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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

People are forever trying to get Ronnie Brewer to compare himself to his dad. Just like his son, Ron Brewer grew up in northwest Arkansas, was a Razorback star and carved out a long NBA career.

But the newest Thunder player won't have such talk.

“He played way back when,” Ronnie Brewer said. “So I really don't know what his game was like.”

Uh, Ronnie, better not let Eddie Sutton join the debate. Ron Brewer was one of his greatest players.

Sidney Moncrief was a five-time NBA all-star and Alvin Robertson was a four-time NBA all-star. You know all about Desmond Mason and Tony Allen.

But it's hard to imagine Sutton gushing about any player more than Ron Brewer.

“I've been blessed with so many wonderful guards,” Sutton said. “Brewer would be near the top on both ends of the floor.

“I hate to tell his son, but the son's not quite as good as his father was. He might not like to see that in the newspaper.”


Sutton means no disrespect to Ronnie, who debuts for the Thunder on Wednesday night against the Hornets.

Sutton loves Ronnie, too. Sutton is a Thunder fan and says Ronnie will help Scotty Brooks' team. Sutton tried to recruit Brewer to OSU, out of Fayetteville High School, from where he graduated in 2003. “Had too much Razorback in him,” Sutton said.

Brewer went to the same Fayetteville junior high and high school that Sean Sutton attended when his dad was coaching the Razorbacks.

Ron Brewer remains a Sutton loyalist, so it was natural that many thought Ronnie would become a Cowboy. He says it was “real close. Stillwater's a great place. Had a great tradition for basketball. At the time I was coming out, they really had it going. I took a serious look at 'em.”

But Ron Brewer said that in reality, Kansas, OU and Connecticut drew his son as much as did OSU.

“I don't think it was as close as most people think,” Ron Brewer said. “It would have been a great fit. But that decision was Ronnie's. He didn't have the same rapport or feedback with Coach Sutton that I did. I would have loved for that to happen. It didn't. Looking back, I think Ronnie doesn't regret going to Arkansas. He's really grown as a player. The rest of it is history.”


Sutton can't be too disappointed. OSU made the Final Four during Ronnie Brewer's freshman season at Arkansas, a capstone to a glorious coaching career that was elevated in no small part by Ron Brewer.

When Sutton arrived in Fayetteville in 1974, the Hogs had won 33 games the previous four years. But Sutton recruited a couple of promising players — Jim Counce and Marvin Delph — which in turn helped him recruit Sidney Moncrief out of Little Rock and Brewer out of Westark Junior College in Fort Smith.

In Delph, Moncrief and Brewer, Sutton suddenly had his ideal players. All about 6-foot-4, quick and athletic, committed to defense and skilled on offense. Rarely has college basketball seen anything like the Triplets.

In 1977, Arkansas was 26-2 and was upset by Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament's second round, at OU's Lloyd Noble Center. The following season, the Razorbacks made the Final Four.

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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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