Brown snags Big Ten award

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Online Poster

By Lisa Koulias

Every time after Dee Brown makes a big play, he tugs on the front of his jersey, proudly showing the crowd the word “Illinois” written across his chest.

“I’m trying to get our school, our program on the map more,” Brown said after Saturday’s win over Iowa.

But with the way Brown has been playing, he won’t need to tug on his jersey to give his team recognition. He’s already caught the attention of the Big Ten, as the junior guard was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the second time this season. His first weekly honor of the season came on Nov. 22.

“He’s definitely deserving of it because he had two very consistent games last week,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “To me it was a no-brainer.”

Brown started off the week with a double-double in the Illini’s win over Penn State. Brown contributed 19 points in the game, including a season-high five 3-pointers, while handing out a game-high 11 assists. He also had four rebounds, two steals and only one turnover.

“He had a lot of energy at Penn State; got us going,” Weber said. “(With his) transitions and some great passes early. He shot the ball well. He stepped up, made some shots.”

At Saturday’s game at Iowa, Brown had another clutch performance as he went 7-of-11 from the floor, shooting 64 percent for the second consecutive game. He finished with 18 points, three assists and two steals.

But although the stats say a lot, Weber insists that Brown does more than the numbers suggest.

“His energy and making big plays at key times in the game,” Weber said. “He just loves crunch times and makes the plays. At key times he seems to make big plays.”

Brown is the fourth Illini to win Big Ten Player of the Week honors. He and junior forward James Augustine have each won the award two times this season.

“Now we have two guys that have been it twice, four different players have been players of the week,” Weber said. “It just shows our balance and what our team is about and how different guys rise up.”