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April 25, 2013
Broward (Fla.) Community College swingman Craig Brown committed to Rutgers when Mike Rice was still the head coach, and he remained steadfast in his pledge following Rice's dismissal and throughout the fallout that ensued.
This morning, Brown's loyalty became official when his National Letter of Intent was processed and he joined the Rutgers program.
"We are very excited to welcome Craig into the program," said new RU head coach Eddie Jordan. "He is a high-character young man who works hard, both in the gym and in the classroom. He is a physical, do-it-all type of player that will bring experience to the roster."
Brown originally chose the Scarlet Knights in early February over offers from Auburn, Kent State and Gonzaga. He also had interest from Washington, Miami, LIU and Oklahoma State.
He will have two years of eligibility remaining at Rutgers and could be in line for big minutes next season as the current roster lacks wing players .
"He's a physical player. He's 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and is comfortable scoring inside or outside," Brown's head coach Bob Starkman said when he committed. "He can guard multiple positions and battle with 6-foot-9 guys down low."
Reached by phone this morning, Brown said he was "relieved" and cited his relationship with retained assistant coach Van Macon and returning players as major reasons for him honoring his commitment.
"Coach Macon and I, we built a strong relationship," Brown said. "The players and me, I felt a good vibe from them. I know it's a good situation for me to play with them and be successful. Because the players that decided to stay were actually some of the best players. We've got an NBA coach now with NBA experience, so I think it will be even better next year."
Brown said he has spoken with Jordan over the phone and is excited to finally get to work with his new coach.
"He's a nice coach, well-spoken," Brown said. "He watched some of my tapes and he told me how he can use me. I'm excited."
Brown says he will arrive on campus in mid-to-late June, where he'll join a roster that currently has just five remaining scholarship players. Forward Malick Kone, who has his release, is a prime candidate to return to the program, and Jordan and his staff will undoubtedly add another piece or two to fill the voids.
"I'm just looking forward to going in there and winning games," Brown said. "We're coming in as the underdogs, but a lot of close games were lost last year, so I don't feel like we're that far behind. I think we just needed that extra boost, and I feel like I can help."
This past season, Brown averaged 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds, garnering First Team All-Southern Conference honors while helping the Seahawks to a 17-12 record.
In 2011-12, Brown averaged 20.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 39 percent from three-point range.