Brewer, Jefferson Getting The Point

FAYETTEVILLE -Arkansas hasn't truly gotten the point since scatty, quarterback-type guard Kareem Reid manned it during his senior season of 1998-99.

Sure, Brandon Dean, Teddy Gipson and T.J. Cleveland could handle the point reasonably and Eric Ferguson worked it hard the last two seasons (splitting time with sophomore Ronnie Brewer last season).

But most of those guys were out of place and it really showed as illustrated in the Hogs' hard fall from the national eye.

At 6-foot-7 and with loads of dribbling and passing skills and the eyes of a true visionary, Brewer plays point guard beautifully.

He's too valuable as a shooting guard, though, to man it full-time.

Still, out of sheer necessity, he was forced to play the point much of last season.

That brings us to Dontell Jefferson, the 6-4 junior transfer from Atlanta Metropolitan College you'll get a chance to check out during tonight's Red-White game in Bud Walton Arena.

Third-year Arkansas coach Stan Heath calls Jefferson a "consummate" point guard. And after just a couple of weeks of workouts, Brewer said Jefferson looks right at home.

"Dontell, he looks like he's been doing this for a while," said Brewer during Thursday's last of two SEC Media Days in Birmingham, Ala. "He's got a lot of skills. He's got great size. He's long, athletic and makes great decisions with the ball. He makes his teammates a lot better, so I think he's going to be a great addition to the team."

There's been lots of speculation as to how Heath will play the point this season. Thursday, he addressed his gameplan.

"Pretty much three guys will man that position," Heath said. "It'll be Dontell, Ronnie and Eric Ferguson, and I would say Dontell and Ronnie maybe even a little bit more than Eric.

"Ronnie, I've got to play him everywhere because that's his strength. You put him against a point guard - boom! - he's going to have about six or seven inches on him.

"You put him on the wing and a lot of times he's either going to have some size or some quickness against that opponent.

"The beauty of having a player like him is not to box him into one spot. I think he likes it that way.

"He looks at himself as a player, and that's the way I look at him, too."

Brewer's father, Ron, a silky-smooth All-American point guard who helped the Hogs to the 1978 Final Four, made it clear he wasn't thrilled to have his son at the point last season largely because, he said, "Who's going to get the ball to Ronnie?"

That shouldn't be a problem this season.

Nor should the point guard position.

The bet here is Brewer (who averaged 12.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.0 steals last season) and Jefferson will play the point close to half-and-half with Ferguson, a more natural shooting guard, spelling when necessary.

Brewer takes it all in stride.

"Whatever coach Heath wants me to do," said Brewer, shrugging. "If I'm in the game with Dontell and I get the rebound, I feel like I've got skills where I can push the ball at the point. If he gets it, he can run it.

"So I don't really see it as he's going to run it half, I'll be running it more than him or he'll be running it more than me. We just feel whoever's called for duty, we're ready to report. I think both of us are capable of doing that and making great decisions with the ball."

Told of Brewer's comments, Heath nodded emphatically.

"That's it," Heath said. "We're not doing anything extra complicated and they've got a good feel for playing different spots and being interchangeable. I always want to have interchangeable players at spots and this team has it."

Brewer talked about the importance of Arkansas' competitive practices and he and Jefferson have been going hard at each other. Going head-to-head is making them both better, but Brewer's about ready to play with Jefferson, not against him.

"He's got a lot of tools," Brewer said. "If I'm running the point and penetrate, he can knock down the open 3. And he's got a great inside game. He can go to the basket and finish."

A flashy passer, Brewer praised Jefferson's ability to also zing jaw-droppers.

"That's why I think we play so well together," Brewer said. "We both think alike."

Should be double-trouble at the point this season.

And this time around, not for Arkansas.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories