Unless you were off the planet, you couldn't miss Brown during the first couple weeks of the tournament. Not unless you tried to. Prior to the tournament only serious college basketball fans (or anyone who has seen my dread news reports from the previous season) would have been able to tell you who he was or what team he played for. But that all changed on the first weekend of the tournament when FGCU routed 2nd seeded Georgetown and 7th seeded San Diego State, with Brown all the while playing to the crowd (and the TV cameras) with his fun-loving gestures and antics.
I actually was already going to lead off this year's report with Brown before what happened in the NCAA Tournament, after seeing how fired up he was during the 2nd half of the Atlantic Sun Conference championship game. I was going to say that it took a leap of faith for him to even come to FGCU in the first place - because the Eagles hadn't been an NCAA Division 1 member long enough to be eligible to play in the tournament and wouldn't be eligible until his junior season. But then I found out that in reality instead of a leap of faith, it was more like, "I had no other choice." Brown, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard from Orlando had only one Division 1 offer after finishing his career at Olympia HS - and that was an offer to walk on at FGCU.
One of those teammates, senior F Eddie Murray, is featured along with Brown in an article (first link below) from the Naples Daily News website after their two tournament victories. The link below that is a story from the Huffington Post that details how Brown's career at FGCU almost didn't happen. And the third link is to a story from the FGCU student newspaper about how Sherwood doesn't at all mind his newfound popularity. If you have the time, they're really interesting articles.
There has been one player with dreads selected in each of the last two NBA drafts - Kenneth Faried in 2011 and Jae Crowder last year. Will there be another this year? Well, it's not likely to be Brown; and it might not be anybody at all. But there is one player whose name you possibly will be hearing if you stay tuned until the very end of the draft. I'm talking about UNC-Wilmington senior F Keith Rendleman. Better at football than basketball in HS, Rendleman might have been catching passes alongside Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins at Clemson these last couple of seasons. But with his heart set on basketball, the 6-foot-8, 220-pounder instead spent his whole career under the radar while playing in the CAA.
At the end of last season, during which Rendleman was named 1st team all-CAA after averaging 15.3 points and 10.0 rebounds, UNCW Coach Peterson said that he wanted his star player to redshirt this season - because the Seahawks were going to be ineligible for postseason play (due to poor academic progress). But Keith was having none of that. And he was having none of transferring to another school either (which he could have done without having to sit out a year), even though the Seahawks had gone 9-22, 13-18, and 10-21 in his first three seasons. Well, his team did no better this season (10-20), but Rendleman finished his career ranked #5 in steals, #4 in points, #2 in blocked shots, and #1 in rebounds on the school's all-time lists.
When your parents name you Jordair, I guess you're destined to be a basketball player. And so it has been for Saint Louis junior G Jordair Jett - even though at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, he looks like a football player. I remember a couple of years ago when it was hard to tell that Jett had dreads because he always had them either reduced or tightly bunched together. But these last two seasons he has unleashed them much more, including several games in which he has let them flow completely free. It's a lot more fun to see him that way.
Jett, Rendleman, and Brown all are starters on my all-America with dreads team, and Carl Hall was a lock to be one too - until his dreads unexpectedly met their demise just before the end of the season. As far as I can remember, there has never been a player with dreads on any team to reach the final 4 of the NCAA Tournament, and that sad streak stayed alive this season despite Wichita State's shocking run to the semifinals about two months ago. That's because Hall, a starting forward for WSU, surprised everybody when he decided to cut off his dreads - three days before the tournament began. Ouch. "I just wanted to try something different," said Hall after doing the unthinkable. According to articles from the Wichita Eagle and Yahoo! Sports (links below), the barber gave Carl every opportunity to change his mind at the last minute; but Carl insisted he needed a haircut.
|..... and AFTER: Carl Hall vs. Pitt on Mar. 21|
|BEFORE: Carl Hall vs. Creighton on Mar. 10 ...|
It was tough watching the Shockers upset Pittsburgh and Gonzaga to reach the sweet 16; and when they then beat LaSalle and Ohio State too to reach the final 4, I just about wanted to cry. Hall's numbers for the season were 12.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocked shots per game. But forget it, Carl. You can't make the all-America with dreads team when you cut off your dreads.
