Miami basketball: Through 1 game, the hype around Bruce Brown seems real

Bruce Brown already owned half the triple-doubles in Miami basketball history before this season began. The shooting guard needed only nine games during his freshman year to crack double figures in points, rebounds and assists last season against South Carolina State. It was one of only two triple-doubles in Hurricanes history.

One game into his sophomore year, Brown owns the majority of triple-doubles. The guard had 10 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds Friday to help No. 13 Miami cruise to a season-opening 77-45 win against Gardner-Webb in Coral Gables, Fla.

“My teammates let me know my stats,” Brown said during a postgame press conference at the Watsco Center. “I think it was like 12 minutes to go. I’m happy I got one, and I’m happy we got the win.”

The Hurricanes (1-0) enter the season with a lot of hype and Brown is a major reason why. The 6-foot-5, 202-pound sophomore has the buzz of a potential lottery pick. Even the most pessimistic projections view Brown as a likely first-round pick.

Even if it was only one game against Runnin’ Bulldogs, Brown proved the hype is justified. He may never fill up the scoring column with a deep Miami team surrounding him, but he can fill up the stat sheet.

“Bruce is Bruce. He’s very good at everything,” coach Jim Larranaga said. “He’s athletic, he’s very good offensively, he’s a good defensive player and he rebounds.”

With Sam Waardenburg, a redshirt freshman expected to log minutes as a backup forward, sidelined with a minor back injury and 6-7 guard Anthony Lawrence dealing with foul trouble, Larranaga had to get creative to fill all the team’s minutes at power forward.

In stepped Brown. Despite his height, Brown plays with the physicality of a forward to go along with his guard skills. The Hurricanes’ best lineups this season could be playing four out and if Brown can handle some time at power forward Miami should be able to unlock those.

Gardner-Webb, of course, couldn’t match the Hurricanes’ size anywhere, so it was a deeply flawed challenge for Brown. Still, Brown grabbed more rebounds than center Ebuka Izundu, who logged a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards.

“It’s what you’re able to do with a player like him because he’s not afraid to play against bigger guys and he’s very good at being in or around the basket to rebound,” Larranaga said. “Once he gets the rebound, we’re off to the races because he can just take it himself.”

Miami did struggle with the Runnin’ Bulldogs (0-1) for a bit Friday before pulling away during the second half. The Hurricanes entered the break with a 29-23 only to promptly rattle off 12 straight points. Gardner-Webb never again pulled closer than 16.

Brown did his best work after halftime. The guard had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists during the final 20 minutes to hit his triple-double.

Brown isn’t the only reason Miami has lofty expectations this winter, although he’s also partially responsible for one of the other most important reasons. Lonnie Walker, a freshman shooting guard, is viewed as a likely lottery pick, and opened his Hurricanes career with 10 points and 5 assists. With those two in the fold, Miami has a one-two punch to match up with just about anyone.

“That’s Bruce Brown. There’s really nothing else that I could honestly explain. He’s one of the reasons why I really came here. It’s evident on the court,” Walker said. “He’s going to really do it almost any game without really noticing what he can do, so that’s what he does.”

The post Miami basketball: Through 1 game, the hype around Bruce Brown seems real appeared first on Diehards.

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