(TNS) — Back home in Memphis, Rod Brown was already known as a "man-child" before he arrived at Wichita State.
But after a redshirt year spent with strength and conditioning coach Kerry Rosenboom, Brown has packed more than 30 pounds of muscle onto his 6-foot-6 frame and is prepared to make an instant impact this coming season for the Shockers.
"I feel like a new man," said Brown, who now weighs in around 225 pounds. "When I was in Memphis, everyone called me a 'man-child' and said I already had a college body. But Kerry has helped me fill my body out. I picked up a lot of muscle so I can hold my own on defense, one through four.
"I want to be known for my ability to defend multiple positions."
Brown will certainly have every opportunity to earn significant minutes. He is just one of five scholarship players returning from last season's team. Although he didn't receive any playing time, a year of learning Gregg Marshall's playbook and expectations, lifting weights and being in a Division I program should give Brown a head start on WSU's eight newcomers.
Armed with athleticism, positional versatility and a desire to prove himself, Brown is an ideal fit for this new version of the Shockers.
Now that he's bulked up to 225, Brown believes he can rebound and defend well enough to play power forward as well as small forward. He also has lofty expectations for what he wants to accomplish his first year in the American Athletic Conference.
"I want to be a dog defensively out there," Brown said. "I want to lead the conference in steals and defensive rebounding. I want to be everywhere out there."
Brown figures to assume the defensive stopper role that graduated senior Zach Brown played last season. While his offense remains a work in progress, Brown should be a threat in transition with his athleticism and he has developed a knack for offensive rebounds, much like Rashard Kelly, another graduated senior.
He'll compete for playing time on the wing with Markis McDuffie and Dexter Dennis, while also being able to spell Morris Udeze and Isaiah Poor Bear Chandler at power forward if needed.
"He's really, really strong," former WSU teammate Landry Shamet said of Brown last season. "He's almost like Rashard in the way he crashes the offensive glass. He can be a bull. He's really feisty and a good competitor, someone you could see turning into a lockdown guy."
Zach Brown and Kelly were two seniors that Rod Brown credited for his maturation during his first season in Wichita.
He won't have the same luxury this season, as McDuffie is the only player on the roster who has played for Marshall for more than one season. But Brown feels prepared to make his impact felt immediately.
"I just feel like this is going to be a really big season for me," Brown said. "I prepared and I stayed hungry and I learned from the seniors. I'm just ready to finally get out there and see what I can do."