2013 COLLEGE BASKETBALL ALL-AMERICA WITH DREADS
No doubt there are other players with dreads out there than the 64 I know about; so if any of them played well enough to be on this team, please let's hear from you. I'll admit I didn't see all of the players who made the team this year. I picked the team mostly from their stats, conference honors, and what conference they played in. A lot of players had similar stats, so it was hard to make the last few selections for the team. That's why the honorable mention (HM) list is so lengthy.
Anyway, here's the team of the best players with dreads for 2012-13. (FYI: Players who made last year's team or were honorable mention are denoted by '*' or 'HM' .... Abbreviations are as follows: MPG (minutes per game), PPG (points per game), RPG (rebounds per game), APG (assists per game), SPG (steals per game), BPG (blocked shots per game)).
- Sherwood Brown (*) - 6-4 SR G - FGCU - Atlantic Sun player of the year; 15.5 PPG, 46.8 FG%, 6.5 RPG, 1.2 APG
- Jarvis Garner (right photo above) - 6-7 SR F - Central Arkansas - 3rd team all-SLC; 15.9 PPG, 41.7 FG%, 7.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.1 SPG
- Jordair Jett (HM) - 6-1 JR G - Saint Louis - 3rd team all-Atlantic 10, Atlantic 10 all-defensive; 9.0 PPG, 51.1 FG%, 2.9 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.1 SPG
- Keith Rendleman (*) - 6-8 SR F - UNC-Wilmington - 1st team all-CAA, CAA all-defensive; 17.0 PPG, 53.9 FG%, 10.5 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 1.6 BPG
- Marcus Thornton (HM) (left photo above) - 6-4 SOPH G - William & Mary - 2nd team all-CAA; 18.8 PPG, 44.0 FG%, 2.8 RPG, 2.8 APG
- Hunter Harris - 6-7 JR F - East Tennessee State - 8.1 PPG, 49.2 FG%, 5.4 RPG
- Reese Holliday (*) - 6-4 JR F - Toledo - 7.8 PPG, 40.9 FG%, 4.6 RPG, 1.0 APG
- DeWayne Jackson (HM) - 6-8 SR F - Morgan State - 1st team all-MEAC; 13.8 PPG, 44.6 FG%, 5.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.7 SPG
- Bryson Johnson - 6-2 SR G - Bucknell - 11.1 PPG, 39.7 FG%, 2.7 RPG, 2.3 APG
- Stefan Moody - 5-10 FR G - FAU - 2nd team all-SBC; 15.7 PPG, 42.1 FG%, 4.2 RPG, 2.2 APG
- Levi Randolph (left photo above) - 6-5 SOPH G - Alabama - 8.1 PPG, 43.1 FG%, 4.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.1 SPG
- Freddie Riley (right photo above) - 6-5 SR G - Massachusetts - 8.8 PPG, 40.1 FG%, 1.5 RPG, 1.0 APG
- Kenneth Smith (photo below) - 6-3 SOPH G - Louisiana Tech - 1st team all-WAC, WAC all-defensive; 6.8 PPG, 40.1 FG%, 4.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.7 SPG
- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi SOPH G Hameed Ali
- Morehead State SR G Devon Atkinson
- Furman SR G Bobby Austin (HM)
- Tennessee-Martin JR G Justin Childs
- Towson JR G Rafriel Guthrie
- UALR FR G Josh Hagins
- Clemson SOPH G Rod Hall
- Louisiana Tech JR G Cordarius Johnson (HM)
- Campbell SOPH G-F Reco McCarter
- UNC-Asheville SR F Jon Nwannunu
- South Carolina State FR F Darryl Palmer
- Nebraska SOPH F David Rivers
- UMKC SR G Estan Tyler
- Loyola (MD) SOPH G R.J. Williams
- Lamar JR F Amos Wilson
|Colorado freshaman F Xavier Johnson didn't debut his dreads until February, so I didn't include him on the team. But if he keeps his dreads, he'll have an excellent chance to make the team in the seasons ahead.|
2013 COLLEGE BASKETBALL FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICA WITH DREADS
I wanted to name Stefan Moody as a starter on the all-America with dreads team; but I decided to go with three guards instead of four. But that's OK, because Moody would definitely provide instant offense off the bench. Moody is at the top of the list of the many freshmen with dreads in 2012-13. Stefan was named a Parade all-American after his senior season at Kissimmee Poinciana HS (just south of Orlando). But with him standing just 5-foot-10 (that his listed height; he's likely even shorter), the big schools weren't very enthusiastic about recruiting him. So he ended up signing with FAU, and Coach Jarvis is thankful he did. Jarvis, the former coach at St. John's as well as a couple of other places, has coached some really good guards in his day - and he includes Moody among them. Here's what he had to say about Stefan in an interview just before the season began:
- "He is the real deal. He has the potential to be amongst the best guards I've ever coached at any level, any place ...... Stefan Moody, I mean, if he continues to work, which I know he will, and really want to get better and have a will to improve, the sky's the limit for that kid ...... He has the whole package. I mean, forget about the fact that he's only 5-foot-9. It doesn't make a difference for me. He plays like he's 6-foot-8. And he's strong, so he can defend, and he's quick. He's got a great feel for the game. And he's unselfish. I mean, he can get 30 points, 20 points, and you would think he got 10, at times a very loud 20 because of the way he plays. But if his shot is on, forget it. He's special. He could play at any place in the country."
