Texas Longhorns: J'Covan Brown

J’Covan Brown’s long night ended with good news after all.

The Texas guard was not among the 60 players selected during Thursday’s NBA draft, but he's already lined up his destination to begin his pro career.

Brown has reportedly agreed to play for the Miami Heat's NBA Summer League team next month. According to the Beaumont Enterprise, he'll join the team in Las Vegas on July 8. Miami's first summer game is scheduled for July 15 against Toronto.

A chance to earn a roster spot with the NBA champions is a promising ending to Brown's otherwise disappointing night. He entered the day as a potential late second-round pick, and he ended it as the seventh-best player still available according to ESPN’s Jay Bilas.

The 6-foot-2, 202-pound guard earned All-Big 12 honors after scoring a conference-best 20.1 points per game and leading a young Texas squad to a 20-14 record last season.

He opted to enter the draft a year early as a 22-year-old junior in order to better provide for his daughter, Jordyn, and pursue his lifelong dream. Now that pursuit will begin with a free-agent tryout.

Brown going undrafted meant Texas failed to produce an NBA draft pick for only the second time in the past seven years.

Analyzing J'Covan Brown's draft stock 

June, 28, 2012
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J'Covan Brown's big day has finally arrived, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be happy with the results.
The former Texas guard went pro a year early at a time when, as the Big 12’s top scorer, his stock couldn’t have been higher. But 20.1 points per game only gets you so far on draft boards.

Going into tonight’s NBA Draft (6 p.m., ESPN), Brown’s hopes of hearing his name called don’t look great. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound guard entered the pre-draft process as a potential second-rounder, but poor conditioning at the draft combine in Chicago -- he had the combine’s highest body fat percentage at 12.5 percent -- certainly didn’t help.

Sterling Gibbs leaving Texas

April, 10, 2012
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AUSTIN, Texas -- This time it wasn’t the NBA draft that lured away a Texas player.

It was the lure of playing time.

Sterling Gibbs, a backup point guard has elected to transfer from Texas. The rising sophomore played sparingly as a freshman on a team that had just nine scholarship players.

Gibbs appeared in 30 games, but started none. He averaged 7.5 minutes and 2.6 points per game.

Gibbs is the second player to elect to leave Texas this offseason. Guard J'Covan Brown gave up his final year of eligibility to enter the draft. Texas was able to hang onto point guard Myck Kabongo and that undoubtedly played a large role in Gibbs’ decision to transfer.

Texas signed Javan Felix, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound point guard from Saint Augustine High in New Orleans, in the fall. Felix was already expected to be Kabongo’s backup or even run the floor with Kabongo on occasion. Felix is rated 72 in ESPN’s top 100 players.

With the departure of Gibbs, Texas has five players currently on scholarship and another five who signed letters of intent in the fall. The Longhorns also recently picked up a commitment from shooting guard DeMarcus Holland (Garland, Texas/Naaman Forest). Post player Cameron Ridley, a top 10-rated recruit, is also expected to sign his letter of intent when the spring signing period begins Wednesday.

That leaves Texas with 12 scholarship players. The Longhorns continues to hope to add one more to get to the maximum 13 -- small forward Devonta Pollard. The 6-foot-7 Pollard has Texas among his final four, but just recently completed a trip to Alabama and is headed to Georgetown this weekend. Pollard to ESPN’s TideNation he will make his decision when he returns from Georgetown.

J'Covan Brown going pro

April, 2, 2012
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Chat wrap: QBs, DB recruiting, J'Covan's decision

March, 28, 2012
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Carter Strickland stopped by SportsNation to answer a few questions about the latest hoops news, spring recruiting and the upcoming orange-white game.

Read the full chat here.

If you didn't get your question answered, submit them to the HornsNation mailbag.

Here's a little bit of what you missed in the chat:

Stephen (Seattle, WA)
With Quandre going down but it not being serious, this basically opens the door for whose going to be the #1 backup corner for us. Who do you see filling that role?

Carter Strickland
Josh turner is seeing time at that spot. Josh played some last year and was pretty good backing up Carrington. He was being used in some nickel as well this spring. The other guy to watch is Duke Thomas. He is young but has very good upside. I think you have four corners who are very good with Quandre and Carrington being two of the best in the B12.

