GW’s SirValiant Brown announced Tuesday night he will forgo his final two years of college eligibility and enter the National Basketball Association Draft held June 27.
“I made my decision, I’m going pro,” Brown said. “I’ve got the talent, the skills and the heart to play at the next level.”
The sophomore guard said he faxed a letter to the office of NBA Commissioner David Stern April 26 indicating his desire to withdraw his eligibility from college. Brown said he received a reply letter from Stern later that day indicating that the letter had been read.
Brown said many factors contributed to his decision, including the recent resignation of head coach Tom Penders. Penders resigned as the Colonials coach April 20 amid turmoil surrounding new sex crime charges for Attila Cosby and alleged phone fraud among four players.
“To change from (Penders’) style of play would have been hard for me,” Brown said.
With the May 13 deadline for declaring for the draft approaching, Brown said he did not want to wait any longer to make his decision. He said he received full support from his family, friends and high school coach Mike Harris.
When asked if he would stay at GW if current associate head coach Rob Wright was named head coach, Brown said that would be “another decision for my family and I to deal with.”
Brown told The Hatchet last week that he would remain a Colonial if Wright was promoted to head coach.
Wright, who interviewed for two hours last Friday with Athletic Director Jack Kvancz and his committee for the head coaching position, said Tuesday night that he appreciates Brown’s full support, but felt Brown “wanted to get out there and test the waters.”
“Val’s biggest problem was that he didn’t want to be a student anymore,” Wright said. “This is his dream.”
When asked if academics was a reason for Brown’s early departure, Wright said Brown “might have been struggling a little bit,” but declined to comment further. Brown said academics “was not the reason I’m making the decision.”
Wright said he was aware of Brown’s decision and found out about it officially when the NBA called Wright to confirm that the league received Brown’s letter of intent. Wright said the rest of the athletic department found out officially after the league faxed Brown’s letter to GW Sports Information on April 26.
“I think if he gets the opportunity, he’ll do very well,” Wright said. “Val is going to be a NBA player someday. Val is a great kid with a wonderful personality, but sometimes he gets himself into hot water because of the choices he makes.”
Brown said his eyes are not set on one team.
“I’d like to play for the (Washington) Wizards, Chicago, the (Los Angeles) Clippers, but it really doesn’t matter,” Brown said. “I just want to play.”
Brown said he does not plan to hire an agent so that he can return to GW in the fall if he wants.
“I want to keep my options open,” he said. “It’s a risky business and that’s why I don’t have an agent.”
Brown can pull his name out of the draft at any time until June 20. Because Brown does not have an agent, he has up to 30 days after the June 27 draft to return to GW if he is not selected.
He said he is unsure what he will do if he is not drafted.
“I sit back and I think about the repercussions and I visualize,” Brown said. “But I’m not picturing the possibility of not being drafted.”
Brown will spend the next month working out and practicing in anticipation for a pre-draft camp held in Chicago June 5-8, the only camp non-seniors can attend.
As for the GW coaching search, Wright said he thought Friday’s interview in the Smith Center conference room went “very well.”
“I want to be a head coach,” Wright said. “I don’t want to be an assistant anymore.”
University of North Carolina-Greensboro head coach Fran McCaffery met with Kvancz Tuesday, and GW interviewed Maine University head coach John Giannini Monday, according to a GW official who wished to remain anonymous.
GW women’s head coach Joe McKeown and Kevin Clark, a former associate head coach at GW and a current associate under Mike Jarvis at St John’s University, interviewed for the position Saturday, the official said.
The official said the coaching decision is expected to be made Monday. Kvancz was unavailable for comment.