It’s Tuesday evening and while most of Toronto heads home for the night, Wesley Brown is just getting started. He’s on his way to Father Henry Carr, a Catholic school in Etobicoke, Ont. for a six p.m. basketball game against King’s Christian Collegiate.
Then the phone rings. Brown is seemingly always talking to someone.
“I schmooze everyone, everywhere” he says.
Tonight, it’s Joshua Lipsey on the line telling Brown that his Vaughan Secondary School basketball team lost to an inferior team the other night. The two throw names at each other. What do you think of this guy? Why isn’t this kid being recruited? What’s going on with the Class of 2023?
Brown is one of Canada’s few basketball scouts. He’s a guy people come to for information on the best basketball players across the country. Today, he runs a company called the Monday Morning Scouting Report that provides detailed reports on all of Canada’s top high school and collegiate basketball players to anyone willing to pay the $200 monthly fee.
He’s genuine about what he does — ask anyone he’s worked with — but ultimately, Brown wants to make it into the NBA.
He was on the inside briefly during the summer of 2017 working with the Dallas Mavericks’ G-League affiliate as a remote scout based on Toronto.
It was an opportunity that came about at a basketball tournament in April 2017. Brown had recently quit his job at CI Financial, a decision that didn’t go over well with his parents.
“One day he sent us a message that said ‘Friday is my last day. I quit,’” his mother, Carol Brown, remembers. “I think he was afraid to tell us to our face, I think he was scared out of his mind.”
Carol says she and her husband Peter were livid. They had pressured Brown to pursue a more traditional career, but Brown says he couldn’t do it any longer.
“I had to break away,” Brown says. “My whole life pretty much I had been pretty controlled to doing what they thought was best, but this time I knew what was best.”
So, Brown told his boss he was leaving to pursue his dream. He spent the next few months collecting information on all the top collegiate basketball players. In total, he says he produced about 130 reports.
Then came his break. At the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Va., he struck up a conversation with Jim Kelly, a San Diego-based scout for the Mavericks. The two hit it off, and Kelly introduced Brown to the Mavericks’ general manager Donnie Nelson.
“[Nelson] asked to take a picture with me,” Brown remembers. “I was just some kid… and then they invited me for dinner with their whole front office.”
The two-and-a-half-hour meal allowed Brown to prove himself. Nelson peppered him with names of all the tournaments’ prospects, maybe 80 in total Brown says.
“I was impressed with Wesley’s knowledge of the player pool,” Kelly said. “Not only of the stars, everybody knows who the top three or four guys are, but I think when you go to an event at that level and you have a knowledge of all the players there, it shows a love for the game and a passion for the game.”
That night the Mavericks offered Brown a job. It was great experience and his first time working with an NBA organization, but after the summer Brown decided he didn’t see a path to success and needed to do something different.
“I started to realize my niche,” Brown says. “As time went on, and what people were interested in most, and what there was a lack of here, which is scouting the Canadian players.”
Brown says he goes to about 20 games a week and spends about eight hours in his car driving to and from schools. He’s constantly chatting with coaches and parents, trying to gather as much information as he can to help get Canadian high school basketball players into college.
“He’s in every gym,” Charles Hantoumakos, the head coach of Thornlea Secondary School’s basketball program, says. “I think what’s going to get him to the next level is the objective view that he has, the honesty behind what he’s doing.”
Brown says he loves what he’s doing. He loves finding a diamond in the rough and helping a child in his recruiting process. He’s still hoping to one day make it into the NBA, but regardless he’s doing what he always wanted to do.
“I’ve already succeeded,” Brown says. “I know I will potent–”
He stops himself. For a brief moment he appeared to allow a faint sliver of self-doubt to creep into his mind.
“I will, I know I will,” he continues. “I can say potentially, but I have full confidence in myself.… Someone will come calling, because I’ve made myself valuable now.