Carlon Brown making push for NBA
One season with Buffs helped guard raise his draft stock
04/18/2012 05:07:21 PM MDT
Colorado's Carlon Brown is hoping his stellar play in the Pac-12 Tournament will help his NBA draft status.
buffzone.com/ci_19605463'>CU 56, Texas Southern 51
CU men's basketball schedule
Nov. 11 - Ft. Lewis 57, CU 85
Nov. 17 - Wichita State 67, CU 58
Nov. 18 - Maryland 78, CU 71
Nov. 20 - CU 81, W. Michigan 76
Nov. 23 - Air Force 73, CU 76, OT
Nov. 28 - CU 70, Georgia 68
Nov. 30 - CU 64, Colorado State 65
Dec. 7 - CU 71, Fresno State 64
Dec. 9 - Wyoming 65, CU 54
Dec. 19 - CU 70, CSU Bakersfield 64
Dec. 22 -
Dec. 28 - CU 92, New Orleans 34
Dec. 31 - CU 73, Utah 33
Jan. 5 - CU 87, Washington 69
Jan. 7 - CU 71, Washington State 60
Jan. 12 - Cal 57, CU 50
Jan. 14 - Stanford 84, CU 64
Jan. 19 - CU 69, Arizona State 54
Jan. 21 - CU 64, Arizona 63
Jan. 26 - CU 74, USC 50
Jan. 28 - UCLA 77, CU 60
Feb. 2 - CU 83, Oregon State 57
Feb. 4 - CU 72, Oregon 71
Feb. 9 - Arizona 71, CU 57
Feb. 11 - CU 63, Arizona State 49
Feb. 18 - CU 55, Utah 48
Feb. 23 - Stanford 74, CU 50
Feb. 26 - CU 70, California 57
Mar. 1 - Oregon 90, CU 81
Mar. 3 - Oregon State 83, CU 69
March 7 - Pac-12: CU 53, No. 11 Utah 41
March 8 - Pac-12: CU 63, Oregon 62
March 9 - Pac-12: CU 70, California 59
March 10 - Pac-12: CU 53, Arizona 51
March 15 - NCAA Tournament: CU 68, UNLV 64
March 17 - NCAA Tournament: Baylor 80, CU 63
Carlon Brown's performance at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles last month, highlighted by the windmill dunk against Cal, captured the attention of college basketball fans from coast to coast.
Now the 6-5 guard is hoping the momentum from Colorado's memorable postseason run will help him on the narrow path to the NBA.
Brown competed at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a longstanding showcase of senior talent for the NBA Draft, last week. He averaged 10.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a starter on the team (Roger Brown's) that won the championship.
"It went well. It was a good experience for me. I thought I played OK," Brown said during a recent interview with the Daily Camera. "It's hard to get in a rhythm because everyone there was the main guy on their (college) team. I could have averaged more (points), but I missed some shots that I normally make, just trying to get the rust factor out of my system."
Brown hasn't talked to any NBA scouts directly, but he knows what he needs to work on to get to the next level. The short lost includes knocking down 3-pointers from NBA range, making all of his shots more consistently and avoiding turnovers.
During the middle of conference play, Brown went into an offensive slump that he was unable to explain. In four consecutive games from Feb. 11-26, the Buffs' leading scorer averaged 6.3 points on 8-for-35 (22.9 percent) shooting.
And then Brown went mad in March.
Brown was named the most outstanding player of the Pac-12 Tournament after averaging 15.8 points (on 50 percent shooting) and 4.8 rebounds to lead the Buffs to the championship with four wins in four nights.
The exclamation point dunk in the semifinals against Cal made SportsCenter's "Top Plays." Brown's highlight reel slam in the title game against Arizona ended CU's drought without a field goal at eight minutes and 19 seconds and proved to be the difference in the two-point win.
A breakaway throw-down by Brown at the Pit in the final minutes staved off UNLV's second-half surge as the Buffs won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in 15 years.
"I think it helped it," Brown said of the fantastic finish to his CU career assisting his professional basketball dreams. "It adds to my résumé and my college career as far as those credentials."
Brown was a solid player in the Mountain West for three seasons and led Utah in scoring before transferring to CU two years ago. Sitting out the 2010-11 season and practicing against current NBA rookies Alec Burks and Cory Higgins forced him to take his game go to another level.
"I would definitely say I improved since I left Utah," Brown said. "Playing with guys like Cory and Alec helped with my competitiveness and the challenge to get better every day. They were two years I will never forget and will forever cherish because we did some great things and made some history for this program."
Brown was named All-Pac-12 second team. Ironically, he was on the same team at the Portsmouth Invitational as Cal rival and Pac-12 Player of the Year Jorge Gutierrez. The Bears' senior point guard went 6-for-34 from the field in three games against CU last season (the Buffs lost at Berkeley and won the meetings in Boulder and Los Angeles).
"It was cool. He did what he normally does, which is defend and create opportunities for his teammates. It was a nice time playing with him," Brown said. "He was wondering why he was insufficient against us. I told him why. We got a little laugh out of that."
Seniors like Brown and Gutierrez usually have to take the road less traveled to the NBA. The draft is all about underclassmen with "tremendous upside" like Kentucky freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The only Pac-12 players currently projected as first-round picks at nbadraft.net are Washington's Terrence Ross (sophomore shooting guard) and Tony Wroten (freshman point guard).
Last year, Burks was a lottery pick (12th overall, Utah Jazz) after leaving CU following his sophomore year. Higgins, a four-year starter, made the Charlotte Bobcats roster as an undrafted free agent.
Brown, who averaged 12.6 points and 3.8 rebounds during his only season in Boulder, has received some advice from his friend Julyan Stone, a rookie on the Denver Nuggets.
"(Stone) has given me some good pointers and tips. The main thing is to do what I normally do," Brown said. "I'm trying to not make it an emphasis on making the NBA, but just trying to relax and play the way I play. I'm trying to have a nice even keel approach."
Brown's athletic ability, which allowed him to create his own shot and get to the rim at will in the Pac-12, should draw the interest of scouts this summer. Typically, undrafted free agent success stories happen when the right player is fortunate enough to find the right coach or to fill a hole on a roster.
"I think that plays a part in it. I probably need to go to a team that needs a specific fit," said Brown, who will graduate from CU next month with a degree in sociology. "I just have to spark the interest of one person. I think I could help a lot of teams, but you just need one team to want you."