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September 23, 2013

Former Buff talks past, future

Nearly every basketball program has a collection of defining moments. Some signal the program's rise to dominance, fall from grace or its arrival on the national scene at all.

For Colorado, one of its finest such moments was when head coach Tad Boyle and his group won four games in four days at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, en route to winning the Pac-12 Tournament championship and earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

All 15 members of the Buffs' roster were instrumental in that feat, no doubt. However, perhaps none were more important in the final win over Arizona than Carlon Brown, the tournament Most Outstanding Player. BuffStampede.com decided to check in with Brown as we near basketball season to think back to those final games of his career, and see what he's been up to since.

William Whelan: When you look back on your time at CU, is there a moment that stands out more than the rest? If so, why?

Carlon Brown: Obviously looking back on my time at CU, my favorite moment would be winning the PAC-12 championship in LA. It was one of those moments that people will never stop talking about and I'm so glad to be apart of it. Everyone knows how we finished the year, how we had our ups and downs throughout conference play, and how we seemingly could never win big games on the road. For us to put all that aside, and for everyone to play each game as if it was their last, was simply unbelievable. I have watched the Road to Staples like 20 times. It's that unforgettable.


William Whelan: How did the final six games of your college career change your life? You win the Pac-12 Tournament MOP, then play two NCAA Tournament games. What was that like for you?

Carlon Brown: The final six games of my career gave me a great deal of confidence. I had been struggling to find my shooting/scoring touch during most of the conference season. When we went to Eugene and Corvallis the week prior to the tournament I had played well but still wasn't sure how it would translate for the tournament. But I told my teammates I was going to give it my all, and I quote, "I WANT THIS ****."

After those six games I felt as if all my hard work had paid off and that my decision to transfer was not for nothing. I mean I felt good about transferring anyway, but winning the championship, and beating my old school three times was like icing on the cake. I can always refer to those six games as a turning point in my career, and they still give me a confidence boost today whenever I need one.


William Whelan: What have you been up to since graduating? Talk a little about your D-League experience and now going overseas.

Carlon Brown: Since graduation, I have still been chasing my dream to play in the NBA. I had a pretty good summer league debut a year ago with the Charlotte Bobcats. Then I was invited to veterans camp with the Warriors where I learned a lot there. Then, as you said, played in the D-league. The D-league was a very humbling experience, as I went through the rigors of being traded, injured, and always adjusting. In the end, I ended up playing really well for my team, and my confidence continued to grow. I made the all rookie 3rd team in the D-league and it earned me much respect around the basketball community amongst my peers and colleagues.


William Whelan: What is life like overseas as a professional basketball player?

Carlon Brown: The life overseas has been good. As you would expect, it has been an adjustment and has added to the humbling process. It also has me grateful for the country we live in and how we operate. With all that being said, Tel Aviv is beautiful and not to far off from the likes of Miami, LA, and New York. You have a lot of cabs, no parking, and people on bikes and scooters like NY. Really bad traffic like LA, and the weather is like Miami.

But nothing is better than being a professional at what you love to do. Basketball concepts and theories are different from the likes of college and the D-league. Guys really spend a lot of time on skill work here, more than being simply a superior athlete. It has really been cool to see and be apart of and I'm learning so much.


William Whelan: Any insights on the momentum that CU has going forward in the Pac-12? Any plans to make it back for a game soon?

Carlon Brown: I'm very excited about the teams prospectus this year. As any CU fan, I'm anxious to see how the freshmen are going to perform/contribute during the year and obviously all eyes are going to be on Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker. I want to see their leadership increase dramatically along with their individual games. The better leaders they can be, the further the team will go. They have one of the toughest schedules I have ever seen, but if they stay away from injuries they will be a really hard team to beat. Watch out for Xavier Johnson though, I feel like he may have a breakout season with all the defense focused on Spencer and Ski. Wesley Gordon will help sure up the interior as well.

I don't want to make any predictions because I know the PAC-12 has only been getting better since I left, but I expect them to finish in the top 3-4 with the likes of U of A, UCLA, and Oregon. I would love to come back to a game like I did last year at home vs. CAL. If my schedule permits, I would love to make a guest appearance.

Note: BuffStampede.com would like to thank Brown for taking the time to talk, as well as wish him congratulations on his recent wedding


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