John McCrary (Willis, TX)
Is there rumblings that we might see another two quarterback system this season or has Ash moved out in front of McCoy? Also, why is Ra’Shaad samples not committing to Texas yet?

Carter Strickland
Ash is the man for quarterback. They like him and may bring Case in for some plays or the third series of the game but Ash is going to be the guy. Samples is an odd one. Thought he was very close to committing coming out of junior day and then he backed off. Not sure what the reasoning for that is other than he wants to explore all his options.

Chase (S.D.)
What are the chances we get a commitment at or a few days after the spring game? Who are the few most likely to commit if offered? How soon do you expect Akina's scholarship decisions?

Carter Strickland
Akina and the DBs have been the biggest mystery of the recruiting season. He has been so tight with those schollies. I'm thinking there will be one or two commitments in the week that follows the spring game. And one of those is going to be a corner. Luke is coming all the way from Arizona so that could be the guy.

David J (Sugar Land Tx)
Swoops did enough to get his "golden ticket", but how do you think he will do vs the top QBs in the nation at the Elite 11 camp in Cali? Also how excited should Horn football fans be for the future Young/Newton -like signal caller? I know we won’t see him for at least 3 seasons, but the big guy might bring back some excitement to the position.

Carter Strickland
Swoopes really struggled in the NFTC. He is just not there yet as a passer. So when he goes up against guys with big arms, he is going to look like he does not belong. But what he has is upside and that is why Texas recruited him. He just needs to work out a few things. All the tools are there. But Texas needs to get him in, redshirt him and work out his throwing motion.

Dylan (H)
Chances J'Covan comes back? If he improves his consistency and gets into better shape I could see him improving his draft stock into somewhere in the middle to late second round so why not come back?

Carter Strickland
I really do not think he will come back but have been very wrong before (see Myck Kabongo). I don’t think his draft status will go up any. He does not have the game that captures the imagination of NBA scouts. I'm not saying he can't make it in the NBA. But if he does it is going to be by getting a few 10-day contracts and catching the eye of someone. There are too many guys who can score just like he does who are 6-5 and fast.

Three Deep: More good news for UT hoops?

March, 28, 2012
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1. Waiting on Brown: First Myck Kabongo decides he’s staying on the 40 Acres. Then, Texas fans finally here from top recruit Cameron Ridley who told ESPN’s Dave Telep that he will sign his national letter of intent in April. All in all, the good news is rolling in for Rick Barnes’ team. But now you have to wonder how, if at all, will any of this affect J’Covan Brown.

There’s still no news on that front. But it’s interesting to consider the possible lineups for next season. One version is Kabongo, Sheldon McClellan, Ridley, Julien Lewis and Jonathan Holmes. Four sophomores and a freshman. Not bad. NCAA tourney berths have probably been won with less. But when you think of having Brown in that lineup, this looks like a team that could make some noise in March, 2013. It’s a big if, but having Brown as the scorer he is, but also a guiding presence to the young guys suddenly make Texas a little deeper and certainly more explosive on offense. The ball is in Brown’s court.

2. Visitors welcome: It will be interesting to see who shows up for Sunday’s spring game. William Wilkerson reported that a trio of Lancaster (Texas) prospects, including Texas commit Daeshon Hall, will be there. This is surely the first of many reports about which prospects are coming to Austin. On top, there are said to be a number of sophomores who have also been invited.

As the schedule goes, that could determine where Texas stands with some 2013 prospects. LSU is holding its spring game Saturday and some Texas targets are attempting to attend both. Baton Rouge to Austin isn’t that difficult of a trip, but we’ll see if that has any bearing on landing anymore 2013 prospects this weekend.

3. Meetings, meetings: Hopefully college football fans aren’t holding their breaths waiting on anything to come from the BCS meetings. The meetings went on for more than seven hours Monday and continue. The conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick are meeting in Grapevine, Texas, and playoffs are amongst the things being discussed. SEC commission Mike Slive intimated that change could be a ways off. But, on the bright side, there are more meetings in April.

Board Meeting: March 27, 2012 

March, 27, 2012
3/27/12
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Welcome to your daily Board Meeting. Each evening we’ll update you on the day’s hottest topics on the HornsNation forum.

