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Canes Hoops: The Interesting Case of Bruce Brown Jr

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The former Canes guard gave some interesting insights to the Miami Herald

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Canes Hoops NBA hopeful Bruce Brown Jr spoke with the Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman about the upcoming draft. After reinjuring himself in January and being shut down for the season, Brown fell out of the public eye for a while. Many of us were unsure of his intentions following the season, and valid arguments could be made for staying or leaving. Brown’s conversation with the Herald made the whole situation seem less fluid, and shed light on the whole decision-making process within the program. You can read the original article here. However, I’ve pulled my most intriguing excerpts for you all:

Brown is fully healed:

“I can’t wait to just get back to playing full-time,” Brown said by phone Monday night. “Teams haven’t seen me play since January, so I am excited to get out there and show what I can do. I just have to stick to my strengths, and not try to put too much pressure on myself. I am ready to go. I feel no pain at all in my foot, nothing.”

Glad to hear Brown has recovered from that injury in time for the combine. It makes you wonder how close he was to playing late in the season. If you don’t recall, Brown was dressed at the Canes NCAA tournament game against Loyola-Chicago

He obviously didn’t end up playing, but there is more on this subject later in the article.

Brown’s draft valuation wasn’t much different than we thought

Brown is projected as a second-round pick in most mock drafts, and he said he’s been told his “range” is 15 to 35 or 40. “That’s a big range, but I hope to do well at the Combine,” he said.

There are plenty of stories of athletes entering the draft (especially the NFL version) and getting bad information that encourages them to leave school and leaves them dumbfounded when they don’t hear their name called. That doesn’t appear to be the case here. While a tad optimistic, 15-40 is generally where many of us thought Brown could end up. My big issue here is that the “range” is barely a range at all. 25 spots is nearly an entire round of the 2 round draft. My impression is that a lack of specificity yields to a number of organizations not having a strong opinion on Brown, which could result in him not being picked all together. Brown will likely be one of the draftees with the most to gain/lose from the Combine.

Coach Larranaga told Brown he was a 2 year talent

“When I was recruited to UM, Coach L [Jim Larrañaga], told me that after two years I could be good enough to go, and I am definitely ready to take the next step,” Brown said.

We hear so much about “one and done” players in college basketball, but “two and done”? That’s a rare find. Even more surprising is that Coach L and Brown appear to have had their minds made up during or even before the season on entering the draft. I for one, definitely believed the situation was much more undecided at the end of the season.

Brown was held out of the Tourney to not jeopardize his NBA Future

“It was really hard for me to sit out the end of this season, especially in the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament. I wanted to come back so bad, but Coach L wouldn’t let me. He didn’t want me to jeopardize my future, which shows what kind of man he is that he cared more about my future than his personal status.”

It’s nice to see Brown was fighting to come back for his team. Do the Canes survive against Loyola with Brown in the lineup? We’ll never know, but you would think he could have closed the 2-point gap. Hearing Coach L deal with his players in a similar fashion to Coach Calipari from Kentucky was surprising, but also encouraging as I feel that quality will be an asset with players looking at the program with early NBA intentions. If anything, we now have a better idea of Coach L’s philosophy with regards to young players looking at the NBA.

What do you think of Bruce Brown Jr’s decision to enter the draft? How about Coach Larranaga’s handling of the injury late in the season? Let us know in the comments.