Tyler Brown has averaged 18.6 points since his return from suspension. (Photo by B Corbin/WJBC)
By Bryan Bloodworth
Tyler Brown’s best advice in life came from his mother.
It was simple and to the point: move forward.
That’s exactly what Brown has done the last month since missing a few days of practice and one game after being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
“There was a little frustration involved,” said Brown about the suspension. “Things happened and I can’t change that. I just have to build on it. I feel like I learned from it and grown from it.
“I’m past it. I’m disappointed I missed a game, but I had time to think about some things. It made me realize how much I respect the game and the opportunity I have a lot more than I did.
“My teammates were very supportive of me (during the suspension). We’re like brothers. We support each other in everything we do. I’m back now just trying to make the team better.”
The 6-foot-4 senior guard has certainly done that.
ISU is 6-2 since his return and has moved from the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference standings into a tie for sixth with a 6-7 record. The Redbirds are 15-10 overall.
“Obviously, this isn’t what we planned or hoped,” said Brown about the Redbirds’ position given the fact they were picked second in the pre-season poll. “But it is what it is.
“We’ve put ourselves in this position. We just have to work out of it no matter where we are in the conference or where we end up. We’re just going day-by-day, game-by-game just trying to get better every day especially on the defensive end.”
ISU coach Dan Muller was pleased how Brown handled his suspension.
“I’m glad he handled it the way he did,” said Muller. “But that’s what’s expected – guys playing hard, guys acting right, guys doing what they’re supposed to be doing. That’s just part of the deal here and should be part of the deal in life.
“I love Tyler Brown. He’s a big part of our team, but he’s held accountable just like everyone else on this team. He’s been great since he came back and I think he’s going to finish great.”
The Owensboro, Ky., native is averaging 18.6 points per game since his return, up from 15.3 before his suspension. He ranks fourth in the league with a 16.4 average and fifth in 3-point field goals made per game.
His opportunities at the free throw line also have increased. In his first 16 games, Brown made 68 trips to the line. In the last eight games, he has been there 61 times making 74 percent.
“I’ve really tried to be more aggressive getting to the paint and going to the basket in the last month trying to get to the free throw line more.”
Brown, who ranks seventh in the Valley in steals with 1.5 per game, admits his offense starts with his defense.
“It kind of ignites my offense,” he added. “I’m always trying to get a steal or force a bad shot.”
Brown also admits he’s been in a bit of a shooting slump, but is working his way out of it.
“I feel like I’ve always been a good shooter, but right I guess you could say I’m a streak shooter,” Brown continued. “I feel like if I make one, then there’s no telling how many I can make. Once I get the first one, I’m all good after that.
“If you’re a shooter, no matter how many you miss, you can’t worry about it. You just have to keep doing the same thing. Some people miss a couple of shots and then they try and change their shot.
“I’ve done that myself, but you can’t do that. You have to shoot the same way with the same speed and same height every time. You can’t think about it. You just have to go out there and shoot.”
Brown came to ISU after earning National Junior College All-American honors twice at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa. He started his collegiate career at Morehead State where he sat out his only season there after being red-shirted.
“I feel like I’ve paid my dues,” said Brown. “It’s been a struggle to get where I am now, but I think I’ve handled it well. It was really depressing sitting out the year because I’d never taken a year off from basketball like that.
“It was hard to deal with. Then not going to a Division I school after that made it even harder.”
Brown really moved to the forefront late last season when he averaged 24.5 points during two games in the National Invitation Tournament and made a combined 13-for-14 from 3-point range.
He was a member of the all-Valley Tournament team after averaging 16 points and was on the league’s all-Newcomer team.
“We had big expectations this year and I know the fans are disappointed where we are at just like we are,” said Brown. “But we can’t dwell on what’s happened. We have to build on it and move forward.”
Just like Momma Brown advised.
More about Tyler Brown
Hometown: Owensboro, Ky.
Family: Parents Tony and Jacqui; one brother and one sister
Major: University Studies
Favorite food: Macaroni
Favorite ice cream: Chocolate chip
Favorite sports team: San Francisco 49ers, New York Knicks
Person admires most: His mother
Favorite drink: Yellow Gatorade
Favorite color: Blue
Basketball hero: Carmello Anthony
Favorite animal: Monkey
Least favorite insect: Spider
Fondest basketball memory: Making two free throws in final seconds against Wichita State in last year’s Valley Tournament
Best book ever read: Of Mice and Men
Perfect day would be: Sleeping
Biggest pet peeve: People who are not polite
Biggest weakness: Being too nice
Person he’d like to spend a day with: Grandmother
Away from basketball, he likes: to play ping pong
Does what to relax: Sleep
People would be surprised that: I can do a back flip
Can’t start my day without: food
Secretly addicted to: Rihanna
Best advice: Move forward (by his mother)
Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org