UT Guard J’Covan Brown Rumored to Enter NBA Draft [Update]

“I’m going to cherish this moment right now,” Texas guard J’Covan Brown, said after his team’s first-round NCAA tournament loss to Cincinnati. After a difficult game—in which the Longhorns clawed back from 19 points down only to let Cincinnati reclaim victory in the last few minutes—it was a tough moment to cherish.

It will probably have to do.

According to various reports, Brown may forego his senior season at UT and enter the 2012 NBA draft. It was a move many Longhorn fans expected; Brown led the Big 12 in scoring this year with 20.1 points per game, and he danced around the topic of the NBA in his final post-game interview.

In a statement released Thursday night, Brown said he still has not decided whether to enter the draft. “Just so everyone knows what I’m doing, I’m heading home for the weekend to spend some time with my family and talk with them,” Brown said.

“Then I’ll talk with our coaching staff here at Texas when I get back. I also plan to get some info from the NBA on where I might be picked, if I decide to enter the draft. When my decision is made, I’ll let everyone know.”

In his three years at Texas, Brown’s stats, leadership, and moxie have continually improved each season under the tutelage of Coach Rick Barnes and his staff. Brown’s greatest asset has always been his ability to show up when it mattered most—something that will not be lost on NBA scouts. In addition to his play, Brown was a two-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 selection.

What fans will remember, though, is Brown playing his best games on the biggest stages. As a freshman, he led the Longhorns with 20 points (all after halftime) in a tough first-round NCAA tournament loss against Wake Forest. Last year, he led the Longhorns again in scoring against tournament opponents Oakland and Arizona. In their heartbreaking loss to Arizona, he set a school record for free throws made without a single miss (13-13).

This year followed the same trend; he scored 19 points to lead the Longhorns’ furious charge against Cincinnati—an effort that came up just short in his final collegiate game.

A member of the recruiting class that included current NBA players Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton, it only seems fitting that Brown would leave early for the NBA. He is projected as a mid- to late second round pick, though the wealth of talent in this year’s draft could work against him.

While Texas will miss Brown, most were prepared to lose him. Freshman point guard, Myck Kabongo, however, has Longhorn fans wringing their hands. Kabongo was a five-star prospect when he came to Texas last season out of Canada. He struggled during stretches of this season, but possesses the raw talent and speed to make the jump to the NBA.

While many fans believe Kabongo isn’t ready to go yet, losing point guards early has become a recurring theme for Texas. Starting with T.J. Ford in 2003, Texas fans have had to watch Daniel Gibson, D.J. Augustine, Avery Bradley, and Corey Joseph all cash in their chips after one or two seasons in Austin in favor of the NBA. Each player, other than the recently retired T.J. Ford, is still in the league.

Currently, 12 former Texas players are in the NBA, tied for third most from any college. Best of luck, J’Covan, on becoming lucky number 13. Hook ‘em!

J’Covan Brown. Photo courtesy UT Athletics.


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