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UIC coach Howard Moore's Chicago Public League ties are strong. He's played in it. He's coached in it. He's recruited from it.
Now in his first year as a head coach, that relationship is paying off. On Friday afternoon, Moore received a commitment from Morgan Park senior 6-4 guard Jerome Brown, arguably the Public League's best shooter.
Brown chose UIC over Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois.
"It just felt comfortable," said Brown, who also credited UIC assistant coach Donnie Kirksey in his recruitment. "It felt right. The coaching staff was great. It just felt like family. They recruited me hard. They made me feel like I wanted, and that's a good feeling.
"I feel with coach Moore taking over they can definitely get back on top. He can turn the program. I hope I can come in and play a role and help turn the program around."
Brown made himself especially known last season when he hit six 3-pointers in the first half of the Public League championship game, which happened to be played at the UIC Pavilion. Throughout the spring and summer, he continued to impress coaches and scouts on the club scene.
"I think the No. 1 ability that makes him special is he can make shots," ESPN Scouts, Inc. recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin said. "He can really, really make shots. He can come off screens. He can come up the break. He can make consecutive shots. He's got really good size. He's a true shooting guard who can shoot the ball."
Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin compared Brown to a high school-type Ray Allen.
"He can stroke it like Ray Allen," Irvin said. "Jerome is honestly one of the best shooters in the state and probably the country."
Irvin, who was known as a great Public League shooter in his day, wouldn't put Brown before himself, though.
"He can't shoot it like me," Irvin said while laughing. "Me and him have shoot-offs every day. He tells me every day, 'I'm going to beat you.' I tell him, 'You're not.'"
Brown believed Irvin had the past confused.
"I don't think he can beat me," Brown said. "I've beat him plenty of time[s]. He just has to swallow and take that."
Rankin saw Brown's commitment benefiting UIC in a number of ways in the present and future.
"For one, I think he could be an immediate impact player," Rankin said. "Two, he's a local kid. Three, [Moore] now has got a player in the fold with him to sing the program's praises with future kids. I think it's a win-win for a new coach."
Brown is Moore's second Class of 2011 commitment. Fishburne Military School 6-11 center Will Simonton committed to UIC on Sunday.Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at email@example.com.