UA's Brewer Remains Undecided

Razorback basketball star Ronnie Brewer expected to announce his decision in a week or so on whether he is headed to the NBA or coming back to Arkansas for his senior season

FAYETTEVILLE -- "What's Ronnie Brewer gonna do?"

Since Arkansas lost 59-55 to Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 17, that question has been asked frequently by Razorbacks basketball fans.

There's no answer yet, but the 6-foot-7 junior guard said Tuesday he's getting closer to a decision on whether to test the NBA waters or return to Arkansas for his senior year.

"I should know in a week or 10 days," Brewer said before working out with teammates in Bud Walton Arena. "It's still up in the air. I'll talk with my family and then sit down with the (UA) coaches and talk about what is the best situation."

Brewer's mother, Carolyn, will return Sunday from a trip to Virginia.

Ronnie's dad, former Arkansas All-America guard Ron Brewer, said Tuesday, "I'm excited for Ronnie either way. Knowing how he is, he can't lose. I don't think this is a big deal to him. He'll be happy either way."

Ronnie Brewer certainly didn't look like a man under pressure on Tuesday. He kibitzed with Hogs guard Sean McCurdy and others before an afternoon workout.

Ron Brewer, before arriving at Walton Arena to watch the workout, said, "You know what -- I have no clue what Ronnie is going to do. People think I'm just saying that, but the first person he's going to tell is coach (Stan) Heath, and coach Heath doesn't know yet. Ronnie has until April 28 to decide."

Heath was in Junction City on Tuesday, presumably to see highly touted James Anderson, a 6-foot-6 high school junior.

Brewer scored at least 15 points in 25 of Arkansas' 32 games last season, had four or more rebounds 23 times, notched three or more assists 21 times and had two or more steals 22 times.

"He's the best defensive player in the SEC and one of the premier guards in America," gushed ESPN analyst Rick Majerus last season.

Jay Bilas of ESPN said, "Brewer is an All-America-caliber player."

Marty Blake, the NBA Director of Scouting, said Tuesday he couldn't comment on the draft prospects of any underclassman, but he did remember Ron Brewer fondly.

"I was at the 1978 Final Four in St. Louis when Ron played for Arkansas," Blake recalled. "I sat in the Arkansas section and they made me wear one of those Hog hats the whole game. I loved it. I even yelled, 'Soo, Piggie,' or whatever they say."

College basketball maven Dick Vitale did not see Ronnie Brewer play in person last season, but he weighed in on Brewer's situation Tuesday.

"Obviously, I would love to see him come back to college," said Vitale. "Too many kids these days go for instant gratification.

"Arkansas is on the brink of having a heck of a year -- they could make a legit run next season and create a lot of noise. You saw Brewer help beat Florida last year, and Florida won the national championship. Arkansas has the elements, and Brewer is a vital part."

Vitale acknowledged that each top player has to evaluate his own situation.

He reminded, "Brewer can create his own shot. He's a great player offensively and defensively and he's going to be a lottery selection. But he could use another year to work on his range as a shooter.

"I personally think another year would allow him to improve his perimeter game."

By staying at Arkansas one more season, Brewer could challenge for the UA career leads in steals. He has 216 for seventh place, and is roughly on pace to catch Arkansas career leader Lee Mayberry, who had 291 steals.

Brewer, 16th in Arkansas career scoring with 1,416 points, would also pass his dad, who is 15th in that category with 1,440 points (1976-78).

More importantly, Brewer could help Arkansas' program continue to progress.

Brewer shot around with prospective recruit Patrick Beverley last weekend on campus and encouraged him to attend Arkansas.

A veteran UA observer said Tuesday, "I didn't think this at first, but if I had to say, I think Ronnie is staying. He values education and his teammates. He told Beverley he wanted him here with him."

Ron Brewer, standing in the Walton Arena parking lot Tuesday and gesturing toward the building and the surrounding area, said, "This college setting will make you rethink some things. It's the greatest thing in the world."

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