It didn’t take long to see living with the Endres' helped Brown acclimate to Thousand Oaks High.
"I got attached to them and they got attached to me," Brown says about the Endres’. "They’re like my second family." And Endres said Brown has indeed become part of the family Endres’ family. "He now has another family he can depend on," Endres said. "And I think he knows that’s what’s important right now. My daughter refers to him as her brother."
Another part of the reason Endres wanted to bring Brown to his own home was that he felt the young man had been treated poorly in the previous attempts to find a high school after leaving Brooklyn.
"Many people – unfortunately – used him," Endres said. "He ran across a number of people like that, who were not looking at his best interest, were not looking at his academics or what he was going to need to go to college. Very little was done in his need for an education."
However, Brown and the coach still have their eyes on the prize. Brown has done well at Thousand Oaks High School academically and has gotten the attention of college recruiters and coaches despite his inability to play in high school games the past two years.
Endres said that Brown is an unselfish point guard who will work hard and whose outside shooting – though not the strongest part of his game – is getting better and better.
At 6-feet, he is like many New York point guards who aren’t great perimeter shooters early on. Brown says part of the reason for that is the competition that takes place on the playgrounds in the city, at which taking outside shots don’t serve much of a purpose.
"Growing up in the park, you have one ball and there are 25 people on one court with one basket," he said. "Are you going to shoot a jump shot or are you going to take it to the basket? If you shoot a jump shot you’re not going to get the ball back."
Endres believes that Brown can be a successful college player. He said the ideal team would be one that favors an up-tempo style of play. He knows Brown will be dedicated if given the chance to play at the next level.
"He’s got a fantastic work ethic," Endres said. "He passes the ball like no other. He’s unselfish. What he needs is a college to believe in him, to give him an opportunity to show what he can do. He’s a typical New York point guard: a pass-first, ball-handling type of point guard.
"And he’ll entertain. If you want a fast-break point guard that can bring it – he has the handles and the court smarts. If you want a half-court, slowed-up offense guy, he’s probably not your type of point guard. He’s an excellent player. That’s all I ask is just give him an opportunity." Santa Clara University in Northern California and USC are two schools that have expressed interest in Brown.
Brown has committed himself to his education the past two years and says he isn’t particularly surprised that he has done well.
"I always knew I could do the work," he said. "But I just wasn’t really trying to do the work. When you’re in Brooklyn, you’re not looking to do school work, you’re looking where your next meal is coming from. You’re looking to survive the day. You’re thinking about something way different from school work."
Brown speaks with fondness about growing up in a rough part of Brooklyn, the connection he still feels with family and friends and about what he learned from his upbringing there.
"It was a tough place to grow up, but that’s still my home," he said. "It wasn’t like I couldn’t live there; it was just that I decided to move because I knew I wasn’t going to achieve the stuff I wanted to achieve with me being there. Of course that’s still my home. But I had to make a sacrifice."
Along the way his story has been chronicled by newspapers, as well as ESPN. Brown has read various accounts of being homeless, which he says was never true, and of surviving the "projects and mean streets" of his Brooklyn neighborhood.
"The mean streets made me tough; made me work hard; and made me not take things for granted," he said. "People make it out to be a crazy place. But that’s where I learned how to play basketball. That’s where my friends are and that’s where some of my role models are."
And Brown said as tough as the decision was for his mother, she made the choice to let him live in California because she thought it would be best for him. "My mother didn't abandon me. It's not like that," he said.