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Ronnie and Ron Brewer: Father and son, but different on the basketball court

While Ronnie is a defensive stopper who just joined the OKC Thunder, Ron Brewer was one of Eddie Sutton's favorite players at Arkansas and an offensive force.
by Berry Tramel Published: February 26, 2013

“Tremendous,” Sutton said of that team. Brewer “and Moncrief and Delph, all of 'em could have averaged 30 points a game. They all averaged about 17 or 18. They were a great ballclub.”

Sutton said Brewer “was a money player. Quiz any of those guys, they'd tell you he was the best player on that team. Marvelous player at both ends of the floor.”

Sutton still tells the story of the NCAA's 1978 third-place game, when Arkansas played Notre Dame.

With 10 seconds left in a tie game, Sutton told Brewer to dribble upcourt and take the shot if it was available, but otherwise, Moncrief was on one wing and Delph on the other.

Brewer took his time initiating the play. Assistant coach Gene Keady was screaming at Brewer to shoot or cut bait, and finally, just before the buzzer, Brewer arched a shot that found nothing but net to give the Hogs victory.

“Ron,” Sutton asked him later, “did you know how much time there was?”

“Yeah,” said Brewer. “I wanted to be the hero.”

Said Sutton, “He was a money player if ever there was one.”


Ron Brewer was the seventh overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, by the Trail Blazers. He played eight years in the NBA and averaged 11.9 points a game. In November 1981, Brewer had back-to-back 40-point games.

Ronnie Brewer is known as more of a defensive specialist. He's averaged 8.4 points a game over his NBA career, and though he's had 22 games of at least 20 points, only three have come in the last four years.

“Our games are entirely different,” Ron Brewer said of comparisons with his son. “His strength, forte, is defense. He needs to be looking more aggressive offensively, I think.”

But Ronnie Brewer comes by his defense honest. Sutton says Tony Allen probably is the best defender he ever coached, but “Brewer would be a close second.” Stout praise, considering how great of defenders were Robertson and Darrell Walker.

“Ron could take the game away from whoever he covered,” Sutton said.

Ron Brewer never found great team success in the NBA. He made the playoffs twice with Portland and once each with San Antonio and New Jersey but never won a series.

Ronnie has trumped his dad in that category. Ronnie played on Jazz teams that won playoff series in 2007 and 2008, plus he was a defensive stopper on the Bulls team that made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011.

And now Ronnie has landed with the defending West champ Thunder, which has designs on another trip to the NBA Finals.

“Ain't no doubt about it, I'm excited because he's excited,” Ron Brewer said. “He felt it was a great move at this time, compared to where he was (the Knickerbockers). He couldn't ask for a greater situation, to be part of a championship contender. It's really special.”

Help the Thunder win a championship, and even Eddie Sutton might reconsider his Brewer vote.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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