Slowly but surely, Steve Lavin's NCAA Tournament team at St. John's is bringing the red and white to different corners of society. You can now add Mexico to the list of places inhabited by former Johnnies; as versatile swingman Justin Brownlee is headed there after signing with Nuevo Laredo, a club tucked just inside the Mexican border and just a stone's throw away from Texas.
"I am excited to go and hoping it will be a great experience for me," stated Brownlee in a press release issued this afternoon by Red Storm sports information director and senior associate athletic director for communications Mark Fratto. "My ultimate goal is to play in the NBA, and hopefully I can accomplish that." Los Toros de Nuevo Laredo, the team for which Brownlee will suit up for after taking his talents south of the border, enters the 2011-12 season as the reigning champions of the 16-member Mexican National Professional Basketball League; and Brownlee's former coach has no doubt that he will go on to enjoy a stellar career.
"Justin's versatility was central to our success at both ends of the floor," said Steve Lavin when informed of Brownlee's signing. "For a frontline player his size, Justin possesses a rare combination of shot making and playmaking. He is a nightmare matchup for opposing teams because of his diverse skill set and keen intuitive sense for the game."
Brownlee is the fourth Red Storm player off last year's team to move to the next level, joining Paris Horne, Dwight Hardy and Justin Burrell in the professional ranks. Brownlee is also the sixth player from the three local Big East schools to sign overseas, along with Rutgers' Jonathan Mitchell and Jeff Robinson of Seton Hall, who became the first Pirate from Kevin Willard's senior class to sign professionally when he agreed to terms with a team in Austria.