Longhorn basketball recruit J'Covan Brown will not be eligible to compete this fall. This is disappointing news, as Brown's father had been insisting for months that his son would qualify. It magnifies the importance of the late signing of Varez Ward and the return to school of AJ Abrams. While Brown, from Port Arthur, Texas, was a combo guard, coaches expected him to compete for playing time at the point guard position, along with Abrams, Justin Mason, and Dogus Balbay, who missed his freshman season with a knee injury.
The latter may be ineligible when the season begins. Longhorn officials hope the NCAA counts the games Balbay could have played in last season towards his suspension. No word on that yet.
The Longhorns backcourt will likely be short for the first part of the season. A deep frontcourt can account for the scoring that Brown would have provided, but the point guard situation could be unsettled early. Abrams decided to return for his senior season with the hopes that he would see time at the point after being banished to the baseline and corner for two season. Recall that Abrams took over the ballhandling duties his freshman season when Daniel Gibson struggled. It is unclear, however, how the dimunitive Abrams will handle defenders getting into his thin body when he's handling the ball. I don't see a lot of pick-and-roll offense initiated with Abrams this season.
In any case, Brown not qualifying will have some definite ramifications for the 2008-09 Longhorns basketball team, but it also doesn't destroy all expectations for success.