A matter of timing

By Tim Emory

Special to the Arizona Daily Wildcat

"Look at the dealer's card, sweetie pie," screeched the elderly lady from Kansas. "You gotta hit that 15."

Danny Brown smiled and shook his head, trying to humor the woman, as the dealer took his money. Andy Brown stood behind him, arms folded, occasionally urging him to leave the table.

As the dealer paused to shuffle the cards, the woman from Kansas glanced over at the boys' hands.

"My God! Where did you get those, cutie pies?" she asked as she was poking her friend to get her attention.

Andy and Danny each gave a proud grin as they offered their fingers for the ladies to admire. Danny Brown momentarily forgot he was losing all his winnings in downtown Las Vegas.

The Browns, two close-knit brothers who, for the most part, grew up in Tucson, were displaying the rings they had earned at the University of Arizona. Danny received his ring as a part of the 1993 Pacific 10 Conference co-champion football team, while Andy acquired his as part of the '94 Final Four basketball team.

The Browns, who moved to Tucson from Indiana in 1983, are typical All-American kids from the Midwest. What isn't typical is Andy's 6-foot-7, 235 pound frame. Or Danny's 6-foot-4, 240 pound girth.

Size runs in the Brown family.

Their father Donald, is 6-foot-4, and their mother Patricia is 5-feet-11.

Andy Brown, 23, graduated from Rincon High School where he starred in football and basketball. He also found time to be senior class president and homecoming king three out of four years.

After being recruited lightly for football at the UA, he went to his father's alma mater, South Dakota State, to play basketball. He redshirted there, and decided to come back to Tucson after his first year.

Getting a fresh start, Brown tried out, and made, the Pima Community College basketball team in '91. He played at Pima for two years and made Academic All-American.

Thinking he had come to the end of his college career, Andy played wherever he could. He never dreamed that he might one day be playing for the UA.

In the summer of '93, Andy worked at Lute Olson's Basketball Camp, where he made some good impressions on the UA coaches.

"I ran into Coach (Jim) Rosborough after camp one time, and he said that Edtrick (Bohannon) might be transferring. So I gave him a call about a month later, and he said there was a shot open. Then he asked me if I wanted to play for the UA.

"One day, I'm working at Lute Olson's camp (and) the next day, the UA equipment manager is asking me what size shoe I wore."

Andy walked on as a junior, non-scholarship forward with a major in finance and plans to study law after he graduates.

Brown didn't play much during his one season with the Wildcats. He was filling a vacancy left by a player who wanted more game time Bohannon bolted to Tennessee. It was too late to recruit someone, and Andy was in the right place at the right time. He probably ended up helping the team more with his unselfishness and good attitude than his jump shot. Andy became a crowd favorite when he would get in the game during one of the several blowouts at McKale Center.

As Brown logged most of his time in practice, he soaked everything in road trips to Pullman, Wash., (which includes a two-hour bus trip to the WSU campus in the middle of nowhere), playing at Stanford where the court is built on tiny springs and shakes like a palm tree in a hurricane, a Christmas tournament in Hawaii and, of course, the jaunt to the Final Four in Charlotte last March.

But not even a Ray Owes' elbow could have knocked the grin off his face during that magical season.

"I had the time of my life," Brown says almost a year later, wearing the same grin you would have seen last March.

Danny Brown didn't have a rollercoaster ride like his brother did, but he had a bit of a rocky road himself.

Danny Brown, 21, graduated in '92 from Rincon. He also starred in football and basketball, but added track to his schedule as well. Danny also captured homecoming king three out of four years.

Brown, who was a McDonald's All-America nominee, was first-team All-City in basketball and football.

Danny had offers to walk-on at several major universities including Southern Cal, Washington and Air Force.

Unfortunately, miscommunications and lack of promotion by his high school football coach kept him out of football originally.

"Man, he didn't tell me what to do, or help me at all," Danny said. "One time, Coach gave me an invitation to visit Eastern Community College for a football visit. The trip was on January 10th and he gave me the letter on the 11th."

"I went on the trip, Dan," Andy says casually. "You didn't miss nothing."

"I know," Danny replies. "But I would have liked to go."

In the fall of '92, Danny eventually ended up side-by-side with his brother in the front court at Pima.

In April of '93, Danny's first year of college, he ran into UA receivers coach Norm Anderson. Anderson showed an interest in Danny, and gave him a workout program for the summer.

In the fall of '93, Danny walked on as a non-scholarship, tight end for the UA football team.

Danny hasn't played much either at the UA. He has run into some tough situations because of politics in the football program.

"After spring practice ('94), I was third on the depth chart," Danny said. "When we got to Camp Cochise in the fall, I was sixth. Just because they signed some (highly touted) prospects, it doesn't mean they should go right ahead of me with not even a practice under their belt."

But Brown doesn't hold a grudge or threaten to transfer like some selfish athletes would.

"That's not how you treat people ... but I don't blame anyone," he said.

These guys may never start at the UA, but do they have timing or what? Danny joined the football team, and they earned their first Pac-10 title ever. Andy joined the basketball team, and they only got their second Final Four appearance ever.

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