Brewer Coy About Future Plans

FAYETTEVILLE With all the hoopla about Arkansas seniors Jonathon Modica, Eric Ferguson and Dontell Jefferson playing their last game in Bud Walton Arena against Mississippi State on Wednesday night, junior Ronnie Brewer was asked if it might also be his last home game for the Razorbacks.

"Really, I haven't thought about it much," Brewer said. "If it is, it is. If it's not, it's not. It's these seniors' night. We want to send them out the right way."

There's been speculation, ever since NBA scouts descended on the Maui Classic in November, about whether Brewer would consider seeking to jump to the NBA after this season.

Now that Brewer has played so well at point guard the past few games, he was asked in jest if UA coach Stan Heath had unwittingly smoothed Brewer's path to the pros.

"I don't know," Brewer said, grinning. "Some people say I'm a point guard and some say I'm a shooting guard. I say I'm just a basketball player. Coach Heath just told me we needed to be more solid at point guard, and I'm happy to do anything that helps our team win, even if it means not scoring as much."

Brewer has slipped to second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring at 18.2, behind Darrel Mitchell of LSU (18.3), after leading most of the season.

Heath said Monday, "It (playing point guard) probably has taken away from Ronnie's scoring, but I know how bad he wants to win and how bad our team wants to win."

Heath cited four "incredible" assists by Brewer down the stretch against Tennessee on Saturday -- three to Darian Townes and one to Ferguson.

The assist on Ferguson's go-ahead 3-pointer helped the UA senior reach 1,001 points for his career -- 30th place on the school career list. That shot, which put Arkansas ahead 64-63, was also cited by ESPN as the Pontiac Game-Changing Performance.

Modica ranks 13th in Arkansas career scoring with 1,492 points.

Don't Throw 'Em Back

Heath hinted Monday that Arkansas might keep wearing its throwback jerseys, in which they're 4-0, for the rest of the season.

All schools are scheduled to wear their throwbacks during the SEC Tournament at Nashville, Tenn., March 9-12.

Arkansas' uniforms model those of 1978, when Brewer's dad, Ron, played for the Razorbacks.

"My dad said we needed to complete the uni's with those little shorts, but I don't think we'll be doing that," Ronnie Brewer said.

Player of The Year

Both Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl and Heath said Monday they thought the SEC Player of the Year should come from the best team.

"If it's LSU, the best player could be Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas or Darrel Mitchell," Pearl said. "Maybe I'll call (Tigers coach) John Brady and ask him."

Heath said, "If LSU wins the overall (SEC title), I'd probably lean toward Mitchell or Davis. If it's Tennessee, I would lean toward Chris Lofton."

LSU currently leads Tennessee in the overall standings, 12-2 to 11-3. Tennessee has games left against Kentucky at home and Vanderbilt on the road. LSU goes to South Carolina tonight (8 p.m., ESPN), then finishes against Ole Miss at home.

Gottfried Eyeing Six

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried, whose team holds second place in the SEC West after a big 82-77 win over Florida on Sunday, was asked Monday how he felt about the Tide's NCAA Tournament chances. (Alabama is 16-10, 9-5 SEC).

"We're not really talking about that," he said. "We're getting ready to play Auburn (at home Wednesday night). That stuff will take care of itself in time."

Gottfried did say, "I think the No. 2 seed (in the SEC Tournament) is important. But I hope the top three teams in each division make the NCAA Tournament."

Although the SEC East leads the SEC West by two games in interdivisional play, Gottfried noted, "The top teams in the West have beaten the top teams in the East."

LSU split with Tennessee and Florida; Alabama swept Tennessee, Florida and Kentucky; and Arkansas is 2-1 against the top trio in the SEC East.

Edmondson Ailing

Jamall Edmondson, a 5-9 senior guard for Mississippi State, who has been bothered by both an injury and pneumonia, may be out for the season. Edmondson is third on the Bulldogs in scoring with a 12.0 average.

Charles Rhodes, who leads MSU with 13.8 points per game, has come on strong recently. Rhodes, a 6-8 sophomore forward, had 27 points in an 83-68 Bulldogs win over Georgia on Saturday.

"Lately, Mississippi State has gone to a small lineup with Rhodes at center," Heath said. "Stopping penetration will be a key to the game. We'll probably see some zone, and we need to do a better job against it."

The Bulldogs beat Arkansas 69-67 in the SEC opener at Starkville.

"Both teams are a lot different since then," said MSU coach Rick Stansbury.

Jamont Gordon, who averages 13.6 points, is coming off a 13-point, 12-rebound game against Georgia. Dietric Slater, a 6-3 junior guard, poured in 22 points in that game for Mississippi State.

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