Miami Hurricanes Guard Bruce Brown out for six weeks

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 20: Bruce Brown
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 20: Bruce Brown /
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Miami Hurricanes guard Bruce Brown will miss six weeks because of a foot injury suffered in practice on Monday. Brown will have surgery on an unspecified date according to Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post.

Brown’s loss means the Miami Hurricanes will be without their leader in rebounding, assists, steals and minutes played. He is also Miami’s second-leading scorer and arguably their best defensive player.

Brown is likely gone for the remainder of the regular season and through the ACC Tournament. The ACC Tournament starts in five weeks, the NCAA Tournament six weeks from Thursday. The Miami Hurricanes will get Brown back for the tournament if everything goes well.

Brown was projected as a first-round pick in this June’s draft. Miami was the 12th ranked team in the nation largely because of Brown and Freshman guard Lonnie Walker. While Miami has had a solid season the domination of Brown and Walker has never really materialized.

The Hurricanes dynamic duo scored in double figures in the same game only four times this season. While Walker has come on the last five games, Brown has been inconsistent. His struggles have been a big reason that the Hurricanes have not lived up to their preseason number 12 ranking.

Brown’s shooting percentages are down across the board from where they were last season. Brown shot 45.9 percent from the floor, 34.7 percent on three-point attempts and 74.4 percent from the line as a Freshman. Those numbers are down to 41.5 from the floor, 26.7 percent on threes and 62.9 from the line this season.

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  • Some of Brown’s shooting struggles can be attributed from having to step up into a bigger role this season. Upperclassman Davon Reed and Ja’Quan Newton were equal or greater options than Brown was during his Freshman season. Reed graduated and Newton has struggled mightily this season.

    Newton’s numbers have fallen off more significantly than Brown’s this season. The Senior from Philadelphia average has gone from 13.5 points per game to 8.5 points per game this season.

    Like Brown, Newton’s shooting percentages have also gone down a lot this year. He shot 45.2 percent from the floor, 27.5 percent from three and 69.9 percent from the line in 2016-17. Those numbers have fallen to 43.0, 17.6 and 61.1 this season.

    Walker’s early-season struggles and Newton’s struggles this entire season put a lot of attention on Brown from opposing defense. He might have been pressing and forcing shots throughout the season. Brown also sat out the game against Boston University last month with a hand injury.

    The attention from opposing defenses will now focus on Walker. The Freshman has emerged into a star over the last five games. Walker is averaging 19.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals over the last five games.

    He is also shooting 45.2 percent from the floor, 45.7 percent on three-point attempts and 81.3 percent from the line over the last five games. Walker will likely have to produce similar numbers for the Hurricanes to continue to be a successful team.

    Brown’s minutes will likely be evenly divided between Freshman Chris Lykes and Sophomore Dejan Vasiljevic in the backcourt. It could also mean more playing time for forward Sam Waardenburg.

    All three of them have deficiencies that were strengths Brown brought to the table. Lykes can score, share the ball and is a good defender. At 5’7 Miami loses rebounding when he’s in the lineup. Vasiljevic can really shoot the ball and has improved putting the ball on the floor. He’s not great defensively.

    Waardenburg gives Miami size and rebounding at 6’10 and he can shoot the three. He doesn’t provide the kind of defensive versatility that Brown did.

    Next: What would Miami Basketball All-time starting five be?

    Miami next hosts Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. The Panthers travel to the Watsco Center on a nine-game losing streak. All of those losses have occurred in the ACC. The Hurricanes defeated the Panthers in the ACC opener on December 30.