The long recruiting process ended Saturday for Elgin senior standout Kory Brown, who committed to play Division-I basketball on a full athletic scholarship at North Dakota State University.
A 6-foot-4 forward who led Elgin to a 26-4 record and Class 4A sectional final appearance in March, Brown made his official visit to the Fargo, N.D. school last weekend. He finalized his choice two days after returning from an official visit to Western Illinois.
"It's finally done and over with, and now I can just concentrate on graduation," said Brown, who averaged 16.9 points and 8.7 rebounds to go with 61 steals and 59 blocked shots. "I picked a great school that fits me and that I fit into. I'm glad, excited and relieved. I can't wait to get there."
A three-year varsity starter and two-time Daily Herald all-area captain in the Fox Valley, Brown finished his high school career as Elgin's fifth all-time leading scorer (1,270 points), 22 points shy of No. 4 Rick Hopkins. However, he drew only mild interest during his senior season from Division-I coaches, many of whom considered him a "tweener," possibly not tall enough to play forward at the college level.
Brown's stock skyrocketed last month during an AAU tournament in St. Louis in which he excelled.
"In St. Louis, I showed people that my (outside) shot was pretty good," Brown said. "I'm a versatile player and I showed them everything in my arsenal. Defensively, (NDSU) really likes that part of my game. I can step up and lock down on anybody on the court."
The trickle of college interest suddenly became a steady stream.
"You have no idea how many calls, emails and texts we were getting," said Valon Brown, Kory's father. "Oh my goodness, it's just been crazy. First, he had no Division-I offers, then he had five."
Brown turned down offers to visit Eastern Kentucky, South Dakota State and Nebraska-Omaha.
"I think this is a great fit for him," Elgin coach Mike Sitter said of NDSU. "They were the first team to recruit him and the first to offer him. That was probably an overriding factor in the decision."
Brown was able to scrimmage with his prospective future teammates during the official visit. He also met with academic advisers and mapped out his four-year path to graduating with a degree in marketing.
"I liked the feel of everything," Kory said. "They made me feel at home and the players were great. It felt like my team (at Elgin). They were funny. I felt like I could fit in, blend in with the team. And I think they feel I could be a big part of their team right away. They have a young team, so we should be playing together for a while.
"And the coaches seem really involved. They know when to push a team and when to have fun. It made it feel like coach Sitter all over again."
The Hoffman Estates native said he was impressed by the city of Fargo, which he found more metropolitan than expected.
"It's really nice up there," Brown said of Fargo, which has a population of 105,000. "A lot of people think 'North Dakota? There's nothing out there and it's empty.' But it's really lively up there. Very lively."
Brown was recruited to play the two or the three, he said. He intends to make the most of his four years in the Summit League.
"I hope one day to make it to the NCAA Tournament," he said. "That's my dream."