FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas junior guard Ronnie Brewer has made it official. On April 27, he announced he was making himself available for the NBA Draft but had not hired an agent, which left open the possibility of returning for his senior season. He has now signed with CSMG in Chicago and will not return for his senior season. The president of the company, Hank Thomas, is his agent.
As a junior, Brewer earned honorable mention All-America honors from CollegeHoops.net, was a defensive All-American by CollegeInsider.com, one of 22 finalists for the Wooden Award and a first-team All-SEC selection by both the Associated Press and the league’s coaches. He averaged 18.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and an SEC-best 2.6 steals in leading Arkansas back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.
In addition to leading the league in steals, he was second in scoring, seventh in free throw percentage (.752), 10th in field goal percentage (.441) and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.49). In SEC play only, he led the conference in scoring (18.8).
He ends his Razorback career 16th in scoring (1,416 – 15.7 ppg), seventh in steals (216), 10th in assists (299) and tied for 10th in free throws made (326).
Brewer helped the Hogs go 22-10 with their most victories since the 1999 club went 23-11. Arkansas was also 10-6 and tied for second in the SEC’s Western Division, its best finish since 2001. The Razorbacks recorded wins over two top-10 teams (No. 10 Florida and No. 10 Tennessee) for the first time since 2002, won on the road against a top 10 team (Tennessee) for the first time since 1994 and led the SEC with a 15-1 home record.
With the departure of Brewer, Arkansas’ top returnees for 2007 are junior center Steven Hill (3.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 blocked shots), junior forward Charles Thomas (9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .520 field goal percentage) and junior forward Darian Townes (9.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, .500 field goal percentage). Other returnees include junior forward Vincent Hunter (3.7 ppg), sophomore guard Sean McCurdy (40 assists, 18 turnovers), sophomore forward Cyrus McGowan and junior guard Preston Cranford.
The incoming recruiting class includes point guard Gary Ervin, a transfer from Mississippi State who sat out 2006 after averaging 7.4 points and 4.7 assists for MSU in 2005; junior wing Sonny Weems from UA-Fort Smith, who is rated one of the top five junior college players in the nation; freshman guard Patrick Beverley, who led the Chicago area in scoring as a senior (34.0 ppg); and freshman guard Stefan Welsh and freshman forward Michael Washington.
Following are statements from Brewer and head coach Stan Heath:
“At this point in time, the best decision for me to further my career is to hire an agent. In the next few weeks, I will work out for several teams. I’m looking at teams picking from No. 6 to No. 14 (in the first round). The teams I work out for will be based on their needs. If one of those teams is looking for a point guard or a tall guard, I hope to schedule a workout, but for the teams looking for a forward or a center, I don’t need to schedule anything with them.
“I’ve received a physical-only invitation to the pre-draft camp in Orlando (June 6-12; only top prospects receive physical-only invitations).
“I appreciate my time at Arkansas. I’ve had some of the best times of my life. It meant a lot to me to represent the state. I have a lot of respect for the coaches and the players. This has been a tough decision, but I feel like you have to jump at the opportunities you’ve been given.
“Arkansas will be successful with or without me because we have good coaches, good players and great fans that always support us.”
Head Coach Stan Heath:
“Once Ronnie entered his name into the draft, this was likely the next step. He will be a great ambassador for the University of Arkansas basketball program and we will follow his NBA career closely. We wish him the best.”