It’s official. J’Covan Brown will forgo his senior year and enter the 2012 NBA Draft. “There were a lot of reasons to come back to school next year, most importantly getting my degree and being around my teammates every day,” Brown said in a statement released by the University. “But the time has come for me to pursue a career in professional basketball and take care of my daughter, Jordyn. This has been a difficult decision, but it is the best decision for myself and my family.”
The Daily Texan first reported that a source confirmed the junior star would enter the NBA in late March, but at the time Brown maintained that it was all speculation. He officially gave word yesterday and Texas head coach Rick Barnes recognizes the team leader’s difficult decision.
“We respect his decision and understand his need to provide for his daughter,” Barnes said.
The 22-year-old played for three years at Texas, where he blossomed into a prolific scorer. He went from averaging 9.6 points per game in limited playing time his freshman year to scoring a conference-best 20.1 points per contest this season. He played strong defense this year, averaging 1.2 steals a game, and he’s a proven slasher to the basket.
Detractors note that he shot the ball too much, naturally giving way to a lot of points, but even more misses. However, Brown was forced to carry a Longhorns team that struggled to find a complementary star all year. So while he was able to notch nearly 24 points a game against top 25 teams this year, it came on 39 percent shooting. Texas exited the NCAA tournament in its first game against Cincinnati.
He has shined on big stages though. One of his most memorable performances came when then No. 11 Texas squared off against No. 2 Kansas in January 2011. Brown, a sophomore, came off the bench and played 29 minutes of inspired basketball to fuel Texas past the Big 12 bullies in the second half. He finished with 23 points on 60 percent shooting, three rebounds and greater national recognition.
“It was always a dream of mine to be a Longhorn, and I have lived that dream and became a better person,” Brown said.
Despite his grit and intelligence as a leader for Texas this year, draft analysts question Brown’s size. At 6-foot-1, he is small for an NBA shooting guard, so he is a probable second-round selection. He would suit teams like the Toronto Raptors or Portland Trailblazers, who are looking for shooting guards and can afford Brown’s lack of height. Both teams have early second-round picks.
Brown’s departure means Texas only has a six-man roster heading into the 2012-2013 season. The Longhorns will feature a corps of sophomores and possibly top-10 prospect Cameron Ridely. The 6-foot-10 Bush High School senior, who has been verbally committed to Texas since last October, will make his official collegiate decision on April 10.
Brown, a member of the Big 12 all-academic team, plans to finish classes this spring and then resume his degree plan in the future.
Printed on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 as: Horns leading scorer skipping senior season