Georgia Southern Men’s Basketball received some great news Saturday night, Tookie Brown is returning to school. After seeking consultation from the NBA’s Undergraduate Advisory committee, Brown decided to withdraw from the NBA Draft. Brown did not hire an agent, which preserves his eligibility. June 11th is the deadline for early entrants to make up their mind.
Tookie Brown did not get invited to the NBA Combine and hasn’t been spotted in any of the major mock drafts. Personally, I believe Brown has a future in pro-basketball. Whether it is in Europe, the G-League, or the NBA one day, that remains to be seen. But he has several attributes that work at the next level despite being 5’11. Tookie can score, he’s efficient at it, he’s a good ball handler, takes care of the rock, gets steals, and he has the intangibles you want in a point guard.
Brown is a three-time Sun Belt 1st Teamer and has a chance at becoming the league’s first 4-timer. He ranks 7th all-time in scoring at Georgia Southern. Brown was 2nd in the Sun Belt in FG percentage (which is remarkable for someone under 6-foot) and shot 47% from three. He was top five in multiple statistical categories in the SBC. He could be one of the best to ever don an Eagles jersey. However, none of that matters to NBA scouts, doubts about his ability to stay in front of people on defense at the next level prevail.
What does this mean for 2018-19?
The importance of his return cannot be understated for Georgia Southern, however. It means Georgia Southern is a legitimate contender for the conference crown in 2018-19. Starters Brown, Ike Smith, and Montae Glenn will be seniors. Key bench players Quan Jackson and David-Lee Jones return, 7-1 Tyshaun Crawford redshirted last season, and Mark Byington was able to lure in an impressive haul of recruits and transfers:
F Simeon Carter 6-8 215 (transfer/Iowa State)
F/C Tre Dawkins 6-9 230 (transfer/SW Tennessee CC)
F Isaiah Crawley 6-7 225 (transfer/Columbia State CC)
G Elijah McCadden 6-4 175 (recruit/Rocky Mount, NC)
G Calvin Wishart 6-1 170 (recruit/Delano, Minn)
G Will Dillard 6-3 185 (recruit/Greensboro, NC)
G/W David Viti Jr. 6-5 190 (recruit/Buford, GA)
Georgia Southern loses Mike Hughes, Jake Allsmiller, BJ Gladden, Coye Simmons, and Shawn O’Connell from last year’s squad. Hughes and Allsmiller are significant losses for sure. But next year’s team might be deeper than last year’s. The frontcourt gets a full upgrade with Crawford, Carter, Dawkins, and Crawley coming in. Montae Glenn is coming off a season where he was 2nd in the nation in offensive rebounds. It will be interesting to see how Byington will deploy the extra size he has at his disposal now after years of playing small ball.
Naturally, Tookie and Ike will provide most of the production at guard. It will be interesting to see who will step up to replace what Hughes and Allsmiller’s production, however. With six guys competing for those spots, one has to figure that someone will emerge. Will Dillard has a 3-star (86.78) rating from 247 Sports and Elijah McCadden drew interest from several schools. They will provide the main competition for playing time in the backcourt.
Here is my stab at the depth chart:
1: Tookie Brown, David-Lee Jones, Calvin Wishart
2: Quan Jackson. Will Dillard, DeDe Reynolds
3: Ike Smith, Elijah McCadden, David Viti Jr.
4: Simeon Carter, Isaiah Crawley, David Georgiev
5: Montae Glenn, Tre Dawkins, Tyshaun Crawford
On paper that looks like a well-balanced team. Deep enough to challenge Georgia State and UL-Lafayette for the conference crown next year. Georgia Southern hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 1992, and the NIT since 2006. 2018-19 provides their best opportunity to go dancing since narrowly losing the 2015 SBC championship game to Georgia State. That wouldn’t have been likely without Brown.
Playing an extra year in college is probably the best thing for Tookie Brown to do to improve his draft stock. If he can lead his team to a conference crown and a trip to the NCAA Tournament that might bring him the necessary exposure to flip the narrative. We shall see. It’s good to see the Tookie Monster back in Eagle blue.