Where Will Ronnie Be Drafted?

Arkansas junior guard Ronnie Brewer (6-7, 228), who is foregoing his senior season for the Razorbacks, thinks he may be a Top 10 pick in Wednesday night's NBA draft at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Some folks are saying he'll wind up 12th to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. Others are saying that's way too high, more like 16th to the Chicago Bulls. And others say his stock is rising, so don't be surprised if a Top-10 pick to either the Seattle Supersonics or Houston Rockets is in his future.

Wherever Ronnie Brewer ends up in Wednesday's NBA Draft, though, only one thing is for certain. And that is nothing is absolutely certain until Brewer is called to the podium in New York City on June 28.

So Far, So Good

Depending on who you ask, Brewer is either a player on the fast track to NBA success, or he's a tweener waiting to happen. For the past two months -- since announcing his intentions to turn professional -- Brewer has done everything he can to prove any and all doubters wrong.

"I'm very excited about how all the workouts are going," Brewer said. "I'm getting a lot of feedback and that's the whole thing. As long as you're doing well in the workouts, they're going to get back with you. So I've been real happy with all the workouts so far."

Once he hired an agent, Brewer began a whirlwind tour across the NBA nation, visiting Orlando, Chicago, Houston, Boston, Charlotte, Minnesota, Golden State, Seattle, Portland and Oklahoma City. And with each workout, Brewer's stock may have quietly began to soar.

"What he's got going for him right now is his name is very, very low key," said Ronnie's father, Ron Brewer. "I think what kind of helped him out was they didn't know how complete of an athlete he was until he went down to Orlando to the predraft combine. And he was rated so high, and that's because of his attention and focus on the next level. When that came about, he hit the grindstone to get himself ready, physically and mentally.

"There's been a lot of people dodging him, but they have not seen him in anything but workouts. Now that the combine came about, they're saying, 'He's better than I thought he was. He's bigger and stronger than I thought.' Now what you've done is definitely raised your stock."

At the predraft combine in Orlando, Brewer's stock had to rise. Of all the players competing in the physicals -- which included a vertical leap, bench press, lane agility and sprint tests -- Brewer finished with the second-best overall score. So why has his name not begun to climb in all these mock NBA drafts we see all over the internet? Check out any of your typical NBADraft.net's or InsideNBA.com's and their mock picks still have Brewer in the exact same spot he was more than a month ago.

"A lot of the times a lot of the mock drafts have guys rated ahead of you and you work out with that player and know you're doing better than them," Brewer said. "So like I said, you're not going to know where you're going until the night of the draft.

"I'm pretty confident in my situation because I know how well I've been working out for these teams. So I don't try to focus to any of these mock drafts."

From the fan's perspective, though, guessing where Arkansas' latest rising star will end up is more fun than anything else. If you're a Rockets fan, you hope Brewer goes 8th to Houston. Or if you're a Sonics fan you might hope he ends up 10th to Seattle. And so on and so on.

For the Brewer family, though, they refuse to play this little game. At least not yet.

"We'll never know that (where he'll go)," Ron Brewer said. "I think if somebody else told you that, they'd be telling you a lie because they can't tell you that. I get a lot of good feedback because I played with a lot of these guys and I share with some people that are going to make the decisions. And they like this kid for his overall makeup, on and off the court.

"But I can say this. We don't worry about that until June 28th when they announce where he's going."

What They're Saying

After visiting the Hornets last week, New Orleans/Oklahoma City coach Byron Scott told the Associated Press: "We would love to have a guy like a Ronnie Brewer. But I just don't think he'll be there."

Scott was referring to Brewer still being around when the Hornets pick 12th and/or 15th in Wednesday's draft, believing Brewer will already be snagged up by another team who covets his skills.

But is everybody of the same opinion? Apparently not.

NBADraft.net and CollegeHoops.com -- just to name a couple -- both have Brewer slated to drop out of the lottery pool down to 16th to the Chicago Bulls. And while Scott doesn't think that will happen, others do.

