Brewer To Test NBA Market

FAYETTEVILLE -- For those in Bud Walton Arena who didn't already know Ronnie Brewer's basketball plans on Thursday, the tipoff came when he walked in wearing a dress shirt and tie.

Brewer, Arkansas' decorated junior guard, had asked for 15 extra minutes to get cleaned up before the late-afternoon news conference.

When he came in all spiffy, Hogs forward Charles Thomas and some of his teammates giggled at the sight.

After Brewer put his name in the NBA draft but left the door cracked for a possible return to Arkansas by not hiring an agent, and after coach Stan Heath said, "Ronnie will always bleed Razorback red," Thomas got serious.

"I like that (comment)," Thomas said.

Since Brewer hasn't worked out for NBA teams yet, he put the percentages at 50-50 on whether he would keep his name in the NBA draft or withdraw it by June 18.

"This is all new to me," he said.

Brewer had informed Arkansas coach Stan Heath of his incremental decision on Wednesday night.

"I'm proud of Ronnie," Heath said. "I didn't want to influence his decision one way or the other. When he said he wanted to test the (NBA) market without hiring an agent, I said, 'Let's make sure you retain your eligibility.' He agreed and he'll finish his semester exams soon."

Brewer's decision to test the NBA waters surprised 68 percent of the Arkansas fans on one online survey, who thought he would say he was staying at Arkansas.

But Brewer's father, former UA All-America guard Ron Brewer, sounded like his most confident backer.

"Ronnie is so humble, he doesn't realize what his upside is," Ron Brewer said. "He's pretty good. I'm very, very proud of him."

Carolyn Brewer, Ron's mother, said, "I gave Ronnie my thoughts, just as I did when he came to Arkansas. He promised to get a degree. I'm behind him 100 percent. He has his own mind and he's done everything we've asked of him as a child and a young man. This is a Ronnie decision, but I'll still have input."

Ronnie Brewer thanked his parents, coaches, teammates, trainers, academic aide Jason Williamson and Arkansas fans.

"Being from Fayetteville, I want to represent this whole state the best I can," he said.

Brewer said he wanted to determine what his NBA draft status would be.

"This probably is a smart thing," Heath said. "Ronnie wants to play in the NBA, and this rule is made for guys like him. He wants to find out exactly where he is. We all support him. He'll continue to work toward his education."

Brewer said if it appeared in the coming weeks that he would be a late first-round pick, he might stay at Arkansas.

Projections have placed Brewer as a (top 13) lottery pick, on down to No. 20, he said.

"This was a very difficult decision," he said. "That's why it took so long. I talked to my parents almost every night, but I have to look at it my own way. It's everyone's dream to play in the NBA. I'd want to not just make it, but have an impact."

By working out with the Razorbacks this spring, Brewer said he still felt part of the team.

"I know they'll do well, with or without me," he said.

Brewer averaged 18.4 points per game last season while playing 34.8 minutes per contest and leading Arkansas to a 22-10 record, including a return to the NCAA Tournament.

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