Calvert Hall graduate Brown a big shot at Johns Hopkins
By Nelson Coffin
Feb 18, 2016 | 6:00 AM
From the moment he took over as a starter on the Johns Hopkins attack unit two years ago, Ryan Brown has been scoring at an unprecedented clip for one of the nation's oldest — and most distinguished — lacrosse programs.
While producing a whopping 110 goals during his last 35 games, including six more in a 12-11 season-opening double-overtime victory at Navy last week, the 2012 Calvert Hall grad's extraordinary 3.5-goals-per-game pace has him moving quickly up the Blue Jays' all-time goal-scoring chart.
The senior with a cannon overhand delivery is now tied with his current Hopkins men's lacrosse offensive coordinator Bobby Benson for sixth place with 124 career goals and is closing in on National Lacrosse Hall of Fame member Jeff Cook's 128 scores.
"We want Brian to do a lot of different things," said Pietramala, who is also in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame after a brilliant career as a defenseman for the Jays. "We want him to carry the ball more, to dodge and feed. He can do all those things, and that will make him harder to cover by giving the defense different looks."
Brown is up for the challenge.
"I worked hard in the offseason," said Brown, who has compiled 35 assists to give him 159 career points (18th all-time). "I know I'll need to do more, like feed, dodge and score on the run, to become a little more versatile."
To that end, Pietramala, who is very good friends with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and is also friendly with Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, secured an internship for Brown with the Bengals last summer.
Brown spent more than a month working for the Ravens' AFC North rivals during their training camp, giving him some insight into how professional athletes approach their job.
Despite being tricked by Bengals defensive back Adam "Pacman" Jones into blowing a whistle that cut drill time too short on one of his first days in camp, Brown's internship turned out to be time well spent.
"I was taken aback by just how much prep work they do," he said. "And they really hit the weights — hard. Whether it's (watching) film, rehab, stretching or whatever they do, they go 100 percent."
Always a hard worker in his own right, the experience in Cincinnati has helped the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder enter into his final season at Homewood in peak physical condition.
"He's in phenomenal shape, and that will help him," Pietramala said. "Just being around pro athletes, he saw a different different side of what their commitment is like."
Brown will soon learn personally what it is to be a professional athlete after being selected with the fourth overall pick by the Charlotte Hounds in the 2016 Major League Lacrosse draft. The MLL team's season runs from late April to early August.
However, before he makes the jump to the MLL, there is a rugged schedule to navigate for Brown and his teammates in the Big Ten Conference with a revamped defense that might take some time to form a cohesive unit.
And that, in turn, means the Jays' offense will need Brown to keep putting up numbers, although he's more interested in team goals rather than personal ones.
"If they (shots) fall, they fall," said Brown, whose wicked shot can be unleashed with either hand.
Brown knows he can rely on sophomore Boys' Latin product Shack Stanwick, whom he calls "an assist machine," to make life easier for the offense.
The previous three years, he also had Stanwick's older brother, Wells, feeding him that ball.
"With the Stawicks, if you're open, they're not going to miss you," he said.
Brown is used to playing with talented attackmen, considering that he shared the spotlight with Carter Brown (Ohio State), Patrick Kelly (North Carolina) and Jordan Germershausen (Loyola University) on Calvert Hall's 2012 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship team.
His reunion with Carter Brown, who is not related, was a classic in that Ryan Brown notched eight goals and an assist in the 15-12 loss to the Buckeyes last April while his erstwhile Cardinals teammate scored six times.
In the rematch in the Big Ten tourney championship game, Ryan Brown netted his 53rd and 54th goals of the season to overtake Cook and Riordan on the all-time single-season scoring list in Hopkins' 13-6 victory. He finished the season with 61 goals.
Carter Brown said he is looking forward to seeing his buddy when the teams clash at Homewood Field on April 9.
"I hope it gets to be a traditional rivalry," said Carter Brown, who has amassed 87 career goals at Ohio State. "I'd like to look back in 20 years and say, 'We started that.'"
Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly gives most of the credit for helping Ryan Brown develop such a lethal shot goes to longtime assistant coach Torre Kasemyer, who preaches old-school mechanics.
It helps, according to Kelly, that Brown's work ethic is second to none.
"He and Kevin Huntley are the best shooters I've ever had, and the ones that worked the hardest," Kelly said about another Calvert Hall player who was a prolific attackman (109 goals) at Hopkins. "I knew Ryan would be a great goal scorer, because if he has his feet set, and has time and room, it's a goal. When I see him now, I'm most impressed with how he's gotten faster, stronger and fitter. He's just a more dynamic player."