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Brown picks NBA over the Gators

Kwame Brown wants to provide for his mother, who hoped he would choose college.

By JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 13, 2001


Ending a month of indecision and speculation, Florida recruit Kwame Brown announced Saturday he will bypass college and declare himself eligible for the NBA draft.

Brown, a 6-11, 250-pound center from Glynn Academy High in Brunswick, Ga., is projected by many analysts as a likely top-five pick in the June 27 draft.

"There are those who would say that the transition from high school to the NBA will be a difficult one," Brown said in a statement. "To those people, I say that difficult transitions are not new to my family and me. In fact, adversities have made my family stronger."

The seventh of eight children, Brown was raised in the low-income neighborhoods of Brunswick by his partially disabled mother, Joyce, a single parent. If he is among the first five players selected in the draft, he will be guaranteed a three-year contract worth at least $6.5-million.

Originally torn between the lure of a multimillion-dollar contract and the college lifestyle, Brown indicated his decision goes against his mother's wishes.

"She strongly supports my attending college," Brown said. "I understand and appreciate my mother's wishes, but I feel my decision will enable me to both attend college and provide a better way of life for my mother."

The loss of Brown is a blow to the nation's top-rated recruiting class. McDonald's All-Americans David Lee and James White, however, are on the way.

"Certainly, I'm happy for Kwame and his decision, however I'm disappointed that I won't have the opportunity to coach Kwame," Florida coach Billy Donovan said in a statement.

"It is obvious Kwame's decision was based on helping his family. It is hard to fault anyone for trying to provide for their family. I certainly respect that decision because family should be the most important thing in everyone's life. Kwame is a great kid and a tremendous person and I wish Kwame and his family the best of luck in the future."

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