1. Raulerson vs. Prevot: It was a much-talked about showdown at Sunday’s Nike Football Training Camp in Dallas. Texas commit Jake Raulerson, who lined up in a variety of spots on offense, battled defensive end target Torrodney Prevot. Sure, they could soon be teammates if Prevot commits to Texas. They could even line up together on the same defensive line if Raulerson ends up on that side of the ball. At least for one afternoon, they were competitors, and HornsNation’s Max Olson took some videos of it. This is what these types of camps are all about -- best vs. best competition that you might not see elsewhere. Check out the video, play scout and weigh in on this matchup. More importantly, help us decide who won.

2. Many happy returns: One of the few Texas highlights of last season’s Red River Rivalry game was Fozzy Whittaker’s 100-yard kick return. Then Whittaker did it again the following week. It was just one of the many ways Whittaker contributed to the Longhorns before being injured. While Texas is set at running back, it needs to find the right guy to return kickoffs. After Whittaker’s injury, several candidate tried, but with minimal success.

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Chat reminder: 2 p.m. CT

March, 27, 2012
3/27/12
8:00
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It's Tuesday so we're answering your questions.

Join Carter Strickland at 2 p.m. CT to chat about spring football, the results from the Dallas NFTC and Elite 11 events and what lies ahead with Texas hoops now that Myck Kabongo will return.

Submit your questions here.

Remember to tune in at 2 p.m. CT.

Board Meeting: March 26, 2012 

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
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Welcome to your daily Board Meeting. Each evening we’ll update you on the day’s hottest topics on the HornsNation forum.

1. Kabongo making noise: It’s finally some good news for the Texas Longhorns basketball team. The Longhorns narrowly made the NCAA tournament only to get bounced by Cincinnati in their first game. The season’s end left many UT supports wondering what next year’s team might look like since both freshman Myck Kabongo and junior J'Covan Brown were seen as borderline NBA prospects and could have elected to leave. Kabongo has silenced the rumors about his future, for at least a year after announcing today that he’ll be back for his sophomore season. How will this affect Brown’s decision? What might the Longhorns lineup look like next season? Those are just some of the threads in this forum post.

2. Recuits: Broad topic, broad question thrown out from the fans. What five undecided recruits does Texas need to get? It’s tricky when discussing the 2013 class. There are only a few spots left and, don’t forget, Texas has yet to offer any in-state defensive backs. Some of the answers range from the realistic – Maurice Smith, Dontre Wilson, Ra’Shaad Samples -- to maybes like Su’a Cravens and Cole Luke, to wishful thinking like Robert Nkemdiche. Which five do you want?

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1. Speaking loudly: Texas quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy spoke publicly Thursday. Things might finally be loosening up with the Longhorns. Neither spoke much, outside of postgame press conferences all last season, and the Texas staff has guarded them throughout the spring.

But getting Ash out in front of the media is important to his development. No, it’s not going to prevent him from turnover or fix his deep-ball mechanics, but if he’s going to be the starting quarterback at Texas, he’s going to face tough questions. He might as well get comfortable with those asking them.

It’s also a good sign for the rest of the program. Mack Brown closed off practically everything last spring and fall while his team refocused at the 5-7 season in 2010. Now, 8-5 is no reason to fling open the doors to the program, but it show that Brown is more comfortable with his new philosophies and the plans that are now in place.

2. Brown deserves his time: There were reports that J’Covan Brown was gone to the NBA. Then he wasn’t. The Texas junior released a statement Thursday night saying that he had not made a decision, needed to consult with his family, and would inform the Longhorns as soon as he was ready.

Brown should take every second he needs. Will coming back improve his draft stock? Maybe, but not really according to some analysts. Brown does have family consideration weighing on his decision as he has a young daughter. But certainly, the Big 12’s leading scorer should take as much time as possible and get all the information available before announcing his plans.

3. Look into the future: It’s never too early to look ahead to 2014 recruiting. Texas certainly has. They’ve extended invitations to the spring game to a number of 2014 prospects. The scouting period also gets started in earnest this weekend, especially in Texas. Elite 11 camps and Nike Training Camps in Dallas will host some of the state’s best and launch some of them into the upper echelon of recruiting.

As always, HornsNation wants to hear from you. Hit us up with questions or comments by going to the forum.
AUSTIN, Texas -- J'Covan Brown doesn’t know what the future holds.

The Texas guard just knows he has a decision to make -- stay or go. That decision, the junior said, has not yet been made.

