Jabari Brown Leaves Oregon Basketball ProgramPosted by AMurawa on November 20th, 2011
It had already been a very bad weekend for Oregon fans, after a late missed field goal Saturday night secured a USC victory over the football Ducks, a team that appeared to be next in line for the all-important #2 spot in the BCS rankings. The announcement Sunday that freshman Jabari Brown, a five-star recruit according to Rivals and Scout, ranked the #26 recruit in the 2011 class by ESPNU, had cleaned out his locker and left the basketball program? That was just insult heaped upon injury.
Reports are that Brown told head coach Dana Altman of his decision to leave the team on Saturday, but the news didn’t really break until Sunday morning. In comments after Oregon’s 25-point victory over SE Missouri State on Sunday, Altman confirmed Brown’s departure but noted that the door was still open for Brown to come back. “I will say right up front, I don’t want him to leave,” said Altman. “I did try to talk him out of it, I wanted him to reconsider, I hope he does reconsider. The door is still open. He’s a good young man who hasn’t gotten off to the start he wanted.”
Brown had struggled in his first two games with the Ducks, hitting just three of his 11 field goals attempts and turning the ball over 11 times, but he certainly hadn’t been hurting for playing time, getting 25.5 minutes per game. In high school, Brown bounced around a couple of times, starting out his career at Oakland’s Salesian High School, before transferring to Las Vegas’ Findlay Prep for his junior year. However, he abruptly left Findlay after a dispute with his coach there over playing time and returned to Oakland to play for the public school team there.
While all reports are that Brown is a good kid, just reading the tea leaves a bit seems to indicate that he’s a little immature. He’s used to having things his way simply because he is an elite talent, and when things get tough, he gets frustrated. Throw in the fact that it can be hard to be a teenager away from home with the pressure and expectations of a college basketball program upon you, and that frustration can compound until you make a bad decision. And that’s what this appears to be – a bad decision. Because even if things weren’t going to work out for Brown in Eugene, at the very least he would have been better off finishing off the first semester and transferring out then. A better decision still would have been to play out the year. Although there may be some other personal factors mixed in here that affected his decision, this appears to be a case of Brown getting frustrated and making an emotional decision rather than a rational one.
Altman did indicate that he planned to talk to Brown Sunday evening to discuss this further, to see if there is any way Brown would reconsider his decision, and perhaps if Brown gets some good advice from his friends and family and can come to some understanding with Altman, he could wind up back in the fold. But for the time being, it appears the Jabari Brown era in Oregon was a very short one.