Nationals Draft Two UCF Outfielders

June 7, 2005

NEW YORK, N.Y. - UCF junior right fielder/third baseman John-Michael Howell and senior Dee Brown were selected by the Washington Nationals in the ninth and 10th rounds, respectively, in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft Tuesday. Howell was tabbed with the 264th pick by the Nationals as a right fielder while Brown was the 294th selection. The two players bring UCF's draft total to four, joining Mike Billek (Chicago Cubs, third round) and Drew Butera (New York Mets, fifth round).

For just the third time in school history, UCF has had four players picked in the first 10 rounds of the draft. The 1998 team and 1995 each had four players picked as well in the first 10 rounds, including current Major Leaguer Mike Maroth in the third round to Boston in 1998.

Howell and Brown were roommates on UCF's road trips in 2005. The two now have the chance to continue their careers as teammates on the professional level if Howell decides to forego his final season at UCF to join the Nationals organization.

"John-Michael came in this year and provided all of the offensive punch we needed from the left side," commented UCF head coach Jay Bergman. "He has overcome so much in his life and we are excited to see him have the opportunity for a professional baseball career."

"Dee holds most of UCF's offensive records and I am very proud and excited for him," added Bergman. "His power numbers really improved once he focused solely on baseball. It's hard to play both sports and for him to play both so well and also be an honor roll student, it just shows how complete of a person Dee is."

"I am ready to get back on the field," said Brown. "John-Michael and I were talking about it two weeks ago (getting drafted by the same team) and now it actually happened," added Brown. "It's great."

Howell made an immediate impact in his first season at UCF. After transferring from the University of Florida, Howell hit .348 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI in 59 games in 2005. Howell earned time at both third base and in right field for the Golden Knights. Howell led the team in batting average, hits (78), doubles (18), total bases (145) and slugging percentage (.647).

He teamed with Brown to form the top home run hitting duo in single-season history at UCF with 33 home runs.

John-Michael Howell was taken in the ninth round by the Washington Nationals in the MLB Draft.

Howell showed some of the best pure power in school history, including a 470-foot home run at Jay Bergman Field vs. LeMoyne.

Brown closed out his four-year career in style. After playing both football and baseball for his first three years in Orlando, Brown focused solely on baseball in 2005. A two-year starter at fullback on the football team, Brown leaves UCF as the school's all-time leader in RBI (229) and hits (298). He is also in the top 10 in school history in runs (182/T-3rd), doubles (43/10th), home runs (26/6th) and total bases (435/4th).

For just the third time in school history, UCF had four players picked in the first 10 rounds of the draft.

A three-time Atlantic Sun first team honoree, Brown hit .312 with a career-high 18 home runs and 71 RBI in 2005. He established a single-season home run record at UCF with the 18 jacks while also driving in the fourth-most runs in one season with 71.

Brown finished his career with a .344 average, including 26 home runs and 229 RBI.