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14 Jeff Brassow

Jeff Brassow
Hometown (Last School)
Houston, TX (Alief-Elsik)
1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94
December 20, 1970

Jeff Brassow was born Jeffrey Arthur Brassow on December 20, 1970, in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Duane and Sandra Brassow.  Brassow was a guard for the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team from 1989 to 1994. He played a significant role on the team, despite missing a season due to a knee injury.

Brassow, a 6’6″ jumping jack, played high school basketball for Alief Elsik High School in Houston.  He was a deadly three-point shooter and honor roll student.  He earned a starting role midway through his sophomore year.  As a senior, he averaged 17 .5points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists and led his team to a 29-5 record and a berth in the Bi-District playoffs.  Brassow was named MVP of the Fort Worth Lion’s Tournament as Alief Elsik High defeated Fort Worth Dunbar in the championship game.  He scored 25 points in the Fort Worth tourney semifinal game as his team ended L.A. Crenshaw High’s 66-game winning streak.  He was named First-Team All-District and All-City his junior and senior campaigns.  Brassow ranked second on the all-time scoring list at Alief Elsik with 4,290 points.  His school had an 80-23 record during his three years.  All five Alief Elsik players averaged double figures his senior season.  For his career, he shot 54% from the field, 70% from the free throw line and 39% from three-point range.  Brassow scored a career-high 32 points vs. district rival Stratford High in 1989.

On October 13, 1988, Brassow made a verbal commitment to play basketball at Kentucky despite an NCAA investigation.  Brassow was the first player to commit to UK since the basketball program went under NCAA investigation six months prior.  Brassow said assistant coach Dwane Casey was one of the primary reasons he chose UK over Arizona, Baylor, SMU and New Mexico.  He signed a letter-of-intent with UK on November 9, 1988.  “I would love to be a favorite with the fans,” Brassow said. “Where I’m from in Texas, people don’t follow basketball like they do here.  This is a whole new experience for me.”

When Jeff Brassow signed with Kentucky in 1989, he was only the second player from Texas to ever join the Wildcats’ basketball program and the first in almost four decades since Bob Burrow was a two-time All-American for Adolph Rupp.

Brassow’s basketball career at Kentucky began with a bang, as he was a standout player from the moment he stepped onto the court.  He had an outstanding freshman season and averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 17.3 minutes per game.  His best game was at LSU, scoring 25 points while hitting seven three-pointers in the second half.  Brassow played in all 28 games while earning starts against Ohio and Georgia.  He scored double figures in seven contests.  And he got his wish:  Kentucky fans loved him.

As a sophomore at Kentucky, Brassow started 22 games, averaging 8.1 points and 3.2 rebounds.  He was one of the more frequent three-point shooters on the team,  and finished second in three-pointers made (46) and three-pointers attempted (147).  Brassow committed fewer turnovers (per minutes played) than anyone else on the team. He was named Player of the Game vs. Florida in Lexington with 15 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and one blocked shot.  On four occasions, he scored all of his points from behind the three-point line — 12 points vs. Pennsylvania, 12 points vs. Cincinnati, nine points vs. Notre Dame, and 18 points vs. Louisville (where he went 6-11 from three-point range with four steals and two rebounds).  Brassow was the winner of the “Mr. Hustle” award for the season.

Brassow was averaging 15 points a game two games into his junior season when he suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee in practice on December 3, 1991.  On December 5, 1991, he underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.  New York Knicks team doctor Norm Scott performed the surgery.  He took a medical red-shirt and missed the rest of the season.

After nearly a year of recovery, on December 2, 1992, Brassow returned to action bringing back that trademark enthusiasm off the bench as the Wildcats sixth man.  In the season opener against Wright State, he scored seven points in seven minutes during a 15-4 run that sparked Kentucky to an 81-65 win.  In the next game, he responded with 14 points and six rebounds in a 96-87 win over Georgia Tech.  He played 358 minutes in 31 games averaging 11.5 minutes per game.  He scored 125 points on the season for a 4.1 points per game average.

“Jeff is a player who understands his role very well,” UK assistant coach Billy Donovan said. “He won’t do anything crazy. He understands our motion offense, runs the floor and can hit the shot from the corner. Jeff will always be a vital part of this team because of his emotion and team play.”

On December 23, 1993, coach Rick Pitino presented Brassow the game ball for a flying tip-in at the buzzer that gave Kentucky a spine-tingling 93-92 victory over previously unbeaten Arizona in the Maui Invitational championship game.  Brassow came flying from the left side to tip in Rodrick Rhodes’ three-point heave.  He awkwardly reached back and miraculously guided the ricochet off the glass and into Kentucky basketball lore.  On February 15, 1994, Brassow hit four three-pointers that helped the Cats erase a 31-point deficit.

He played in 121 games over his four-year career, averaging 287 minutes played per game. His shooting skills were particularly noteworthy, with a career field goal percentage of 42.64 and a free throw percentage of 73.39. Brassow also contributed significantly to the team’s offense, averaging 137 points per season, with a total of 807 points over his career.

One of the most memorable aspects of Brassow’s career was his performance in the 1993-94 season. He was selected for the All-SEC Tournament team, showcasing his ability to perform under pressure and contribute to the team’s success in a major tournament setting.

Brassow’s contributions to the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team are a testament to his skills and resilience. His career at Kentucky won’t be remembered for the points he scored, the 3-pointers he launched or the number of floor burns he received diving after loose balls.  Brassow will be known as a player who wouldn’t give up on Kentucky basketball, whether it be NCAA sanctions or injuries that would cause those of a lesser heart to quit.  He remained true to his commitment to come to Kentucky in 1988, although the basketball program was being investigated by the NCAA and eventually levied a two-year ban from postseason play.  Despite facing adversity, he made a significant impact on the team and left a lasting legacy as a player who could consistently contribute to the team’s offensive efforts.

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