In recent weeks we've seen Nate Robinson be a big factor in the NBA playoffs; so just because Stefan is so short doesn't automatically mean we won't see him in the NBA at some point in the future.
Now here's the list of the best freshmen players with dreads for 2012-13.
- Josh Hagins (left photo below) - 6-1 G - UALR - 8.1 PPG, 45.2 FG%, 2.7 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.2 SPG
- Stefan Moody - 5-10 G - FAU - 15.7 PPG, 42.1 FG%, 4.2 RPG, 2.2 APG
- Darryl Palmer - 6-7 F - South Carolina State - 9.5 PPG, 45.0 FG%, 5.9 RPG, 1.5 BPG
- Jalen Robinson (right photo below) - 6-9 F-C - Dayton - 6.1 PPG, 50.7 FG%, 5.1 RPG
- Brandon Taylor - 6-7 F - Penn State - 5.3 PPG, 34.9 FG%, 3.3 RPG
- Marcus Colbert - 5-11 G - Montana State - 5.5 PPG, 39.8 FG%, 2.1 RPG, 2.1 APG
- D.J. Johnson - 6-8 F - Kansas State - 2.3 PPG, 56.0 FG%, 2.5 RPG
- Donnell Minton - 6-0 G - Lamar - 5.4 PPG, 42.0 FG%, 2.7 RPG, 1.8 APG
- Russell Wilson - 5-11 G - Samford - 2.8 PPG, 46.5 FG%, 2.4 RPG, 2.0 APG
- Jeff White - 6-1 G - Loyola (Chicago) - 5.3 PPG, 37.9 FG%, 2.4 RPG, 2.7 APG
I was tempted to but did not include Memphis F Shaq Goodwin on the team. I'm still just not convinced that the hair he has that looks like dreads are actually dreads. If you look closely at Goodwin in an interview of him from early in the season (link below), it looks like his hair isn't locked up yet.
Hopefully he'll get those twisted up better, and we'll see what he looks like next season. I'd really like to welcome him to the house.
DREAD DUOS (and trios)
There were 7 teams (that I know of) that had at least two players with dreads. I'll list them here, ranked by the sum of the players' scoring averages.
- LOUISIANA TECH (19.3 PPG) - Cordarius Johnson (7.9), Kenneth Smith (on left in photo below) (6.8), and Chris Anderson (on right in photo below) (4.6)
- CENTRAL ARKANSAS (18.3 PPG) - Jarvis Garner (15.9) and Oliver Wells (2.4)
- LAMAR (14.3 PPG) - Amos Wilson (8.9) and Donnell Minton (5.4)
- SOUTH CAROLINA STATE (9.9 PPG) - Darryl Palmer (9.5) and Terrence Linton (0.4)
- GRAMBLING (9.6 PPG) - Deron Hobbs (5.9) and Roman Higgins (3.7)
- MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE (8.6 PPG) - Ervin Thomas (4.0), Cameron Dobbs (4.0), and Montreal Holley (0.6)
- WRIGHT STATE (5.4 PPG) - Tavares Sledge (4.1) and Jacoby Roddy (1.3)
2013 COLLEGE BASKETBALL DREAD ALL-AMERICA
The dreads this season didn't quite measure up to the high standards set in the past. But for real, Tim Owens, Jesse Perry, and Jeremiah Bowman were a tough act to follow. Due to circumstances, only 4 players are repeat selections from last year (denoted by *), so there were plenty of spots available on the team. Unfortunately there weren't an abundance of sick dreads to fill those spots. After finally unleashing his dreads toward the end of February, Illinois State G Bryant Allen (photo on left) briefly reclaimed the honor of having the best dreads in the nation. But then, in the biggest disappointment of the season, he suddenly cut them off. Morgan State F DeWayne Jackson and Alabama State G Anthony Price certainly have dreads long enough to be on the team, but they didn't make it because they kept their dreads reduced too often. I mean, without Allen, Jackson, and Price, I really struggled to fill the last couple of spots on the team. I couldn't put Terran Petteway on the team either - he had to sit out this season after transferring from Texas Tech to Nebraska. Anyway, for better or worse, here are the players I ranked as having the best dreads in 2012-13.
