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Tookie Brown withdraws from NBA draft, returns to Georgia Southern

The record book is there for the taking for the Eagles’ senior.

AJ Henderson/Georgia Southern Athletics

Georgia Southern’s Tookie Brown has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return for his senior year, the school announced on Saturday.

The move puts one of the Sun Belt’s top players back into the mix in 2018-19. The first team all-league guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game last season, helping lead the Eagles to a 21-win season.

Mark Byington talked about the decision in a release.

“Obviously, we’re ecstatic that he’ll be back this season and thrilled that he will earn his degree next May. He has the opportunity to be one of the best basketball players to ever play here and has a chance to compete for a championship while continuing to develop his game. I truly believe he will be in the NBA after his senior season.”

Brown returns with as much experience as any player in the country. He’s been a fixture in Byington’s rotation since the beginning, starting 88 games over his three years and never averaging less than 30.8 minutes per game in a season. Last year his scoring efficiency made a big leap, as he focused more on attacking the basket and had the best three-point (47.1% on 104 attempts) and two-point (55.8% on 251 attempts) shooting figures of his career.

Due to that history, he’s got a chance to make a dent in the Georgia Southern record books.

Barring something drastic, he’ll almost certainly end up as the second-leading career scorer in program history (trailing only Chester Webb’s 2,542 career points). He’ll also likely end up in the top-three in career assists and steals, making him easily one of the most accomplished players in Eagles history — if that isn’t the case already.

Brown will be rejoining another three-year mainstay in guard Ike Smith (12.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG), who’s coming off an injury-riddled down year. The pair, along with returning starter Montae Glenn, have been a part of a group that has looked like a major Sun Belt contender at times over the past few years.

There was a 7-0 start to league play in 2016-17, as well as a 5-1 league start this past season. But both of those years ended in 11-7 finishes to Sun Belt play, and the Eagles have not been able to go on a run in the league tournament to make their first NCAA Tournament since 1992.

With Brown back in the fold, Georgia Southern should, if nothing else, be in the mix yet again.