Tag Archives: Jabari Brown

While They Were Sleeping: Coming out parties

Arizona 83, New Mexico St 76: Arizona got off to yet another slow start despite some highly anticipated lineup changes. Kyryl Natyazkho was delegated to the bench in favor of Nick Johnson and a smaller starting group. But NMSU jumped to a 10-2 lead forcing a Miller timeout and no doubt a significant tongue lashing. Then it was time for Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson to show just how great they’re going to be. With the Wildcats down 56-58 with 10 minutes to play, Turner and Johnson scored or assisted Arizona’s next 16 points as the growing Wildcats pulled away. It was undoubtedly Turner’s best game as a Wildcat, going for 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. He did have 4 turnovers and fouled out, but it appears Turner is getting the hang of things. Johnson, however, stole the show with his sky high dunks and knack for hitting big shots. He scored 19 points in the Wildcat victory. There remain questions surrounding Arizona’s interior strength and inability to stop dribble penetration, but in this young season, wins are wins. Also, Solomon Hill continues to play terrific (12-6-7, one turnover).

Oregon 64, UTEP 59: The big news here is that Dana Altman’s squad has lost its second freshman in as many weeks. Two weeks ago Jabari Bird left the program inexplicably. Then, last night, it was announced that Bruce Barron would leave the team as well. After the game, Altman made no bones about the fact that they were off the team, “I want guys who want to be here (and) I think everybody else is pretty solid.” With the proverbial door closed, the once fad pick for a big year find themselves slightly depleted and hurt. That said, these departures open doors for other players to excel and Jonathan Loyd did just that. The sophomore scored a career high 24 points and had this to say about it, “I love basketball, and getting more minutes means more fun. I just took the opportunity that I saw and it just happened to be me scoring.” He’ll need to continue to do so for the Ducks to remain competitive this season. The departures are also perplexing as Altman appears to get a lot of players minutes. Nine Ducks recorded 11 or more minutes Tuesday night. It will be interesting to see how this team – and program – moves forward.

Jabari Brown’s Departure is a Sad Case of Normal

For the second time in a week, a prominent Pac-12 player has had team issues.

In Westwood, it was Reeves Nelson amidst and adding to UCLA’s troubles. The enigmatic forward was suspended and reinstated in a matter of days (and one embarrassing loss) and promptly missed the team’s flight to Maui. The Nelson situation is beginning to be indicative of some larger issues in Ben Howland’s program, something we’ll learn far more about as the season develops.

Such is not the case in Eugene, where Jabari Brown – a highly touted freshman – has abruptly left the Ducks.

News of this broke Sunday afternoon and was later confirmed by a school spokesperson that the freshman indeed left the school, his future unknown.

On the surface this would appear to be similar to UCLA’s goings-on: dynamic albeit mercurial player with a history of basketball success and attitude flags abruptly leaves the team.

But unlike UCLA, where the smoke is hinting at a fire, Dana Altman has simply lost the mercurial star. Brown’s departure is a reflection on Brown and not Altman’s program. Take this into consideration:

Brown’s prep career consisted of three high schools. He began at Salesian-Richmond before leaving to join Findlay Prep in Henderson, NV for his junior season. Then, mid-season at Findlay, Brown changed his mind and headed back home, enrolling in his third high school, Oakland High. That is to say, this ain’t Jabari Brown’s first departing rodeo.

And while this is a blow to Oregon as a basketball team, I think it’s a sad indication of the poor leadership and mentorship surrounding the young man. This, by way of disclaimer, is a distant outsider’s observation for which I have no inside information by which to substantiate. That said, the entitlement and lack of commitment displayed by Brown and other prep stars is not a recipe for success. Luke Winn elaborately documented this earlier this summer with a phenomenal analysis of top-100 recruits, decommitting, transferring, and the like. Read it here.

Winn put numbers to the anecdotal conversation, showing us that the average top-100 recruit in Brown’s class (2011) attended 1.69 high schools. The high school swapping led to an increased likelihood of deommitting and subsequently transferring. The increase in transfer odds? Nearly double the chances they stay put.

What we learn from Winn’s study and Brown’s departure is that this is not an isolated event. It’s an unfortunate trend. One that doesn’t help students or athletes.

So while the Ducks find themselves in a difficult albeit common situation, the concern should be focused on Brown. Where he goes from here and how he can grow and learn as a young man. His talent notwithstanding, he has some growing up to do.

And in the mean time, all eyes will be on Ben Howland’s Bruins; breaths held with each faltered lead and missed bus. We all grow up someday.