Colton Brownson is taking his basketball prowess to the Klamath Basin.
The former Oakland High School standout signed a letter-of-intent with the Oregon Tech men’s basketball program on Wednesday and will play for Justin Parnell, a Sutherlin High product.
“All the weight’s off my shoulders,” Brownson said. “I’m just thankful for the offer. I have to focus and get better now.”
Brownson, a 6-foot-5, 180-pound wing, is the sixth player to sign with the Hustlin’ Owls, who are a member of the NAIA’s Cascade Collegiate Conference.
The others members of the recruiting class to date are Keegan Shivers, a 6-5 wing from Wilsonville; Erik Fraser, a 6-3 wing from Grant of Portland; Jamison Guerra, a 5-11 point guard from Sherwood; Blake Jensen, a 6-7 forward from Sherwood; and Jalen Lampman, a 6-2 guard from Lakeview.
“I’m really excited that we’re able to bring in another Douglas County kid (following Glide’s Brandon Halter in 2016 and Roseburg’s Andrew Weber in ’17),” Parnell wrote in an email. “Colton won a lot of games in his career at Oakland and was coached by one of the best (Jeff Clark) in the state. He will bring a level of athleticism that is rare at our level.”
Oregon Tech was a highly-successful program under the legendary Danny Miles and that’s continued under Parnell, who was a first-team All-American guard for the Owls. Parnell owns a 100-36 record through four seasons at Oregon Tech, including 58-20 in CCC play.
The Owls finished 26-7 overall this past season and advanced to the NAIA Division II National Tournament, but it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Five seniors used up their eligibility.
“I haven’t seen the campus (in person), but I’m interested to get down there and see everything,” said Brownson, who made his decision after talking with Parnell on the phone. “Coach (Parnell) is a real good guy, he’s very well known around here. I just want to see where I fit and keep building.”
Brownson, the son of Jason and Angie Brownson, plans to study small business management.
“(Oregon Tech) is where my grandparents went to school, so it was an easy decision, really,” Brownson added.
“I think it’s a good fit for Colton,” Clark said. “Justin (Parnell) runs an aggressive (uptempo) style and they focus on defense, too. Colton’s athleticism can transition to the next level well.”
Brownson, a four-year varsity letterman, put up some impressive numbers for Oakland, helping the Oakers win three conference titles and reach the Class 2A state tournament three times. They won 75 of 89 games the last three years.
Brownson is the first Oakland player in Clark’s 26 years as head coach to receive first-team all-state honors twice. He was selected the Central Valley Conference’s Most Valuable Player the last two years.
“Probably the best experience I could’ve had,” said Brownson, summing up his time with the Oakers. “I gained a lot of height and athletic ability. I was part of a very solid program with a great coach. I would say coach pushed me to the max.”
Brownson was among the state’s best all-around players as a senior with averages of 19 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3.5 blocked shots and 3 steals.
He’ll leave Oakland ranked first all-time in blocked shots (160), second in scoring (1,437), third in rebounding (566), fifth in steals (184) and 10th in assists (202). Danny Derry, who graduated in 2006, is the scoring leader (1,481).
Brownson feels he needs to work on all aspects of his game in order to have an opportunity for playing time for the Owls in his first season.
“I have to get bigger, stronger and faster,” he said. “The simple things ... like working on fundamentals and improving myself so I can help the team. I can’t wait to start working out again and want to be in shape when I get down there.”