On Wednesday, reports were that J'Covan Brown would forego his senior season and jump to the NBA. A day later, Brown released a statement:
"I'd like to let our fans know that I have not made any decision on my basketball future. The main thing I've been focused on after the season ended has been getting caught up with my academics. Just so everyone knows what I'm doing, I'm heading home for the weekend to spend some time with my family and talk with them. Then I'll talk with our coaching staff here at Texas when I get back. I also plan to get some info from the NBA on where I might be picked, if I decide to enter the draft. When my decision is made, I'll let everyone know."
It was a standard non-comment from a player mulling his professional future, and one often made by somebody who has already made their mind up. But the real question right now shouldn't be whether Brown is going. No, that query should focus more on whether he should go. And it's not as black-and-white as you think.
I was able to talk to an NBA scout who has had an eye on Brown this season, when Brown scored 20.1 points and 3.8 assists per game but struggled to be a high-usage, high-efficiency player. He shot 41.7 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from three-point range. And his assist-to-turnover ratio was just 1.4-1.
The scout said that whether Brown came back or not should depend largely on whether point guard Myck Kabongo elects to return.
"Right now, that point guard (Kabongo) is the better prospect," the scout said. "And what we want to see from Brown is whether he can play the point at the next level. At his size, he'd be a really small two, and he's not somebody you look at and say that he has the length and athleticism to defend bigger players in the league."
Instead, the scout said that, if Kabongo left, Brown should come back and try to play more of a facilitating role. He said Brown showed some of those abilities at times when Kabongo wasn't in the game, but that scouts needed more proof that he could affect the game in a positive manner when his shot wasn't falling.
If Kabongo does come back, the scout said that Brown wouldn't lose anything by applying because he would come back and play a similar role next year and "we already know he can score."
The scout said that Brown would be a potential second-round pick, but that he could go undrafted.
"Brown isn't a guy who is going to wow anybody at a workout by being overly athletic," the scout said. "I do think he can go to those and prove that he's tough to guard. If he can get to some one-on-one-type workouts, he has a chance to do very well because as we saw this year, teams basically have to train their defenses to stop him.
"Would that be enough to get him drafted … I really don't know," the scout said. "He's probably somebody that would spend time in our (developmental league) and struggle to make a roster at this point.
"I really think he could help his stock by proving he's a point, but if Kabongo returns, or if Brown goes, I don't know if he gets that chance."