NBA Director of Scouting Marty Blake has been finding talent for more than 50 years. And while Blake likes what he sees in Brewer, he would like it even more if the former Razorback was still calling the Hogs for one more year.

"Now I think Ronnie is a very good basketball player, but I'd like to see him go back to school," Blake said. "And if he would ask me I would tell him that."

ESPN College Basketball analyst Dick Vitale agrees with Blake that Brewer should return to college for one more year. But even Vitale, the strongest supporter around on underclassmen staying in school, doesn't blame Brewer for his decision.

"From what I've gathered, he's a winner and he's just a tough, tough kid. I certainly would have loved to see him come back to school. I think Stan Heath is building something very special at Arkansas and I think he could have worked on really improving his range as a shooter," said Vitale. "But I certainly can understand his thinking because I think he's going to be a middle to the first-round selection."

Father Knows Best

Ronnie Brewer has an ace up his sleeve through this whole process.

His father.

While most kids are going it alone or with just an agent, Brewer has first-hand NBA knowledge right across the dining room table.

"He (my dad) just gives me advice like keep on working, don't be content with what you've got. And I take that to heart," said Ronnie Brewer. "There's always something in your game where you can try to get better and he's taught me how to self-evaluate myself and work on how to get better and correct some of those mistakes.

"That's some of the biggest things, a lot of these guys don't have that type of mentor living in the same house telling them how to get better. And I'm fortunate to have that."

With nine years of NBA experience under his belt, Ron Brewer can give his son something others can't. And having already been there and done that, the elder Brewer hopes his boy will take to heart the advice he -- like no one else -- can give.

"There's not a lot of players out there like Ronnie," Ron Brewer said. "That's what makes his ability and his stock so high. And there's a lot of things going on off the court that's going to make him so powerful and productive.

"So the sharing of what the NBA life is about can make a big difference in his longevity. And it means a lot. He's sucking it all in because he knows that I've been there. And he knows that I love him dearly and I'm not going to tell him anything wrong. And I just hope he takes it in the right way and in a constructive way."

Almost There

With draft day on the horizon, everybody has their guess as to where Ronnie Brewer will wind up. Will he be a Supersonic? Or a Rocket? Or perhaps even a Bull?

Right now, nobody knows for sure.

But after more than a month of workouts -- and a lifetime of preparation -- Brewer himself has a pretty good idea of his own.

"I think I'll probably be in the Top 10," Brewer said. "I mean being 11, 12, 13 or 14 wouldn't be a disappointment because it's still a lottery pick. But I think the teams that I've worked out for and how well I did against the players I went up against and the test I did down in Orlando -- being ranked No. 2 overall among all the players who took the test -- I think that speaks a lot for my game. That kind of jumps out at people. Plus I'm doing good against some of the top players in college."

No matter where Brewer ends up, he knows overnight success isn't likely. This isn't Fayetteville High School or the Arkansas Razorbacks. This is the National Basketball Association. And unless you're LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade, expect to wait you're turn.

"I think most guys in this draft are going to be about one word, potential, potential, potential," Vitale said. "Very few guys in this draft are ready to make contributions right away. It's a new era we live in unfortunately where so many kids are coming out early because of peer pressure or whatever and so many of them have not developed their game. And they give up the greatest years of their life.

"But I think Ronnie, in his case, is looking at being a legitimate first-rounder, so he's looking at guaranteed dollars for three years. And you just hope he grows as a player to be able to get that next contract, that's the important one.

"But he has a lot going for him in a positive way."

Come Wednesday night in Madison Square Garden, Brewer will find out where his NBA career begins. Will it be Seattle? Or Houston? Or Chicago? Or perhaps even Oklahoma City?

No one knows for sure. What we do know is Brewer appears ready, no matter what the outcome will be.

"I can just take care of what happens on the court," Brewer said. "I don't have any control of what is said in the media or what goes on in the mock drafts.

"I know how I've been performing in the workouts and I'm confident in my game. And I know I'm getting positive feedback. So I'm excited."


Hawgs Daily Top Stories