Sixty players heard their name called during Thursday night's NBA Draft. Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown was not one of them.
That doesn't mean nobody was thinking about the swingman that night, though. In fact, Celtics president Danny Ainge was extremely close to choosing him over E'Twaun Moore in the draft.
But according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ainge's interest in Brown has not dwindled, and the two sides are in talks to sign him to a free-agent deal once a new CBA is in place and teams can resume normal basketball operations.
"He really encouraged me," Brown told Fittipaldo. "He told me I could be the Wesley Matthews of this draft. Of all the teams I worked out for, Danny was the most excited to have me in. He really feels like I can make their team and contribute the first year. He was really confident in my ability. He felt like I stood out in my workout."
Brown, standing at 6-foot-6, 215-pounds, is a fifth-year senior who, prior to his senior season, had his career sidetracked by injuries and an academic suspension that held him out of the first 11 games of the 2009-10 season and the starting lineup for the entire season.
But the last year of his was by far his best, as Brown moved back into the starting lineup and took a leadership role with the team. The inconsistencies of his play from prior seasons were few and far between, and Brown ended up averaging 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and shot 41.3 percent from 3-point territory -- all career highs.
That impressive play translated over to NBA workouts, where Brown felt he really played above and beyond many people's expectations.
"Hands down, I was the best player at every workout I had," Brown told Fittipaldo. "The one workout in Phoenix had Jordan Hamilton (selected 26th by the Mavericks) and Klay Thompson (selected 11th by the Warriors). I hit all of my shots, and no one could score on me. It was one of the best displays of my ability. A lot of people only had me as a defender and an athlete coming into the draft, but at these workouts I was able to show that I could do a lot more than what I did at Pitt. I showed I was able to score the basketball, and I was able to show them that I was an even better defender than what I showed in college."
Brown was considered as one of the most effective defenders in college, and displayed a team-first mentality on the offensive end as well. If Ainge can get Brown to buy into the defensive stopper role once held by Tony Allen, then the C's could really end up with a free agent steal.
For more on Brown, visit his Player Biography page on the Pittsburgh Panthers website.