Thousand Oaks, despite not having Brown, finished 25-8 on the season. The team made it to the state regional quarterfinals, where they lost in overtime on Saturday, March 9. Brown sat at the end of the bench, rooting his team on.
The equanimity that he exudes on the court is still there when he’s not playing, but it’s hard not to wonder how long he can go without it. His best friend on the Thousand Oaks team, Dakota Pierce, has said he’s never met anyone who loves the game of basketball as much as his friend Deejay.
Lichtl, the Thousand Oaks High principal, said that Brown's own decision - of not leaving Thousand Oaks after he was ruled ineligible, of staying and putting his education first - proves naysayers wrong. Brown was not merely looking for a school only to play basketball and Endres did not get involved merely to get a top-notch point guard.
"The goal all along was to do what we could to help Deejay have a normal high school experience," Lichtl said. "We were hoping that included basketball. When it didn't, the focus turned to 'Okay, we've got to keep him focused on school.'
"And he's done it. This is his second year here and he's doing well. He stayed here and did what he had to do. And that's the story here. You've got a kid that could have quit, could have given up, could have thrown in the towel, and didn't."
Lichtl is passionate in his feelings for Brown.
"I think it makes the story that much better, that even though Deejay didn't get to play basketball - and everybody saw him as a mercenary, to be quite frank - the kid has hung in there and done great."
Brown reminds himself of the positives: A safe home with a great family in a nice community with a quality school; the chance to play basketball again, someday, which is paramount.
"So they want to discourage me,” he said. “That just motivates me to go on to school and to get even better, instead of discouraging me."