked with me every step of the way,” Brown said, “The support’s just going to continue and I’m going to be close to home for a lot of those people. It’s mutually beneficial for a lot of different reasons.”