DANVILLE — Much has changed in Capria Brown’s basketball life since helping the Schlarman girls’ program to its second consecutive Class 1A state championship last February.
She lost four Hilltopper teammates to graduation and later her head coach via resignation.
She reopened her college choice after decommitting from Xavier, and she joined an AAU club out of Bourbonnais for her 2019 summer session.
Yet these alterations haven’t thrown the rising senior off her game.
In fact, they’ve combined to bring more Division I eyes to the 5-foot-11 guard, who received an offer from Illinois last week.
“I’m just very honored and blessed,” Brown said of Illini coach Nancy Fahey throwing her hat in Brown’s basketball ring. “I never thought I would get an offer from them. I was really excited.”
Illinois’ interest in Brown comes on the heels of looks from Michigan, Penn State, Marquette, Central Michigan and Missouri State, among other institutions.
Brown admitted she doesn’t know exactly how many college offers she possesses at the moment.
She did note, however, that she’ll “wait two to three weeks and I’ll pick my top 10” once July concludes, “and then I’ll wait another week and pick my top five” before making official visits to those five campuses.
“Right now, I just know I’m preparing,” Brown said. “Whether I want a big or small school right now, I haven’t really figured it out.”
A coaching staff change at Xavier prompted Brown to rescind her verbal commitment to the Musketeers last March.
That wasn’t long after finishing her junior season by averaging 19.1 points and 3.4 assists. She followed that by earning 1A state track and field medals in the 200-meter dash and 300 hurdles in mid-May.
But she felt there was another hoops level she could reach this offseason by joining Schlarman teammate McKaylee Allen with coach Brandon Clay’s Example Sports Wolfpack squad.
“We have so many good teammates and leaders,” Brown said. “We show it on the court as well. I’m more confident in myself and the shots I take and the passes I make.”
Brown also feels she’s upped her stock by becoming the Hilltoppers’ de-facto coach while Schlarman replaces Keith Peoples, who stepped aside last month.
With the help of her father, Wes, and teammates such as Emma Bogen and Tannah Ceader, Brown is pacing workouts over at Shebby Gymnasium.
“I take my own advice sometimes (when I play),” Brown said. “My game has really changed a lot from that mentality.”
Talent evaluators appear to agree. Amid all of Brown’s basketball activity, she was elevated to No. 76 in ESPN’s Class of 2020 girls’ basketball rankings, including No. 22 at the guard spot.
Dan Olson of ESPN describes Brown as an “athletic combo-guard (who) manufactures shots,” as well as an “aggressive defender” and an athlete who is “best off the dribble.”
Brown isn’t satisfied, saying she aims to be more consistent in the rebounding department by trying to average at least seven per game moving forward.
Brown’s summertime approach to basketball, if nothing else, shows how seriously she’ll be taking her final run with the Hilltoppers.
“I have shoes I have to fill,” she said. “I have to be mentally ready for it. I have to take leadership to the next level.”