If all you know about Fred Brown is one pass late in a game, you've missed a career that ranks among Georgetown's best guards.
A first team all-city recruit from Stevenson HS in the Bronx, Brown's 6-5 size was tall for a guard of that era, especially given his quickness and attention to defense. His freshman year was strong from start to finish--he posted a season high 16 points versus North Carolina in only his second game, scored 14 points and 10 assists in a two point win over Boston College, and scored the winning tip-in in a hotly disputed game at Seton Hall. Brown stared all 32 games as a freshman, finishing first in shooting average (58.4%), first in assists, and second in steals. Splitting time between guard and small forward, he was named Big East Rookie of the Year.
Brown was even more proficient in his sophomore season, leading the Hoyas back to the Big East title and on to the NCAA Final Four. Starting all 37 games, he set a single season record with 80 steals, collected 131 assists, and shot 50% from the floor, all at the point.
In the NCAA semifinal, Brown's late game defensive stand had earned the Hoyas a narrow 50-46 win over Louisville in the semifinal; for the effort, he was named CBS' player of the game. Forty-eight hours later, it was all forgotten. If the weight of the sports world fell on his shoulders after a late game turnover to James Worthy in the 1982 NCAA final, he always kept his composure.
In the off-season, Brown underwent knee surgery to his patella tendon, losing him for much of the 1982-83 season. He played one game in December, started 14 games in mid season, then played only two game after a Feb. 9 game against St. John's. By 1983-94, the injury had slowed Brown tremendously. Once a fast-paced, high flying guard, the oversized knee brace was a sign that Brown's speedier days were behind him. Starting in 36 games, Brown averaged only 3.2 points and 2.6 rebounds, as younger guards like Michael Jackson and David Wingate began to step to the forefront. In the end, though, it was Brown that got the chance to walk off Seattle's Kingdome a champion, embraced by head
coach John Thompson moments before Georgetown's 84-75 win over Houston was official. When Georgetown hoisted the NCAA championship trophy, it was not John Thompson or Patrick Ewing that did it, but Fred Brown.
"Anybody else, they would have sat down and gave up," said Patrick Ewing, who was on the court for both of Brown's NCAA finals appearances. "But Fred used it to his advantage, fought back, and when we finally won it was great for him."
The knee injury certainly dampened Brown's last two years but his impact upon the Hoyas of the early 1980's was undeniable. A keen passer, able rebounder, and quick defender, Brown was a threat on both sides of the floor. His career shooting average --52.8%-- is the highest of any Georgetown guard in the program's history.
"I hate to lose," said Fred Brown in a New Orleans locker room, now a quarter century ago, "but I can't let this affect my life."
And to his credit, he didn't.