“I’d like to let our fans know that I have not made any decision on my basketball future,” the junior said in a statement released by the university. “The main thing I’ve been focused on after the season ended has been getting caught up with my academics.

“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. 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.”

Brown, the leading scorer in Big 12 last season, is not seen as a top prospect by ESPN’s Chad Ford. In fact, Ford predicts that if Brown leaves he will not be drafted and ranks him as the 77th best prospect available.

On the flip side, Brown has been at Texas four years and it is assumed that his stock may not increase in another season with the Longhorns. He has a 1-year-old daughter and has said that family considerations will play into his decision.

Brown has until April 10 to declare that he is forgoing his last year of eligibility. If he does leave, Texas will have only freshmen and sophomores on the roster next season unless it signs a junior college player.

Three Deep: Waiting and wondering

March, 22, 2012
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1. Still waiting: Late Tuesday, Damon Sayles reported that Maurice Smith (Sugar Land, Texas/Dulles) had received a scholarship offer from Ole Miss, his 13th. HornsNation’s Max Olson reported that Smith had recently spoken with the Texas coaches who have asked him to visit during spring practice.

They are also demanding his patience. As Olson points out, he is almost certain to get an offer from the Longhorns, but how long does Smith wait?

With the misses the Texas coaches have made in recruiting, it’s wise to take time in evaluations and finding just the right prospect at each position. Furthermore, Texas coaches have said they are interested in players who want to be Longhorns. In Smith’s case, the convincing might have to come from the Texas staff to prove they really want Smith in burnt orange.

2. Feeling a draft: Iowa State sophomore forward Royce White has announced he will leave early for the NBA. White was certainly one of the breakout stars in the Big 12 this season. Texas fans are still waiting to see what Longhorns J'Covan Brown and Myck Kabongo decide to do about their professional futures.

There are two dates to keep in mind while watching this situation. The first is April 29. Players have until 11:59 p.m. ET to declare for the draft. The second date is 5 p.m. ET on June 18. Players who have declared, and not signed with an agent, have until then to withdraw their name from draft eligibility.

The time should help Brown and Kabongo. They can submit to the draft advisory board to see where they stand. For players like those two, who draft experts have in a variety of scenarios, that advising is crucial. At least they’ll be better informed on whatever decision they make.

3. Campbell honored: Former Texas linebacker/defensive back Tom Campbell will be inducted into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. Campbell played in the 1969 and 1970 Cotton Bowl Classics, both of which were Longhorns wins.

In the ’69 game, Campbell was named the game’s outstanding defensive player after recording two tackles and two interceptions. The following year, Campbell intercepted Notre Dame quarterback Joe Theismann with 38 seconds to play to seal a 21-17 win. It also helped the Longhorns secure the national championship.

Three Deep: Tough weekend for hoops 

March, 19, 2012
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1. Tough hoops weekend: It wasn't a fun weekend for Texas basketball. Both the men’s and women’s teams lost in their opening games. The men fell to Cincinnati, 65-59, and the women lost to West Virginia, 68-55.

As the game ended in Nashville and Rick Barnes’ team once again saw an early NCAA tournament exit, the thought for most Texas fans turned to what happens next? Will junior J’Covan Brown leave early? Will Myck Kabongo be a one-and-done? Answers to these two questions will do more to shape next season than anything else.

Chad Ford has Brown as someone leaning toward the draft and projects him as a second round pick. Kabongo doesn’t appear ready for the NBA after his struggles running the offense this season, but Ford cites that he could be a better pro if he finds a system that fits his style.

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Three Keys: Texas vs. Cincinnati 

March, 15, 2012
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Texas freshman Jonathan Holmes wanted to make one thing perfectly clear after the matchups came out on Sunday night: “I’m not afraid of Yancy Gates. I’m not afraid of anybody.”

Maybe Holmes did not see the right hook Cincinatti’s Gates laid on Xavier’s Kenny Frease in their brawl back in December. Of course neither did the unsuspecting Frease. The point is Gates has some fight in his game. And Texas has to be more than a punching bag. The No. 11 seed Longhorns (20-13) have to throw a few haymakers of their own as they match up with the No. 6 seed Cincinnati (24-10) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Nashville Friday.
Pierre Jackson, Jonathan Holmes
Kevin Jairaj/US PresswireTexas will need Jonathan Holmes to be physical against Cincinnati.

