Brown overcomes repeated injuries to lead Western Michigan in scoring

first_imgDavid Brown would wake up some nights with a sharp pain in his leg and tears streaming down his face.Then a sophomore, the Western Michigan guard had just finished surgery on his season-ending ACL tear, and was back home with his family.Many nights he’d struggle to fall back asleep.“It was late nights of me crying,” Brown said. “And late nights of me thinking if I could ever come back and play the game of basketball again.”Brown suffered an ankle injury in high school, and two ACL injuries in college. In his own words, he came back from something that most wouldn’t even dream of.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd he hasn’t just come back, but reached an elite level. He leads the Mid-American Conference in scoring at 19.4 points per game, and has started all 29 games this season after just four in his previous four years with the team.“It’s not an easy thing. And literally there were blood, sweat and tears,” Broncos head coach Steve Hawkins said. “All the doubts about ‘Am I going to be able to realize my dream of a decent career.’“We really thought he was not going to be back after the last one.”Brown was a star at Hononegah (Ill.) High School. He averaged 17 points per game as a senior, led his team to a school record in wins and captured multiple conference championships. His head coach Mike Miller could only recall two other players from the program that had went on to play Division I.After coming to Hononegah as an underwhelming freshman that couldn’t hit a free throw, he left a prolific scorer. Brown would spend his lunch hours going into the athletic office to watch both game film and films on coach tips.By the time he was a senior, big-time programs like Florida and Kentucky were calling Miller to ask about him.But a sprained right ankle changed all of that. His stock fell. The high-profile offers were no longer on the table.“As soon as you go down with an ankle injury, it’s unbelievable how quickly a big-time school will stop calling, and take back their scholarship,” Brown said. “But that’s something Western never did. Western called me every day.”WMU knew the type of player that Brown could be. Everyone at Hononegah knew the type of player he could be, but when he finally got to college, years of constant injuries prevented him from proving that to everyone else.After playing sparingly in his first year, Brown re-injured his right ankle as a sophomore and took a medical redshirt after playing in nine games. The next year, he tore his ACL and two menisci in his right knee against Duquesne on Dec. 17, 2011.And last season, he missed the first 13 games of the Broncos’ season with a torn MCL.“I’ve kind of come to learn that everything’s possible with David,” Miller said. “But it’s a situation where I think he was concerned, I think everybody was concerned that things might not work out. It seemed like he was snake-bit.”But this season, all the injuries, setbacks and sleepless nights crying came to an end.In the MAC tournament semifinals against Akron, Brown finished just 4-of-15 from the field. In the finals, he bounced back to score 32 points and lead the Broncos to their first NCAA Tournament in 10 years.“Those two games probably epitomize who he is,” Hawkins said. “He has a bad shooting night, or someone does a good job on him, he’s able to bounce back pretty quick. He’s a confident player. You’ve got to have somebody like that on your team.”What’s been a career full of disappointment and pain has somehow culminated in an NCAA Tournament for Brown. He’s been getting messages from his friends back home about how they’re excited to watch him play against Syracuse.Miller said he was cancelling his science class Thursday and driving up all night to watch Brown take the court.For Brown, playing in this game means more than just reaching the NCAA Tournament.It’s about the journey he took to get there.“It was something that I always dreamed about,” Brown said. “And when it happened it was breathtaking.“A dream actually came true.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 19, 2014 at 11:30 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3last_img read more

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