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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Michael O'Brien

James Brown, the state’s top junior, leaves St. Rita for Missouri prep school

St. Rita’s James Brown (13) loses the handle on the ball against Joliet West’s Jeremy Fears Jr. (Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times)

James Brown, currently the top nationally-ranked player in the state’s Class of 2024, announced on Friday that he’s leaving St. Rita and will attend Link Academy, a basketball-focused prep school in Missouri.

“Excited and thrilled to begin a new journey at Link Academy, where I will be finishing my high school career,” Brown tweeted. “I’m striving to be the best me I can be. Let’s get it!”

Brown, ranked No. 48 in the country by, committed to North Carolina in January. Brown will join Elliot Cadeau, another Tar Heels recruit, at Link.

Brown started as a freshman for the Mustangs. He and Morez Johnson, an Illinois recruit, were expected to form the backbone of one of the state’s best teams for four years.

Nojus Indrusaitis transferred in from Lemont last summer to join his Meanstreets AAU teammates at St. Rita. Indrusaitis’ arrival catapulted the Mustangs into several preseason national rankings and the No. 2 spot in the Sun-Times’ preseason Super 25.

St. Rita won the Catholic League Blue and finished 23-11 against a national schedule. The Mustangs lost to rival Brother Rice in the Class 4A sectional semifinals.

Brown, a 6-10 center, averaged 11 points and nine rebounds this season. He was a third team All-City selection.

Brown is the latest in a string of top players to transfer out of state, following JJ Taylor, Amari Bailey, Nimari Burnett and Matas Buzelis.

Johnson, currently ranked No. 59 by 247sports, now becomes the state’s highest-rated junior.

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