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VOL. 132 | NO. 150 | Monday, July 31, 2017

New Tiger Guard Kareem Brewton all about Slashing and Scoring

By Don Wade

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Growing up, guard Kareem Brewton remembers watching the University of Memphis play via a small television in his kitchen. Well, actually, he doesn’t recall much about John Calipari’s team – that those Tigers could play lockdown defense was news to him – but he remembered how dazzled he was by Derrick Rose.

“I was like, `I want to go to Memphis.’ They just let him go, let him be him,” Brewton said.

Now, of course, Brewton is here. A 6-foot-3 combo guard from Claxton, Georgia, Brewton averaged 19.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a sophomore last season at Eastern Florida State College. He helped the team advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association title game.

“Kareem Brewton, that guy can really score the ball,” said Tiger junior Jeremiah Martin, who returns after starting at point guard. “Me and him in the backcourt, that’ll be good.”

A 6-foot-3 combo guard from Claxton, Georgia, new University of Memphis Tiger Kareen Brewton averaged 19.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a sophomore last season at Eastern Florida State College. (Eastern Florida State College)

Brewton and Martin have been on opposite sides in summer pick-up games. Brewton has enjoyed the competition.

“We always going at it with each other,” he said. “I’m not backing down. We’re both juniors, so why would I back down?”

No reason. Consider, too, that Brewton counts take-no-prisoners Baron Davis as his favorite NBA player and says an in-his-prime Dwyane Wade is his favorite player to be on the NBA2K video game.

So you may be noticing a theme here: scoring, slashing, driving to the rim with no fear.

“I love contact,” Brewton said. “I love when a bigger dude tries to get physical. It makes me score more, really. As soon as the ref blows the whistle and I make it an and-one, that’s when I get real hyped.”

In junior college, he mostly played shooting guard but Brewton says he is comfortable playing point guard, too. If that proves out, it will give coach Tubby Smith more flexibility in his rotation.

Knocking down long-range jumpers is not currently a strength, however. Brewton hit just 22 percent of his 3-point attempts at EFSC last year and with a special season in the works put the jumper away and did what came naturally.

“Do what I’m good at,” he said. “I’m quicker than most people so I just get around them to the basket. Explosiveness. I can pretty much just jump over you.”

Suffice to say, Smith and his staff won’t have to coach up Brewton on confidence. It’s there.

Brewton says he’s not one for going out much, but what little he has been out and about, Memphis already has been eye-opening. If you’re tall and wearing a blue U of M T-shirt, people figure you must be a Tigers player. And they may even have an idea on which player before you’ve played your first game.

“I was just buying some sheets and comforters for my bed,” Brewton said. “Me and Mike Parks (a 6-9 forward from Southwest Mississippi Community College) were at Target and a lady comes up, `You guys must play basketball. Are you guys the transfers?’

“And another time I was taking an Uber and the guy was like, `Your name seems familiar.’ Another time I went to the zoo and a whole bunch of kids ran up, `Don’t you play basketball for Memphis?’ And a whole bunch of parents started taking pictures.

“It felt a little weird, but it just made me smile.”

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