Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Blame Derrick Brown

Derrick Brown, with his head at the rim
With the deadline for declaration to the NBA draft quickly approaching, Tu Holloway's future at Xavier is still up in the air. While it seems obvious to the fan base that Tu should return for his senior year, it's never easy to get into the mind of a player in Holloway's situation. The lure of NBA fame and fortune - or even a six-figure salary for playing ball overseas - is sometimes overwhelming to the sensiblities of a young man. In a situation like this, I am forced to do what any logical person would: blame Derrick Brown.

Brown came onto the scene at Xavier as a super-efficient dunk machine of a freshman. That season he averaged almost two points per shot attempt, due in large part to the fact that most of his shots were attempted from within the cylinder. As he matured, Brown added an effective (if not especially pretty) jump shot to go with his sensational athletic ability. He averaged almost 14 points per game as a junior and connected on 39 of 90 threes. With highly touted Indiana transfer Jordan Crawford eligible to play the next season, Brown appeared set to help lead Xavier deep into the tourney as a senior. Then he left.

Brown's departure left a massive vacuum in the offense, as losing the player generally anticipated to be your number one scoring threat will often do. The Muskie ship righted itself though, and when it did, it was Jordan Crawford at the helm. Turns out there was a reason people were so eager to tout him. Crawford gleefully gobbled up the possessions Brown had left behind, pouring in buckets from all distances and angles en route to blowing Gus Johnson's mind. Riding a cresting wave of national exposure, Craw jumped to the NBA after just one season with X. Derrick Brown averaged three points and nine minutes per game that year for Charlotte.

Crawford's departure left a massive vacuum in the offense, as losing the player generally anticipated to be your number one scoring threat will often do. This time it was Tu Holloway who stepped up to become the leader of the offense. While Tu's arrival from Indiana (thanks, Kelvin Sampson!) wasn't quite headline news like Crawford's, his impact on the program has been no less noteworthy. Holloway's leadership and ability to beat the defense and get to the line allowed him to average 20-5-5 and lead Xavier back to the NCAA tournament. While that last part didn't quite go to plan, the national media finally caught onto the fact that Holloway happens to be a terrific guard.

That little history lesson brings us all the way back to the present day. Because Brown left early, Crawford had the necessary possessions available to him that allowed him to put up the numbers that led to his early departure. Now Tu has stood in the gap left by Craw, harvested his extra possessions, and is looking at the choice of jumping now or coming back and trying to put up numbers that will improve his draft stock. None of this would have happened if Brown had just stayed put for one more year. Until someone (hopefully Tu) breaks the cycle of early departures, I'll be over here, blaming Derrick Brown.


  1. This website seems to be anti-Xavier players while claiming to be pro-Xavier. Anyone in Tu's shoes would go to the NBA draft. Making players feel guilty to stay is pathetic. Brown and Crawford are both making good money and can easily afford to go back to college if they wish, while Darnell Williams, who could've made the leap but never got too because he got injured in his senior years.

  2. Do you mean this site or this article? How much of the work on the rest of the site have you read? This article was written from a pretty tongue-in-cheek angle. I think Brown would have benefit from another year in school. Craw was never going to have a senior year at X, and it's debatable whether a junior year would have helped him at all. Both early departures hurt the program.

    At to your assertion that anyone in Tu's shoes would jump for the draft, don't be so sure. He's a 6' guard without a single transcendent skill. It's going to be tough for him to get a lot of love in the draft without backing up this year with another good one.

    The thought that we're anti-Xavier players as a site is absurd. We raged when Tu was snubbed for the Cousy Award, lauded Dante even when he was struggling, and bore with Cheek until he learned that having the ball is important. If Derrick Brown is reading this site and cares so much about our opinion that he feels guilty, I'll be glad to apologize to him in person. Your assertion that the point of this article it to guilt Tu into staying is laughable.

  3. I am not saying that your articles would have any real affect on Tu staying or leaving, I am saying your opinion that it is wiser to stay rather then enter the draft is laughable.

    College costs 30k a year and the league minimum is around 500k, do the math. Tu had a great year and had a much better year than Brown did when he went into the draft.

    And money aside, NBA is the highest form of competition possible and every player strives to get there. If he stays another year and gets injured it might never happen.

    I predict he will go late 1st/early 2nd round.

  4. Here's some math for you to do: of the starting PG in the NBA playoffs, Tu is taller than none of them. The two he equals in height - Chris Paul and Jameer Nelson - each hit at least 38.8% of their threes this year. Tu is a career 33% shooter from behind the arc. He also got almost 40% of his points from the line this year against a schedule that featured no more than a handful on future NBA guards. To say that Tu has proven that he is ready to jump is a huge stretch. Are you seeing any draft buzz around him online?

    Side note: your financial argument is basically defunct. To cite the cost of tuition at X in Tu's case is completely irrelevent; he's on a full ride. League minimum in the NBA is more than Tu is making now, but do you know how much of a second round contract is guaranteed? If you said none, you're correct. Everyone is striving for that first round deal, the one that sets you up for life. You make the second round of the draft and then get cut in camp, you end up playing in the Greece.

  5. Hm, comparing him to the best point guard in the NBA seems a little unfair. Subjectively, I believe Tu is ready for the NBA, his attacking skills combined with his basketball IQ is what convinces me most.

    Second. I don't like repeating myself, but I don't see how the financial argument is defunct. He is on a full ride, but thats only worth 30-40k. He can make 100x that in the NBA or Europe and get himself on the market. If he gets injured senior year (i.e. Darnell Williams) he might never get that chance.

  6. I love that you keep beating your head against this wall. My point was that, if you're only six feet tall, you'd better have some serious PG skills if you want to make it in the NBA. Tu isn't there right now. His college three-point percentage isn't good enough to cut it in the league, and I think their line is even further from the bucket. I love - love - Tu as the point guard for X, but I don't think the ability to break down Kyle Cassity off the bounce translates the well to the NBA. The length and athleticism of Marquette and - to a lesser extent - UC completely stifled Holloway. If the refs let players get away with bodying him, he's proven that he's not nearly as effective. Do you think the NBA is less physical than college, or that Tu is going to get more love from the refs? I doubt either of those is true.

    He has a lot to work on if he's going to be successful at the next level. Scouts know it, coaches know it, and I think Tu knows it. If he goes now, gets drafted in the second round, and then gets cut, he comes away with no paycheck and no amateur status. That's a lot to risk, and I hope for his sake and ours that he doesn't roll those dice.

  7. You are completely missing my point. I believe that Tu is ready for the NBA, so all your arguments about his skill and readiness are simply not shared by me.

    But every other reason besides readiness also favors Tu going to the NBA. Money, risk injury, draft stock dropping and progressing to the highest form of the game.

    Its obvious that you can't see any view outside of your own opinion, so I will leave it at that.

  8. You are demonstrably wrong on all of those points. I've outlined exactly how you're wrong, but you don't care to understand it. That's your deal, not mine.

  9. "Its obvious that you can't see any view outside of your own opinion, so I will leave it at that."

  10. I'm a pretty open-minded person, I just don't find your points compelling. If that's all you had to persuade me, it's clear that we just don't agree.

  11. Salad10203, I love your prediction of Tu as a late first round/early second round pick. You say it with such authority, yet it does not match the opinion of a single expert (read: the people who do this for a living). They all project Tu as a "Second Round to Undrafted." And Tu has already mentioned that he won't leave early just to go to Europe, so it's the NBA he's after. One scout even called it "a big mistake" if Tu stayed in the draft.