Brown continues Illini preseason award streak

By Courtney Linehan

Dee Brown picked up his first award of the season Sunday as the Illinois guard was named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year. Members of the media attending Big Ten Basketball Media Day voted Brown as the Big Ten’s top player going into the 2005-06 men’s basketball season.

“I figured I was going to be one of the candidates or the candidate, but I wasn’t looking into it that much because I’ve had the honor before,” Brown said. “As I’ve matured I realize it’s all about your team’s success, it’s all about wins.”

This was the second Preseason Player of the Year award for Brown. He also earned the title as a sophomore, prior to the 2003-04 season. Last year the nod went to fellow Illini Deron Williams.

Brown also nabbed a spot on the Preseason All-Big Ten Team, which was also selected by the media. Other players to make the team were Minnesota’s Vincent Grier, Michigan State’s Paul Davis, Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker and Indiana’s D.J. White.

Brown averaged 13.3 points, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game last year, contributing to Illinois’ most successful season in program history.

During the 2004-05 season, Brown picked up Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards. He was a consensus first-team All-American and The Sporting News named him National Player of the year.

“I’m not a complacent guy; I’m not a guy that lives on what I did in the past. Coming out of high school I had a lot of accolades, but freshman year I just tried to improve, to get better as a person and as a player every day,” Brown said. “No matter how many accolades you get, you just want to worry about your team’s success, having fun and making sure you play the game the way you’re supposed to play it.”

Illinois players have picked up the preseason player of the year nominations for six-straight years. Prior to Williams getting the award in 2004 and Brown picking it up in 2003, Illini Brian Cook, Frank Williams and Cory Bradford earned the honor.

“It’s nice that we’ve had some pretty good quality players. I don’t know, though, maybe we just have Illinois-biased media,” Weber said. “But I think it also shows the exposure that our guys have gotten and the success they’ve had.”