Sept. 1, 2011
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's men's basketball alum Justin Brownlee will head to Mexico tomorrow as the fourth member of the Red Storm Class of 2011 to sign a professional contract. Brownlee inked a pro deal with the Toros de Nuevo Laredo in the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP), located just across the Mexican border from Laredo, Texas.
"Justin Brownlee's versatility was central to our success at both ends of the floor. For a front line player his size, Justin possesses a rare combination of playmaking and shotmaking," said Red Storm head coach Steve Lavin. "He is a matchup nightmare for opposing teams because of his diverse skill set and keen intuitive sense for the game. Our Johnnies' basketball family is pleased to know Justin will be continuing his playing career at the next level."
"I'm going to Mexico, right by the border. I am excited to go and hoping it will be a great experience for me. My ultimate goal is to play in the NBA and hopefully I can accomplish that," said Brownlee. "It was an honor for myself, and for my family to watch me play for St. John's. I had fun. It was a great experience overall, and I met a lot of great people. Thanks [to the fans] for all of the support, I really appreciate it. I am about to go to Mexico and try to represent for St. John's."
The Toros de Nuevo Laredo (English: New Laredo Bulls) is a professional basketball franchise in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The Toros are members of the Northern Division of the LNBP, and won their first league title in 2010-11. Nuevo Laredo plays its home games at the Ciudad Deportiva's Gimnasio Multidisciplinario Nuevo Laredo, a newly-designed sports complex.
The 6-7, 219-pound Brownlee was named the Most Outstanding Player of both the 2010 Great Alaska Shootout and Holiday Festival as a senior. He was in the starting lineup for 31 games in 2010-11 after making three starts in 2009-10. Brownlee's 12.3 ppg ranked 25th among all league players, and his .494 field goal percentage was 12th (60th nationally).
Fellow St. John's big man alum Justin Burrell signed a pro contract last week to play for the Yokohama B-Corsairs, located just outside of Tokyo, Japan. Dwight Hardy, a 2011 Associated Press All-American, a first team All-BIG EAST selection and the conference's Most Improved Player, signed a professional contract with Pistoia Basket in the Tuscany region of Italy, in late July. In mid-July, Paris Horne signed to play for BG Gottingen, a member of the German Bundesliga, the premier basketball association in that nation.
Brownlee's senior season marked the first year of The Lavin Era, which included a 21-12 overall record in 2010-11 - marking St. John's most wins since the 2002-03 season - with six Top 25 victories and four over Top 10 opponents. Brownlee's play and Lavin's leadership helped transform a team that finished in 13th place in the BIG EAST Conference last season at 6-12 to a squad that tied for third in 2010-11 at 12-6 - only twice before has a jump of such magnitude occurred in BIG EAST Conference history. The Red Storm finished its season ranked 18th in the Associated Press Top 25, marking the first time it qualified for the postseason as a ranked team since 2000-01. The Red Storm, which posted a 7-1 record in eight regular season games at Madison Square Garden (capacity: 19,353) and a 5-2 record on campus at Carnesecca Arena (capacity: 5,602) saw its home attendance climb by 38.1 percent, marking the fourth-largest increase in NCAA Division I men's basketball.
Fans can visit the new RedStormTix.com to download a season ticket order form, or request to be contacted. Packages start at $275 for the general public and $99 for St. John's students. To order season tickets by phone, call 1-888-GO-STORM (467-8676). Fans can join the Red White Club by visiting RedStormSports.com and clicking on the link to "Giving" to visit the all-new Red White website.