OLIVE HILL —
As sisters Kim, Karla and Kandi did before him, Kyle wears No. 41.
Of course, Hop did, too, back in his playing days.
Kandi is second on West Carter girls’ career scoring list with 2,599 points — Penny Gearhart is first, with 2,711. As a senior, Kandi starred on the 2000 Lady Comets state championship team, coached by Hop.
Kyle was just a 5-year-old waterboy, but he still retains a vivid memory from the captivating run.
“One thing I remember, for some reason, is Penny Gearhart driving baseline and the ref called her out of bounds,” he said. “I remember screaming and telling Dad that she didn’t step out.”
Kim achieved a 16th Region tournament made 3-pointers record, with seven treys in a game.
Gary Brown, Kyle’s uncle, owned the school’s scoring record from 1973 to 1993.
Kandi shared a few tips to help Kyle harness his game.
“I used to like to sling (the ball) a little from the side and I remember Kandi helped me work on my shot and got my form down a little better,” he said.
Now, Kyle is teaching the game to his nephews, Dalton Brown and J.T. Johnson, who are in eighth and seventh grade, respectively.
What would the Brown family have been like without basketball?
Sharon, Kyle’s mom and Hop’s wife, didn’t have an answer.
“I don’t know what we would’ve done to fill our time,” she said. “We spent every free minute we had with sports.”
Said Kyle of the West Carter High gym: “It feels like I’ve been in that gym for 40 years,” he smiled. “But now that it’s winding down, it seems like I just started, like I just got there. It’s kind of a two-way feeling.”
Picking Up the Clubs
Transylvania University basketball/golf coach Brian Lane has already contacted Kyle about the possibility of playing both sports at the Lexington-based college next year.
While Brown is uncertain of his future schooling plans, he is just as confident in his golf game as he is in his basketball skills. He regularly places high in both high school and EKJGA (Eastern Kentucky Junior Golf Association) events.
Taught by his father, also a golf coach, Kyle has always possessed a natural ability with the clubs. As a youngster, though, he couldn’t carry his bag while playing. So, he had to ride a cart.
No big deal, right?
Well, it was to Hop. He loathed golf carts.
“He said that was the laziest way to play golf,” Kyle grinned. “He hated riding on a cart, but he had to with me. He said that hurt him.”