Coyotes lose star player to the pros

Cal State San Bernardino’s bid for a national title in men’s basketball has taken a huge hit as 6-foot-7 forward Brandon Brown decided to ditch his senior season and sign with a professional team in Lithuania.

That’s really too bad. It sounded like coach Jeff Oliver had assembled quite a team. The Coyotes will likely still be good but that may not be enough in what is sure to be a competitive conference and fiercely competitive region.

Brown averaged 21 points and 9 rebounds and probably should have been the CCAA MVP. He had a better regular season than Cal Poly Pomona’s Larry Gordon.

Earlier this summer Dante Smith, who had signed with the Coyotes, decided to stay at USC rather than transfer as planned. So Brown’s leaving was a second hit.

The Coyotes do have a quality D-I transfer in Brian LeDuc who was the leading scorer at University of the Pacific. With Brown, LeDuc and Smith the Coyotes would have been unstoppable.

But now coach Oliver is left scrambling. If Brown wanted to leave that was his prerogative but it would have been nice if he had informed his coach early enough he could have come up with another game plan.

Oliver has a good track record of getting players late in the game and now he does have some scholarship money available.There are usually some players floating around. Now its up to him to find one.

Brown was much like former player Ivan Johnson who had visions of pro ball in his head even before he stepped into the gym the first time. While its good to have goals, both those players seemed a little too fixated on that more than the matter at hand which was helping their college team and getting an education.

Let’s hope all parties come out winners.