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The dynamics of college basketball at all levels have changed dramatically in the past decade. Players move regularly and easily from school to school, looking for the next bit of slightly greener grass; and there is not much hard-working coaches and schools can do about it. Their path is fraught with peril.

Bring a player along too slowly and he will leave for a situation where he can play/shoot/start more often. But, bring them along too quickly, develop them too well – and this is especially true for programs at Division II schools like FMU — and bigger schools will come calling. They can’t recruit a player, per se, until he puts his name on the NCAA’s official transfer list (which numbers each year in the thousands) but word gets around. Pssst. If your name is on that list. …

After he averaged 20.1 points a game for FMU in 2015-16, officially his sophomore season, word got around to Browning. There were schools out there – Division I schools – who were interested. And Browning knew the drill. Friends, foes, even some of his teammates, had gone that route.

“Man, after all (FMU) has done for me … I mean, they were there for me when no one else was,” says Browning. “And the people here have always been great. This is where I belong. I wasn’t going anywhere. I guess maybe coach was worried, but I wasn’t leaving. “

“Detrek’s done a lot of neat things here, made a lot of big plays, and he’ll always be one of my favorites,” says Edwards, “but if you ask me what I’ll remember most that’s it. It’s that loyalty that Detrek showed. That’s a rare quality. It’s better than all those points he scored.” Things happen

He wasn’t exactly a secret coming out of Irmo (S.C.) High School, just north of Columbia. Irmo, led by legendary coach Tim Whipple, is one of the premier high school basketball programs in South Carolina and Detrek Browning did nothing during his time with the Yellowjackets to lessen that.

Browning may not have been — may being the key word — the best player on a team that also included University of South Carolina recruit Justin McKie. But he wasn’t a secret. He was receiving significant recruiting attention by his junior year and had a number of Division I programs giving him long looks.

“Oh, there’s no doubt that the could play at that level,” says Whipple. “But you know, coaches look at things … it’s tough. He (Browning) was a little small maybe, kind of got in that inbetween thing position wise. Was he a point guard or a shooting guard? He didn’t play much point for us until his senior year. But maybe he’s a little small for a D-I shooting guard, maybe he’s not that fast … So …”

Though a polished player for a freshman, Browning arrived on the FMU campus to find Evrik Gary — the number three scorer in school history — already ensconced in the point guard role. Edwards and the Patriot staff persuaded Browning that the thing to do was sit out — redshirt is the term — his freshman season, just as Gary had done.

“You’re really on your own a lot of times and have to stay focused to keep working on things, getting better, on your own,” says Browning. “That’s a good thing. There’s a lot to get used to moving from high school to college. It helped with basketball, with school, with everything. I tell everyone now ‘Redshirt. That’s the way to do it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.’ But it’s not easy. I’ll have to say there were a few nights where a few tears were shed. “ Conserving energy

“Most definitely,” says Browning. “I actually have two dunks in games (at FMU). I guess there could have been more — fans would like it — but it’s not something I was ever that excited about. A bucket is a bucket. I’d rather conserve my energy.”

Good at energy conservation. Now there’s a line that doesn’t show up on many scouting reports. But that aspect of Detrek Browning, basketball player, says about as much about his game as any. He glides around the court, under control, moving from place to place — moving from the right place to the right place — with a studied nonchalance that lulls opponents, fans and even his own coach into a state of disinterest.

The awards and honors are piling up fast in Browning’s final season. He’s been the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week four times (through January), set the FMU single game scoring mark (41 points) in early January and is clearly poised to post-season accolades as well.

It’s all well-deserved, but still surprising all the same for Browning seldom looks like the best athlete on the floor. The 6-0, 180-pounder is a little stocky as basketball players go, and doesn’t have the chiseled musculature of some. His two dunks aside, he is not a great leaper, and he’s probably not the fastest guy around either, although as dozens of oft-burned Peach Belt Conference foes would attest, he is plenty fast enough.

“My uncle (Milton Kershaw) who played football in college and is just crazy fast, taught me early on that speed kills,” says Browning. “It’s the most important part of most sports. But it’s not necessarily who is fastest. It’s who can be fast when they need to be.”

Browning is a fine defender (he will finish his career among FMU’s all-time leader in steals, too), but what sets him apart are his offensive skills. In Browning’s mind — a good place to start for analyzing basketball — the key skill is shooting. He has simple mechanics and feel for the shot that came to him almost from the moment he took up the game — he hit a long buzzer beater to win the championship game in his first year of organized basketball at age 12.

Browning plans to follow in the footsteps of his former teammate Gary and play basketball professionally for as long as he can. Gary has been on an oddball world tour since he left FMU — Luxemburg, Bulgaria, Dubuque, Iowa and now, Cyprus — but he’s got a suitcase full of memorable experiences and … he’s still playing. The dream is still alive.