Texas' star junior guard J`Covan Brown is NBA-bound, according to the Longhorn Network:
Texas' leading scorer J'Covan Brown will skip his senior season to enter NBA Draft. Brown will discuss on Longhorn Extra later today.— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) April 2, 2012
If this had happened yesterday, I might have held out slim hope for an April Fool's Day prank, but alas, it appears J'Covan's days on the 40 Acres are truly done. After leading the conference in scoring and earning First Team All-Big 12 honors, Brown has decided to take his talents to the professional ranks, and will discuss his decision later today on LHN's Longhorn Extra.
Although I cannot at all fault Brown for making the decision that's best for him, I can't help but feel sad. The kid was one of my Top 4 all-time favorite Longhorns basketball players, along with TJ Ford, PJ Tucker, and Kevin Durant. Mid-way through his freshman season, on a team with Damion James, Jordan Hamilton, and Avery Bradley, I called Brown the best pure basketall player on the team, and during his sophomore season upped the claim to declare him the best pure basketball player Texas has ever had during Rick Barnes' tenure. And I think that's true. Not the best overall player. Not the most talented. But the best pure basketball player -- with natural hoops instincts and understanding you just can't teach.
Without J'Covan Brown, Texas slips back to a bubble NCAA Tournament contender, with a strong core of young talent and room to grow into a dangerous team by March. If Brown had returned... well, Texas may well have been favorites to win the Big 12, and potential Final Four contenders.
So it goes, and I've got nothing but love for J'Covan Brown. He gave Texas three amazing years, and I won't soon forget watching him play in the burnt orange. Hook 'em.
UPDATE: J'Covan Brown's statement is here. DraftExpress mock draft here -- projecting Brown to Orlando near the end of the 2nd Round.