Greg Brown III’s commitment is a big win for Texas — and for all of NCAA basketball

first_imgFriday afternoon on his Instagram account, Greg Brown III announced he will be taking his talents down the street from his home in Austin to the University of Texas. It will not be a far trip, but it did require he detour past the $300,000 offered to him by the NBA to be a part of its new “pathway” program for elite prospects.It turns out the collapse of NCAA basketball did not have Luka Garza-style stamina. Only seven days after the Wall Street Journal published an article about the decision of top-10 wing prospect Jalen Green’s decision to accept $500,000 from the league to train and play exhibition games next winter, Brown declined a similar deal and instead chose to join the Longhorns.MORE: Why NCAA basketball isn’t going anywhereBrown is a 6-9, 190-pound forward ranked No. 10 in the nation by 247 Sports. That he was recruited by Auburn, Kentucky, Memphis and Michigan seems less consequential than the fact he declined the supposedly irresistible pro-basketball training offer to join his hometown and home state’s college team.Brown said he did not make his ultimate decision until Friday.“My family and friends helped me through it, a lot,” he said during his announcement. “What made me want to go to UT is just the legacy, and the loyalty, and leaving a legacy at UT like my dad did, my uncle did, my mom did.”His father started at safety for the Longhorns from 1999 to 2000. His mother starred for the Texas track team, as a long jumper.Brown III seriously considered the NBA development offer, but the familiarity with the Texas program and the expected ease of assimilation into the team was more enticing.Texas coach Shaka Smart has been in his position for five years and has yet to deliver a full season in which he won more than 21 games or lost fewer than 13. There have been two NCAA Tournament appearances, both ending with first-round losses.MORE: NCAA about to make college athletics much more rewarding for playersWe never got to see what would become of the 2019-20 Longhorn. They were just 14-11 after an embarrassing 81-52 loss at Iowa State. Then they ran off five consecutive victories — three on the road, two against ranked teams. And then, in their final regular-season game, they delivered another clunker, losing by an 81-59 score to Oklahoma State. So perhaps they would have made the NCAAs. It’s not clear. Landing Brown figures to help Smart secure his position, but it would help him to do more with this recruiting success than he did upon landing Mohamed Bamba back in 2017.Whether the Longhorns win big in 2020-21, Brown’s decision is a big win for college basketball. Only one of 247’s top 10 prospects has announced plans to turn professional. The other nine are committed to Division I colleges.NCAA basketball will endure, at least another year.last_img read more