- Sherwood Brown (*) (left photo below) -FGCU SR G
- Cameron Dobbs - Mississippi Valley State FR G
- Tashan Fredrick (*) (left photo above) - Tennessee State SR G
- Deron Hobbs - (right photo below) - Grambling SR G
- Tavares Sledge (*) (right photo above) - Wright State SOPH C
- Devon Atkinson - Morehead State SR G
- Justin Childs (left photo below) - Tennessee-Martin JR G
- Rod Hall (*) (right photo below) - Clemson SOPH G
- Donnell Minton - Lamar FR G
- David Rivers (center photo below) - Nebraska SOPH F
- Ervin Thomas - Mississippi Valley State JR F
- Marcus Thornton - William & Mary SOPH G
- Amos Wilson - Lamar JR F
From looking at the Troy website, I suspect that freshman F Sidki Muwallif has dreads worthy of making the team. But after redshirting last season, he played only 10 minutes all season this year, and I have yet to find a photo of him. So I can't confirm if he still has his dreads or not. Hopefully he'll be on the team next season.
BUBBY'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
Let's wrap this thing up with an update of a couple of players with dreads from Division 2. And we'll start with a former Division 1 player. After playing his freshman season at NJIT in 2010-11, Dytanya Johnson - who goes by his nickname, 'Bubby', - transferred to D-2 school Gannon in 2011-12 but didn't play there due to injury. He transferred again this season, to a junior college known as USU-Eastern (short for Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah). And apparently he had quite a time - both on the court, where he averaged 8.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, and off.
According to an article in the USU-Eastern student newspaper from three weeks ago, Johnson spent a lot of his free time both coaching a local AAU team as well as some community service with kids at an elementary school, where it was culture shock both ways: http://eagle.ceu.edu/article/dividing-time-between-basketball-and-volun
I was hoping Bubby would transfer back to Division 1 for his final two seasons. But instead, his sick dreads will be at their 4th different school in 4 years when he suits up for D-2 power Florida Southern coming up in November.
There were no highlight reel dunks by Kwame Alexander that made their way to YouTube this season. The Cal State-San Bernardino star had a less spectacular but more successful senior season, according to an article (link below) in the Riverside Press-Enterprise from near the end of the season. Alexander was named a D-2 all-American after leading his conference in both points (16.7) and rebounds (8.8) and leading his team to the 2nd round of the D-2 NCAA Tournament. At 6-foot-7, 240 pounds, Kwame is definitely a pro prospect; but as the article mentions, the league he'll be playing in next season probably won't be the NBA: http://blog.pe.com/jim-alexander/2013/03/14/column-less-attention-more-consistency-for-kwame/
Maybe at some point in the years ahead he'll improve enough to play with the big boys. Chris Copeland is living proof that it's not impossible. So hopefully this won't be the last we see of these dreads.
Although there were no dreads in the D-1 final 4, that certainly wasn't the case in Division 2. Congratulations to Lonnie Boga, who just played his junior season at Drury (located in Springfield, MO) after a transfer from UW-Milwaukee and is celebrating a national championship along with his teammates. Boga, a 6-foot-3 G, averaged 4.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 14 MPG as a key reserve for the Panthers and contributed 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in 14 minutes (of course) in the thrilling 74-73 victory over Metro State in the championship game.
I'm still in the process of saving photos from the 2012-13 season. I'm planning to do a couple of dread galleries, so that you can see all of D-1 players with dreads in action. But I likely won't be ready to post those for another couple of weeks or so.