Prediction: Brown will be UT's starting PG
Posted on: September 22, 2009 5:32 pm
I got to spend a good bit of time with the Texas staff and Avery Bradley while in Austin, the result being Monday's column . But one of the other great things about the weekend was watching pick-up Saturday at the Longhorns' practice facility, where I saw recruits Tristan Thompson (already committed to Texas) and Corey Joseph (still uncommitted) run with UT's players (the only exception being Dexter Pittman, who was out with flu-like symptoms).
So what did I learn?
First, that Rick Barnes has a lot of options.
He's got two all-league (and possibly All-American) type players up front with Damion James and Dexter Pittman, three capable point guards in Dogus Balbay, Jai Lucas (eligible at the semester) and J'Covan Brown, a pair of freshmen who will someday be pros in Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton, and a trio of battle-tested veterans in Gary Johnson, Justin Mason and Varez Ward to compliment things. No question, Barnes can go 10 or 11 deep and feel comfortable, if he wants. But more than anything I walked away from the pick-up games impressed by Brown, who will eventually be UT's starting point guard, I'm predicting.
My pal Jeff Goodman over at FoxSports.com had been pushing Brown hard, raving about him, really. Still, I remained skeptical, if only because I hadn't seen the Texas native enough to have an intelligent opinion, and because Brown missed all of last season after failing to be cleared by the NCAA for freshman eligibility. That's usually not a good sign -- a point guard who struggles academically (Derrick Rose being an exception, obviously). But after a couple of hours of pick-up, I can report with a degree of certainty that Brown is UT's most talented option at point guard, and he's apparently demonstrated as much all summer.
"J'Covan's really good," James said. "He's been great, man."
Great enough to make you think he'll be the starting point guard?
"At this moment, yes," James answered without hesitation. "He's a guy who really distributes the ball, and you can't [leave him] and double-team me or anybody because of the fact that J'Covan can shoot the ball real good. So he's going to help us a lot."
I think so, too.