Brewer likes Beal's chances in NBA


Former Florida basketball player and current Denver Nuggets player Corey Brewer jokes with camper Sammy Beyer, of New York City, while getting their photo taken during the Cory Brewer Back 2 Back youth camp at The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., Tuesday. Beyer said he made the trip from New York just to be at the camp.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 6:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 6:42 p.m.

Corey Brewer understands the expectations that come with being an NBA lottery pick.

Brewer was taken seventh overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2007 NBA Draft. The former Gator standout, in Gainesville to host his third annual Back 2 Back youth camp, thinks that recent UF lottery pick Bradley Beal can handle those expectations.

Beal was taken third overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2012 NBA Draft after helping lead Florida to the Elite Eight this past season.

“It's going to be tough for him, but he's in a good situation,” Brewer said. “They are going to give him the ball right away. He has a chance to be special. It's going to be up to him, how hard he works.”

Brewer averaged 5.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in his rookie season in Minnesota. He started in just 35 of 79 games.

“I didn't really have as much pressure because it wasn't about me,” Brewer said. “They had just traded KG (Kevin Garnett). So it was all about rebuilding. We were just young. It was a weird situation for me going with a bunch of young guys, nobody knew who was going to be the man. It was tough, but I learned a lot.”

Close to 100 kids ages 7-17 attended Brewer's camp at The Rock School in Gainesville. Some came from as far as New York to support a camp that raises money for Brewer's “Fight Diabetes Fund,” which benefits Shands at UF.

Diabetes hit home for Brewer when his father, Ellis, died from complications due to diabetes last February. Brewer's mother, Glenda, is a Type 2 diabetic.

“It's always fun to come back and see the little kids,” Brewer said. “I remember one guy, he was in second grade when I first started doing it. Now he's in fourth grade. They grow, they get better, so it's always good to see.”

Brewer just completed his fifth NBA season, helping lead the Denver Nuggets to the first round of the NBA playoffs. Brewer said he's spent most of his offseason working on his perimeter game after finishing the season shooting 43.4 percent from the floor and 26 percent from 3-point range.

During the offseason, Brewer has worked out in Denver and Los Angeles and plans to work with shooting coach David Thorpe in Tampa.

“I'm trying to become consistent, trying to shoot the same shot,” Brewer said. “Gotta knock down the open jumper. It's going to be a big thing this year.”

Brewer also received a nice surprise on Tuesday. Former UF teammate Taurean Green arrived and will help at the camp the next two days. Green played this past season in Turkey and is mulling offers to play this season in Italy, Belgium, Germany or France.

Green flew in from Chicago, where he had dinner Monday night with Joakim Noah. It was Green, Noah, Brewer and Al Horford that composed the prized 2004 UF recruiting class that led the Gators to back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007.

“It's always great to come back to see Corey and to help the kids, to teach them skills,” Green said. “We wanted to get Jo and Al involved, but they had some prior commitments.”

Other comments from Brewer:

-- On Noah recently saying in a national interview no one had more fun at Florida than him: “That could be true. Because everyone says Tim Tebow is the man. People don't understand, Tim Tebow, when we left, he was the man. When we were on campus, Joakim Noah was the man, by far. He couldn't go anywhere without knowing someone.”

-- On UF junior forward Casey Prather, a Tennessee native who is often compared to him: “Casey is going to really help us. He's getting better, the end of the year last year he got better. It's going to be a big year for him. I watched him in March. You can tell he's coming around. He's got to learn to shoot the jumper, though. I guess it's a Tennessee thing. Lee Humphrey took all the shooting.”

-- On what he values most, UF's first national championship, second national championship or NBA title ring: “First national championship. That was a fun year because nobody gave us a chance to win a national championship.”

-- On Florida coming off back-to-back Elite Eights: “I'm glad we're going in the right direction. When we started playing zone one year after we left, I never expected us in our life to play zone, play it consistently. I think coach is starting to get the players he wants to get, and we've got a lot of good guys from Florida coming in.”

Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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