Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wednesday's Docket: Gumpy White Guys Everywhere!

NFL Teams Looking Seriously at... Graham Brown?

No. That is not a typo. NFL teams desperate to find the next Antonio Gates have begun scouring the college basketball scene for gigantic power forwards who lack the basketball skills to play in the NBA. The rationale behind this movement is three fold: 1) These hulking behemoths can actually move their feet; 2) They've got better hands than most graduating TE's from constant basketball drills; and 3) They present a matchup nightmare for 6-2 linebackers and 5-10 DBs.

Enter Graham Brown. In his four years at Michigan Brown garnered both praise and disdain for his aggressive play on the hardwood. Voted by his fellow Big Ten players as the dirtiest player in the league he was oxymoronically given Michigan Basketball's sportsmanship award. Looking at him, through sunglasses, he is as white as a Barry Manilow concert. You're safer looking directly into a solar eclipse, with binoculars, than staring at him. Seriously, the glare off his skin can bring water to a boil.

That aside, he is absolutely jacked. Jacked and 6'9". What Brown didn't have in basketball talent, he made up for in the weight room. The last two years in particular he made life miserable for anyone who made a living in the post or driving towards it. If you were a six foot safety watching him avalanche down the middle of the field, directly at you, you'd probably say a few prayers, close your eyes, and attempt to take out his legs, hoping his knee doesn't collapse your skull. Add that up with the fact that no one is going to be able to cover him in goal line situations, you've got yourself a TE.

This experiment will not be without its disadvantages. Brown is slow. John Navarre slow. Watching him run is painful. Say what you want about Tyler Ecker's ill advised jaunt down the Fiasco Bowl sidelines, but he looked like a runner. Brown's running style can best be described as a baby, three legged giraffe learning to walk for the first time. Brown hasn't played football in five years either, and I'm sure his blocking skills will take a while to develop. Finally, there is going to be a serious leverage problem when fleet of foot LBs and DEs with substantially lower centers of gravity line up against him. His size could also prove to be a disavantage when he goes up for a poorly thrown hospital pass and those little missles known as safeties or Ray Lewis target his speen.

All my sarcasm aside, I think this could work for Brown. He's been a tremendous asset to Michigan basketball, and his work ethic over the past four years has proven if he sets his mind to it, he can accomplish it. He's got decent hands. He's a good athlete. He's as dedicated an athlete as I've had the pleasure of watching. And he is NFL level strong. If he can work on his route running, and learn to be just a tad more graceful in his stride, he's going to make a lot of money in the NFL.

At least I hope he does. According to the Free Press, seven (7!) NFL teams have contacted Brown's agent with interest in converting him into a tight end. Brown will have a better idea of which options are feasible after this weekend's draft. For everything he did for Michigan basketball, it'd be nice to think that Michigan returned the favor by preparing him for his next career, whatever it might be.

Who knows, some Sunday this year or next, I may turn on the TV and see a gigantic tight end sky for a back-of-the-endzone touchdown. I may look and see the name "BROWN" on the back. Confused, I'll have to look again, because no matter what jersey he's wearing, my mind will play tricks on me. Football or otherwise, I'll always see him in Maize and Blue.

In Case You Missed It

Texarkana 6'7", 5 Star, QB Ryan Mallet committed to Michigan yesterday. Its a verbal commit until February, when he'll sign a national letter of intent. Huge get. Its in the papers too. Joey and Johnny have placed Notre Dame on notice that "It's on, bitches."

UPDATE: I didn't see this earlier, lo siento, but iBFC has a piece up on Mallett. Everyone is excited. While I don't know how to have Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" play everytime you view the Mallett piece, rest assured if I did, it would. Feel free to hum along.

Ha Ha. Now its stuck in your head too.

Basketball Recruiting Update

Tommy is supposedly going to sit down with Scottie Reynolds sometime this week to discuss his matriculation to Michigan. While Michigan and Georgetown are listed as his most likely landing zones, LSU has jumped into the mix with the courtship of Scottie's best friend and fellow McD's All-American Darrell Arthur. The Diag has all the details.

LSU throwing its hat in the ring is BAD BAD news. If Arthur ends up in Baton Rouge, Reynolds will most likely follow. Reynolds also announced he'll take a recruiting trip down to LSU to check things out.

We'll see how this pans out, but I'm not putting a whole lot of stock in Reynolds committing to Michigan. Georgetown and LSU are both Tourney teams. LSU made the Final Four. While I think Michigan stacks up better than G-town, unless there's no chance Reynolds would see the floor for two years, I can't imagine him passing up an opportunity to play for a national championship contender.

Tommy's got his work cut out for him. On the positive side, Reynolds liked Michigan before committing to OU. Michigan is a great playing time fit. Michigan is also a likely tourney team next year, and with a point guard could compete for the Big Ten title. I know its a long shot, but its laid out for him.

Michigan's basketball team, despite its profitability, has been kicked pretty hard in the recruiting game. Hopefully we're due for some good news.

More as it develops.


At 7:16 PM, Anonymous ny1995 said...

Ya, Brown is sort of slow. I don't see this one working. Gates and Gonzales would get there and back before Brown got there at all. Maybe they could put 60 pounds on him and get him to play right tackle.

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Ichiro said...

"sky for a back-of-the-endzone touchdown"

Yeah, um, when was the last time you saw Brown sky for anything? Dude has Larry Bird-like hops. That said, I'll certainly root for him as his crunching screens were beautiful to watch, but I just don't see it happening.

At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Voted by his fellow Big Ten players as the dirtiest player in the league (by a wide margin) he was oxymoronically given Michigan Basketball's sportsmanship award."

For the record, he received 3 votes out of 11 for the "dirtiest player" distinction. Someone else received 2 votes, so I'm not exactly sure how that was a wide margin. Anyhow, I think that was sour grapes . . . no one in the conference was better at setting screens.

(Also, I think you mean to say he was *paradoxically* given the award.)

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Maize n Brew Dave said...


True. It wasn't that wide a margin. In my old age my memory seems to be going a tad. Apologies for the embellishment. It has been corrected.

However, Graham WAS voted the dirtiest player in the league according to the detroit news. Whether it was 3 teams out of 11 or
27% of the players voting, that's still impressive.

And yes, "paradoxically" would have been a better word.

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Jose, From Portugal said...

:) i just saw this guy playing today in the Portugal 1/2 final Basketball cup..he is not in NFL :) The guy is gigantic and gave a good hand on lusitania, the team he is playing for. They lost against FC Porto but he played well. ive just passed here to give you news about him!

Best Regards

At 7:14 PM, Blogger gesika said...

I went to school with Graham. From Kindergarten to senior. He used to be in football, but when he learned he had a career in basketball, he quit it so he wouldn't get hurt. He was always dedicated. Never complained. Both of his parents were teachers at the school, so he is educated as well. Not one of those guys who leaned on their sports. He was a 'prep', but he was always respectful, never made fun of anyone. Easy to get along with. I haven't seen him play since school, but back then he was the best.


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