On March 15, 2000, Kevin Braswell scored 11 field goals, 14 free throws, and 40 points in an NIT game against Virginia. Six days later, versus California, he finished 1 for 12 from the field and failed to shoot a free throw. In a week's span, such was the puzzle that was Kevin Braswell's career at Georgetown.
The leader in more major statistical categories than any Georgetown player except Patrick Ewing, there is no doubt that Kevin Braswell was a workhorse of the Georgetown lineups of the early 2000's. He started all 128 games of his career, scored in 127 of them, and averaged over 33 minutes a game.
Notwithstanding, his place among the Top 100 list is tempered by inconsistent play that often bedeviled coaches, players and fans.
Recruited by then-assistant coach Craig Esherick out of Baltimore's Lake Clifton HS in 1997, Braswell prepped at Maine Central Institute for a season before joining the Hoyas during the Thompson-Esherick transitional season of 1998-99. Braswell was a shooter first and foremost, and his earliest stats bore this out: averaging 17.6 ppg in his first five games as a freshman, he averaged a shot every 25 seconds. He scored in double figures in 23 of 31 games that year, with four 20+ games and a season high 29 against Georgia State. His 441 field goal attempts were second only to Allen Iverson for attempts by a freshman, but whereas Iverson connected on nearly 40 percent, Braswell scored on only 33 percent. In the last three games of John Thompson's tenure, for example, Braswell went 7-18, 4-18, and 2-17 over a seven day period, or 24.5% from the field.
For his sophomore year, Braswell was the unquestioned scoring leader under Esherick, as shooting problems beset the previous season's scoring leader, guard Anthony Perry. Braswell opened with double figures in 10 of 11 games to start the season, including a 22.3 average in the three games of the 1999 Maui Invitational. After a 1 for 13 start in conference play against Providence, Braswell hit his stride in January, 2000, shooting 45 percent from the field and averaging 20 points a game over a five game period, then saw his averages plummet as he shot a combined 17 percent for the next five games. Unlike Perry, who seemed to lose confidence over poor shooting, Braswell never lost his.
Braswell turned in one of his best games in the opening round of the 2000 Big East tournament, where the Hoyas opened with an upset of West Virginia. Braswell scored 19, including a three pointer with less than a second left. He followed it up with 20 points and eight assists, including 10-12 from the line, to lead the Hoyas to an upset of Syracuse before falling to Connecticut in the semifinals--Georgetown's lone semifinal appearance between 1996 and 2006.
With Georgetown exiled to the NIT for a third consecutive year, Braswell's effort versus Virginia remains among the great individual achievements by any player. Starting the game 1 for 6, he scored 14 in the second half and 18 of his career high 40 points over three grueling overtimes, hitting 4 of 6 from the field and 10 of 12 from the line in the extra periods. Injuries and foul outs left Georgetown with only four scholarship players and walk-on Gharun Hester at game's end, with Braswell and forward Lee Scruggs needing intravenous fluids after the three hour, thirty minute game.
Braswell's play improved in 2000-01 with a team that finally made it through to the NCAA's. Taking fewer shots with the arrival of freshman Mike Sweetney to the lineup, Braswell improved his averages and, for the most part, avoided many of the deep shooting valleys that typified his play to date. He scored a season high of 26 points in Georgetown's big upset of #18 Seton Hall, while a run of nine of ten games in double figures down the stretch appeared to steady the Hoyas' course. In March Braswell suddenly went cold, shooting 0 for 6 in the Hoyas' stunning 18 point loss to Seton Hall in the 2001 Big East tournament, the only game he failed to score in his college career. In the NCAA's, he was 6 of 14 from the field for 17 points against Hampton but finished only 3 for 12 against Maryland.
For his senior season, Braswell could not escape the inconsistencies that followed him throughout his career. He shot above 50 percent in just one Big East game, and finished with only a 37% mark in conference play. One game in particular crystallized the Jeckyll and Hyde nature of his shooting, another multi-overtime thriller.
On Feb. 9, 2002, Georgetown waged a four overtime war with Notre Dame at MCI Center. While Mike Sweetney had a career 35 point, 20 rebound day, Braswell struggled throughout, shooting 5 for 19 and missing all four three point attempts, part of a four game run where Braswell missed 15 of 17 three point attempts. In each of the first three overtimes, Esherick turned to Braswell to take the winning shot, but Braswell failed three times to do so. A weary Georgetown team lost the game in the fourth overtime, 115-111. The loss marked a Rubicon of sorts for the Craig Esherick era: over the previous 100 games, his teams were 64-36, but following this game, the Hoyas would finish only 37-32 in Esherick's final two and a half seasons.
Braswell finished his career with stronger efforts down the stretch, including a record 16 assist game against Rutgers in the home finale and nine straight double figure games to end the season. Following graduation, he saw a brief stop in the Washington Wizards' pre-season camp before beginning a pro career in Europe, averaging 17.6 per game in three different countries over three seasons. In 2005, he joined the NBA developmental league and was signed by the Miami Heat in the pre-season on Oct. 3, 2005, only to waived nine days later. The 2006 season was spent in the Dominican Republic, where Braswell scored 24 points in the league championship.
Kevin Braswell finished his Georgetown years seventh all time in scoring. His 1,569 field goal attempts are more than all but two players in school history (Eric Floyd, Reggie Williams), although each shot 49 percent or better from the field compared to just 36 percent for Braswwell. His all time record of 189 threes reflect over 600 attempts, but only a 31.1% average from behind the arc.
For all the doubts about Braswell's scoring prowess, his records in assists and steals are solid. The team leader in assists and steals for each of his four years, his career marks are not only tops in each, but his averages are among the top three as well. A career 76% free throw shooter, Braswell also ranks among the top 15 in school history for free throw accuracy.
Much like a point guard from a decade earlier --Joey Brown-- Kevin Braswell's place among the all-time greats is tempered by the times in which he played. Despite the peaks and valleys, his contributions to Hoya basketball rank among a select group of guards in the modern era at Georgetown.