Brewer's stock is on the rise

Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 7:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 7:34 p.m.

ATLANTA Corey Brewer, on Sunday, sounded like a player who was about to play his final collegiate game.

When asked about the prospect of tonight being the final time he suits up with fellow juniors Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Taurean Green, the Gators' 6-foot-9 defensive stopper said: "I haven't really thought about it. But I'll probably have some emotions after the game."

If Brewer is to leave Florida a year early, as most expect, his NCAA Tournament performance is only aiding his draft stock. Brewer enters tonight's national title game against Ohio State coming off one of the most sparkling performances so far this season.

Brewer scored a game-high 19 points and turned UCLA All-American Arron Afflalo from one of the nation's most feared weapons to an afterthought during the Gators' 76-66 national semifinal win Saturday night in the Georgia Dome.

"I think our team did a great job of helping me," Brewer said. "I was able to make some shots offensively. It helped us get a win."

Brewer's long arms, athleticism and defensive mentality are reasons why he is projected by most to be an NBA lottery pick should he come out. One site,, has Brewer slotted as the No. 14 pick in this year's draft.

Brewer's performance against UCLA showed why. Afflalo, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, entered the game as UCLA's leading scorer at 16.9 points per game. But Brewer got Afflalo into early foul trouble, and held him without a point until there was 6:17 remaining in the game.

Brewer also carried Florida offensively, hitting 4-of-5 shots from 3-point territory. Brewer scored six of Florida's first nine points in the game's first 10 minutes when the Gators couldn't find the basket.

"Corey had a terrific first half, really kept us in it and bailed us out a few times offensively with some big plays," Gators coach Billy Donovan said.

Senior Chris Richard said Brewer often gets open looks from the perimeter because opponents expend so much energy trying to slow Florida's other weapons.

"When teams scout us, they don't scout him as a 3-point threat," Richard said. "When he knocks it down that just opens it up on the post. When Corey knocks 3s down, that's good for all of us."

Brewer's long-range shooting is a bonus for the Gators. That's because he's not always on.

Brewer's 31.1 percent mark from 3-point territory is the worst among Florida's three perimeter starters. But Brewer has shown an affinity for the Georgia Dome. Brewer is 8-for-17 from 3-point territory in the Georgia Dome in 2007, which includes the SEC Tournament.

While many media members were speculating and asking Brewer about his future Sunday, he is simply focused on one task: Beating Ohio State.

"Right now we're in the Final Four," Brewer said. "This is all about winning. There's nothing about you. It's all about the team. As long as we can win, I'm happy. We're back in the championship game. We can't ask for anything else."

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