By Craig Harris
Corey Brewer has a vivid memory.
He understandably recalls a lot of the details of his 51-point game three months ago.
However, he also remembers another 51-point outing, which came in a win over Harpeth early on in his senior season at Portland High School.
“We were playing against Shane Dansby (a 6-foot-4 small forward who went on to play at Belmont University),” Brewer said of the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA) Hall of Champions contest. “I played AAU (Amateur Athletic Union Basketball) with him (for the Tennessee Travelers).
“I get on him every time I see him about that.”
Other than in AAU games, that was Brewer’s only 50-point performance … until the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves played on April 11.
“I felt good before the game,” Brewer said. “We had a couple guys (the team’s top three scorers – all-star power forward Kevin Love, shooting guard Kevin Martin and center Nikola Pekovic) out, so I knew I was going to get more shots. I made my first four or five shots, and I was like, ‘wow.’
“I was joking around in the locker room before the game that, ‘I’m going to get 30 tonight.’ I guess 30 went to 50.”
Brewer entered the contest averaging 11.7 points per game. His previous career high was 29 points.
However, he erupted for 26 points in the first quarter in the 112-110 victory over visiting Houston.
He became just the fourth player to ever score 50 points and to have six steals as well, joining Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Rick Barry.
Brewer also set career-highs in made field goals (19), field goals attempted (30) and free throws attempted (15).
There were only six 50-point games during the 2013-14 season, with Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (the NBA Most Valuable Player last season) producing two of those.
“You become a little more relevant,” Brewer said of the impact. “When you score 50 in an NBA (National Basketball Association) game, everybody knows about it. It’s tough to score 50 in any game, much less an NBA game. It was special to actually do it.”
Brewer averaged 12.3 points per game last year, his first season since he returned to Minnesota (after spending his first four seasons there before stops in Denver and Dallas). That was his best point production since his third season in the NBA, and his field-goal percentage of 48 percent was the best of his career. He also made a career-best 91 3-pointers in 2013-14.
However, the Timberwolves produced just a 40-42 record and missed the playoffs.
“It was a good year for me personally,” Brewer said. “I wish the team could have made the playoffs, but we’re going to be alright for years to come.
“I’m more comfortable in an NBA game now. I know what I can do. I know what I can’t do. I’m a veteran, but I’m only 28. I’m still young. I have more years to get better.”
It’s that desire to improve that continues to drive Brewer as he enters his eighth season in the NBA.
“I’m focused on shooting,” Brewer said. “It’s a lot of catch and shoot. I’m working off coming off screens and shooting too. I’ve proven I can get to the rim. If I can knock down spot-up threes and jump shots, it’s going to make my game that much better.
“I know I can get better. I know I haven’t reached my basketball peak. When I know I can’t get better, it might be time to think about doing something else. I still love it. I love basketball. When you wake up every day and the passion is still there … I can go out and play all day and not get tired.”
He was in the Portland High gymnasium all day on Saturday as he held his sixth annual Corey Brewer Youth Basketball Camp, a free event.
Approximately 200 campers from age 7-17 were split into two sessions, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
“When I first started (the camp), I just wanted to come home and bring basketball back to Portland,” Brewer said. “Now, I want kids to come back and want to play basketball. I want them to want to play. I want to keep kids interested.”
He’s watched some of the repeat campers grow up through the years of his July event.
“A little girl was eight or nine (the first year that the camp was held), and now she’s going into high school,” Brewer said. “I was like, ‘wow, my age is telling on me.’”
Brewer will hold multiple camps in Florida later this month.
“It’s fun just being here,” Brewer said. “I love all my camps, but I really love this camp. I know everybody here or know their parents, and it’s Portland.
“I love being from Portland. Some people may just say it, but I really mean it.”
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