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Leigha Brown cites proximity to home as 'deciding factor' in transfer from Nebraska
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Leigha Brown cites proximity to home as 'deciding factor' in transfer from Nebraska

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Nebraska vs. Minnesota Women's Basketball, 1.4

Nebraska sophomore guard Leigha Brown (32) shoots a shot against Minnesota on Jan. 4 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Leigha Brown told Nebraska women’s basketball coach Amy Williams on April 2 that she planned to transfer away from the program, and on that same day Nebraska’s leading scorer from this past season put her name in the NCAA transfer portal.

That’s the process that allows her recruitment to officially begin, and it was just three days later when Brown announced she would be transferring to Michigan.

During that time, Brown said she was contacted by almost every school in the Big Ten Conference, according a story in The Star, a newspaper that covers Brown’s hometown of Auburn, Indiana. Brown also was contacted by several other teams outside the conference.

The level of interest in Brown was much greater the second time around. Coming out of high school Brown was considered by the Nebraska coaching staff to be a recruiting steal because she wasn’t recruited heavily by some of the college programs in Indiana. She chose Nebraska over Xavier, Belmont, Western Michigan, Wright State, Indiana State and Youngstown State.

Brown told The Star this week that the biggest factor in her decision to leave Nebraska was family. The Michigan campus in Ann Arbor is about two hours from her home, while Lincoln is 10 hours away.

“Ultimately, I just wanted to be closer to home,” Brown told The Star. “I think I can be a lot happier somewhere closer. My family can come to a lot more games. That was the deciding factor.”

Brown’s final game with Nebraska ended up being against Michigan in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, when the Wolverines rallied for a six-point victory. Brown led the Huskers with 22 points in the loss, including making 3-of-6 three-pointers.

With the NCAA not allowing on-campus recruiting visits currently due to the pandemic, Brown made her decision without making any visits.

“Talking to (Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico) these past few days makes me really excited,” Brown said.

Brown said she doesn’t know if she’ll have to sit out the 2020-21 season because of NCAA transfer rules or if she will receive a waiver. She has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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Husker volleyball/women's basketball reporter

Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

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