Texas’ J’Covan Brown to forego senior year, enter NBA draft

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After averaging 20.1 points and 3.8 assists this past season for the Texas Longhorns, junior guard J’Covan Brown will forego his senior season and enter the NBA draft, the school announced Monday morning.

“It was always my dream to be a Longhorn, and I have lived that dream and become a better person,” said Brown in a statement.

Brown was the leading scorer on a team that went 20-14 on the year and lost in the Round of 64 to Cincinnati this past March. He nearly doubled his scoring average between his sophomore and junior seasons and led the Big 12 in that category, ahead of Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and Missouri’s Marcus Denmon.

In a statement, Brown said he considered returning to Texas to complete his degree, but he believes now is the right time to pursue a career in professional basketball.

Just a few weeks back, Brown’s complement in the backcourt, freshman Myck Kabongo, announced that he will be staying in school and return for his sophomore season.

“Our staff wishes J’Covan and his family nothing but success as he moves forward,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “We’ve literally seen J’Covan grow up and mature before our eyes over the last three years here, and we are proud of the man that he has become.”

Draft Express projects Brown to be selected at the end of the second round in this year’s draft.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.