UTM may (or not) be back in the mix for MJ

UTM may (or not) be back in the mix for MJ
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Three months after the passing of national signing day and roughly a month before college classes are to begin and MJ Brown has yet to officially make a decision on where he’ll play basketball this fall.
A familiar name, however, is apparently back in the mix.
Brown, Union City High School’s two-time Class A Mr. Basketball recipient, told The Messenger this week he still likes UT Martin and the possibility exists that he could still accept a scholarship with the Skyhawks, rather than walk on at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
The final decision, he indicated, might stretch into mid-August when classes begin as he and family members weigh and debate the ultimate decision of his college destination.
Brown’s ongoing saga, in which one of the most decorated players in the rich history of the Tornado basketball program and The Messenger’s Prep Player of the Year has regularly wavered, has had several twists and turns.
Brown initially said he would pick either UTM or Southeast Missouri State — both Ohio Valley Conference schools.
UCHS head coach Shane Sisco said earlier in the process Brown had also received scholarship offers from Ten-nessee Tech, Eastern Kentucky and Murray State, while East Tennessee State, UT Chattanooga and Southern Methodist University had also indicated they would offer financial aide for Brown to join their respective programs.
The six-foot point-guard, who averaged 20 points, six assists, four steals and four rebounds while leading Union City to a perfect 37-0 season and the school’s fifth boys’ state championship during the 2007-08 season, never officially committed, however.
He openly talked of walking on at either UT or Western Kentucky, citing the desire to play for a big-time college program.
He said he talked with both Vol head coach Bruce Pearl and a member of the Hilltopper staff, each of whom promised him little but a chance to prove himself at the elite level where a scholarship could possibly have been had down the road.
Closer to home, the Sky-hawks, though, already have signed junior college point-guard Delrico Lane when it appeared the possibility of landing Brown in the spring no longer existed.
If he ultimately lands at UTM, Brown would join another Union City High School standout, Marquis Weddle, on the Skyhawk roster, and likely be a part of a lineup or rotation that not only includes Weddle — last season’s Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year after averaging 17 points-per-game — and reigning OVC Player of the Year Lester Hudson.
Hudson withdrew his name from NBA lottery consideration just before the deadline and will return to UTM for his senior season next year. He is currently on campus.
UT Martin head coach Bret Campbell — bound by NCAA rules and regulations — cannot comment on the matter.
Earlier in the week, Sisco said there was some question as to Brown’s eligibility expressed by at least one coach who cited the NCAA Clearinghouse Web site. That is no longer an issue, according to the coach.
Published in The Messenger 7.18.08

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