Tomase: How Jaylen Brown ended Michael Chavis' HS hoops career


Michael Chavis the baseball player was a superstar at Georgia's Sprayberry High School, a shortstop with prodigious power who eventually became a first-round pick of the Red Sox.

Michael Chavis the basketball player was a mucker and grinder, a sixth man who played long enough for a starter "to have a drink of water," in his telling.

So when Chavis saw a chance at glory in a game vs. archrival Wheeler, he took it. Unfortunately, Wheeler's star forward had other ideas, ideas that pretty much ended Chavis's basketball career on the spot.

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Perhaps you've heard of him. His name is Jaylen Brown.

One day after Chavis slammed a pair of homers in Sunday's victory over the Yankees, and two days after Brown dropped 26 points on the Heat in Saturday's must-win Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, it's worth revisiting the time in 2014 that Chavis found himself on the receiving end of one of Brown's signature dunks in a crosstown battle of Marietta high schools.

"Going up into this game, we knew Jaylen was there, obviously, they ran pretty much their entire offense around him," Chavis said. "We had games on I believe Tuesdays and Thursdays, and even while preparing to play for those teams, we prepared a week ahead, the entire week, for this game against Wheeler, because it was a big game. The whole week we're talking about this specific play that they run around Jaylen and preparing for it, because they do it against everybody and it's this alley-oop play. We're preparing for a whole week, talking about this, going over it, just making sure that this one play doesn't kill us."

Fast-forward to game night. Chavis, a senior, is the first man off the bench. Brown, a junior, is already one of the most highly regarded prospects in the country who will eventually enroll at Cal.

"I see their point guard bringing up the ball," Chavis told NBC Sports Boston at the end of spring training. "I thought it was a floater. It turns out it wasn't a floater. I'm under the basket, I see it. โ€ฆ I see the floater go up and for some reason I'm like, 'I feel like I can get this rebound.' Dumb decision. So I'm going up there, and right as I'm about to grab the ball, I feel a presence over me. Literally over me.

"And Jaylen grabs what is not a shot, it's an alley-oop, dunks it, I fall down and I'm looking straight up at Jaylen. And he's literally just standing down looking at me. We're at home -- my friends, my family, my faculty at my school are cheering for Jaylen, laughing at me, and I'm on the ground and I got pulled immediately, so he literally ruined my basketball career and I didn't play again."

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Chavis insists this is no exaggeration.

"It was one of the last games of the season and I didn't play again," he said. "I was the sixth man. You've got the whole school laughing at you, that's pretty much it for everybody."

Brown didn't play baseball, so Chavis was never able to engage him in, say, a home run derby to exact a measure of revenge.

"I think I have a chance of competing in that one with him," he said. "But there was a moment when I was on the floor looking up at him and I was like I am absolutely not meant for this sport, so thank God for baseball."

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