To make sure Texas has at least a puncher’s chance here are three keys to the game:

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Moments before a final half of basketball that may have decided the fate of Texas’ season, coach Rick Barnes stood before a dry-erase board in the Longhorns’ locker room.

On one side, Barnes scribbled three letters: “N-I-T.”

Then he took a step to his right and jotted down four more: “N-C-A-A.”

Barnes put down the marker and looked at his team.

“Who are we?” he asked the Longhorns. “Which one would you put your name under?”

By the time Texas left the Sprint Center, the question had been answered.

In a game that so many predicted they would lose, the Longhorns fought back from an 11-point deficit and defeated Iowa State 71-65 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament. Along with propelling them into Friday’s semifinal against Missouri, the victory significantly enhanced the résumé of a Texas team that entered the contest on the NCAA tournament bubble.

Now 20-12, the Horns feel much better about their chances of earning a 14th consecutive bid under Barnes, who isn’t the type to politick to the selection committee.

He shouldn’t have to.

Texas finished 9-9 in what is generally regarded as the second-best league in the country behind the Big Ten. The Longhorns’ strength of schedule is No. 20 in the country according to ESPN's InsideRPI, and they have only one defeat (at Oklahoma State) that can be viewed as a “bad loss.”

Thursday’s victory over Iowa State also should turn some heads considering the Cyclones -- who tied for third in the Big 12 standings -- entered the game touting wins in four of their previous five contests. Texas’ win Thursday came before 18,792 people, most of whom were in support of Iowa State.

“You love to walk into other gyms and quiet their fans,” UT guard J’Covan Brown said.

Texas led 65-59 with 2 minutes, 55 seconds left before Iowa State scored six consecutive points to force a tie. But rather than flounder in the face of adversity, the Longhorns flourished.

[+] EnlargeJ'Covan Brown
Peter G. Aiken/US PresswireJ'Covan Brown's late-game cool helped Texas hold off Iowa State -- and strengthen its NCAA case.
With 36 seconds left, Brown spun into the lane and swished a floater as he was fouled. He sank the ensuing free throw to convert the 3-point play to give Texas a 68-65 lead. It was yet another huge shot for a player whose career has been defined by gut-check moments.

Brown scored seven of his game-high 23 points in the second half.

“A few seconds before I hit that shot, Coach was like, ‘Are you feeling it?’” said Brown, a junior. “I told him I was, and he let me go out and do my thing. It gives you a lot of confidence when your coach has your back like that.”

Brown’s performance this season -- he averages a Big 12-best 20.1 points -- is even more impressive considering he’s on a team that features five freshmen among its top seven players. Opposing defenses are geared to stop Brown, yet he still finds ways to score. His game winner Thursday came against Iowa State’s Chris Babb, who is regarded as one of the top defenders in the Big 12.

“[Brown] is a gifted offensive player,” Barnes said. “He has such great vision. On that last play he had three or four different options, and he picked the right one to get the ball where it needed to be.”

The Cyclones still had a chance after Brown’s clutch basket, but standout Royce White lost control of the ball on the perimeter, and it ended up in the hands of Texas forward Jonathan Holmes. Iowa State immediately fouled Holmes, and the freshman made both free throws to make it 70-65 with 22 seconds left.

Ballgame.

As proud as he was of Brown, Barnes was also ecstatic about the play of freshman point guard Myck Kabongo, who has been on a steady incline all season. Kabongo finished with 11 points, five assists and no turnovers -- Texas had only six turnovers as a team -- and he played excellent defense on Iowa State 3-point ace Scott Christopherson.

A senior, Christopherson entered Thursday’s game averaging 21.8 points in his previous five contests and had made 19 of 36 3-point attempts during that span. Pestered by Kabongo, he scored just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting and missed four of his six attempts from beyond the arc.

As a team, the Cyclones made just five 3-pointers Thursday. They came in averaging nine per game.

Texas now advances to play another strong shooting team in Missouri. The Tigers are shooting 49.9 percent from the field, a mark that ranks third in the nation. Mizzou defeated Texas 84-73 in Columbia on Jan. 14 and 67-66 in Austin on Jan. 30.

“We feel good about this win,” Brown said. “But we can’t let our young guys celebrate too much. We’ve got another big one tomorrow.”

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