Broken Foot Slows Down Dee's NBA Dream

Dee Brown broke his foot on Wednesday night in Chicago, and it will probably force him to withdraw his name from consideration for the 2005 NBA Draft. Selfishly, this was a day of happiness, but it was also a day of sadness as Dee Brown would not get to realize his dream of playing in the NBA, at least this year.

In one quick moment on Wednesday evening, Dee Brown's dream of being drafted by the NBA came to a quick end (for this season) with a broken foot that he sustained after just ten minutes of game time in his first game of the Chicago Pre Draft Camp. What that means for the University of Illinois Men's Basketball program is that the most popular player amongst fans will most likely be returning to Champaign for his senior season. Like many Illinois fans, I am selfishly happy that Dee is coming back to Champaign and furthering the stamp that he will hold as one of the All-Time Fan Favorites in Champaign.

The problem with me selfishly being happy that Dee is returning to Illinois is that Dee missed out on a chance for his dream, and it will have to wait one more year. Dee Brown won the Big Ten's Player of the Year Award, the Defensive Player of the Year Award in the Conference, and was named Sporting News' Player of the Year. All of these accolades will be tough for him to repeat in Champaign next season, so one might say that his stock would have never been higher than it was right now heading into the NBA Draft.

Sure, there were people, including many NBA scouts, that said Dee needed to learn to run the point before he could be an NBA First Round pick, but I am not so sure. I had heard some rumors that Dee might have been taken late in the first round by a team looking to shore up their backup point guard role, and that would have been a perfect position for him. When Dee first declared for the draft, I did not think there was any way that he would be a first round pick, but after reading numerous stories about his determination to get this done, and his work outs at Tim Grover's Hoops the Gym, it really looked like Dee was a good Pre-Draft Camp away from being a first round pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

Heading into Wednesday night, Dee had already impressed NBA scouts by playing better than Raymond Felton in a planned workout that also included former Bull and Duke Blue Devil Jay Williams trying to make a comeback to the NBA. Now, all he needed to do on Wednesday night was prove that he could run the point in the games. How was he doing in his first ten minutes? Pretty damn well, and according to Insider's Chad Ford, he "got off to a great start running the point" before he succumbed to injury. In his ten minutes, Dee scored two points and handed out two assists.

Now, Dee will be heading into surgery for his broken foot, and will be rehabbing for two months, minimum. After his rehabilitation is done, it will probably be time for Dee to come back to Champaign and lead the Fighting Illini on their goal to win a third straight outright Big Ten Championship. Sure, the last few days has seen some "tension" between Dee and Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber be aired out in the media, much like it was aired out in the media during Bruce's first summer as head coach when he questioned whether or not Illinois had a leader on the team.

While I do not like seeing dirty laundry between Illinois' head coach and star player (next year Dee will be the star player at Illinois) aired out in the press, this is just something I have gotten used to when it comes to Dee Brown and Bruce Weber. Dee likes attention from the media, and Bruce will give the media good quotes. Like all previous dirty laundry that has been aired through the press revolving Dee and Coach Weber, this to will pass, and nothing much will come of it. Dee needs Bruce, Bruce needs Dee, and Dee has shown that he will do what the coach asks.

Now, the question that many people have is will Dee Brown's question to prove himself ready to run an NBA team be counterproductive to his Illinois teammates? The answer is simply no. If Dee desires to prove himself as a point guard that can lead a team, he will have the perfect opportunity to do so in Champaign, and Bruce Weber will easily let him. NBA Scouts want to see that Dee Brown can run a basketball team, Bruce Weber needs someone to run his team on the court next season, and that person is Dee Brown.

So while Dee has aspirations for an NBA career past his time in Champaign, his desires to showcase his point guard skills will in no way be counterproductive for Illinois next season. Illinois fans will not have to worry about Dee being out for just Dee like some college teams have seen happen with players that had NBA aspirations, like DaJuan Wagner when he was at Memphis.

It is a happy day for this Illinois fan because Dee Brown is coming back to Champaign, and Illinois should be in a great position to make their third straight Sweet 16.

It is also a sad day for this Illinois fan because Dee Brown is coming back to Champaign. Dee, like any other basketball player, really wanted to play in the NBA and this year he had a great shot that was taken away from him by a broken foot. Yes, I would have missed seeing #11 in the orange and blue, but he really wanted to be in the NBA, and an injury is probably the reason he is coming back to Illinois.

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