Brown opts to remain in NBA draft

Updated: May 29, 2009, 3:49 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

CHICAGO -- Xavier junior Derrick Brown is staying in the NBA draft, a fact new coach Chris Mack has known for a few weeks.

With Mack watching from the stands, Brown told ESPN.com after Thursday's first session at the NBA draft combine in Chicago, "I'm not going back to school."

Brown said he graduated and the coaching move of Sean Miller to Arizona and the elevation of Mack from assistant to head coach had little effect on his decision.

"I feel I was going to do this regardless," said Brown. "Coach Miller is my guy."

Brown said his versatility as a 6-foot-8 forward is something "NBA teams need."

"This is something we've know for three or four weeks," said Mack of Brown's decision. "I've been in his corner and want to support him."

Mack said people forget he redshirted his freshman season so next year would be his fifth at Xavier.

"He's got all the tools to be a successful NBA player," Mack said. "He's oozing with potential. He's got it in him to be very productive for years to come."

Brown's departure means Mack will start his head coaching career minus his top three scorers from last season's Sweet 16 team in seniors B.J. Raymond and C.J. Anderson and Brown. Fourth-leading scorer, center Jason Love will be the top returning scorer at 6.7 points a game and the only senior on next season's team. The Musketeers will also return rising sophomore guard Terrell Holloway, rising junior guard Dante Jackson and will welcome Indiana transfer Jordan Crawford in the backcourt.

"We won't have as many older guys but we've got good young players," Mack said. "We'll just be thinner in the front court without Derrick."

Mack isn't shying away from a loaded non-conference schedule. Xavier will play at Florida, Wake Forest, Kansas State and Butler with home games against LSU and Cincinnati. Xavier is also in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando. Florida is a home-and-home series with the Gators returning the game to Xavier in 2010.

"If you want to be a national program you can't play eight guarantee games and be there in March," Mack said.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com