The Great B

Brandon, or better known as The Great B, was a tremendously gifted basketball player. His father and mother were both gifted athletes. His mother, Rachel, was an All-American sprinter at the University of Louisiana. During her time there, she finished her degree in Journalism. His father, Carl, was an All-American basketball at Louisiana State University, and later on played basketball for the New Orleans Jazz. He graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice.

Rachel later on became the Jazz’s beat reporter for The New Orleans Bee. As a result, she interviewed Carl, and other Jazz players, on an almost day-to-day basis. At first, it was just good interviews, with very good chemistry. Carl however, wanted it to be something more. He made his move, and the rest is history. Today, Carl is retired from basketball and Rachel is a sideline reporter for FOX. They have four children – Ken, Brandon, Michelle and Jennifer, and live in Carl’s hometown – Summerfield, Louisiana.

Once the kids grew up, it wasn’t a big surprise they would be involved with sports. Ken and Brandon were into basketball, Michelle was into swimming, and Jennifer was into gymnastics. It was important for Carl and Rachel that the kids would grow up to be normal kids, so they went to local schools.

Ken and Brandon have two school years between them. In Brandon’s freshman year at East high, his brother was a junior, starting for varsity team as the team’s Power Forward. Brandon played Shooting Guard, because he was kind of short, but he had a very good hand from the three point line.

Brandon tried off for varsity, but didn't make it, like most freshmen. He still took it very hard, he cried a lot. Nevertheless, he promised himself that he's going to work his butt in order to make it to team, and be their leading scorer. That year he didn’t make it, but he still led the junior varsity team to a state championship. His was the team’s most valuable player. The following year, he made the team, and in no time he was in the starting lineup alongside his brother.

At first, everything was going well. The team was rolling, they won the first could of games, and Brandon was a big reason why. When, suddenly, out of nowhere, Brandon got a letter from school that he's suspended from the team, indefinitely. In order to be on the team you need to keep a 2.6 GPA out of 4.0, Brandon's had a solid 2.0 average. The thing about Brandon is that he could practice for hours and hours for games, but it was very hard for him to sit and study. This wasn’t new for Brandon, but somehow he always seemed to get around. There were people that claimed he was lazy, that he didn't put in enough effort. Whereas others, truly believed that he put in the hard work, and just couldn’t get over the hump. Needless to say that everyone, from his coach and teammates to his teachers and his parents, were disappointed. The person that was most disappointed was his brother, because ever since they were kids, they dreamed of winning the state championship together and it didn't like he was going to happen.

Brandon tried to strap himself and hit the books as hard as he could. There was some improvement in his GPA, he got it up to a 2.3, but, it wasn't enough to get back on the team. If sitting down and studying was hard enough for him, it didn't help that a lot of his good friends also were failing in school, and dragged him along with them.

Brandon's parents could foresee the hole their son was digging himself into, so they decided to sit down with him, talk to him, and try to get him back on track. Their main message was that basketball was important, and they want him to grow up and be the best he can be. But, school is as important, if not more so. G-d forbid, a basketball player can get injured, and if they don't have an education – they might get stuck in life. With his GPA at the moment, it didn't look like he was getting into any colleges in the near future. It took a while, but if sucked in for Brandon, and he realized what was at stake. He wasn’t looking to make excuses, he knew he had to man up about his studies, but he told his parents it was hard from him to study at home, partly because of his friends. he came up with the idea of going to a boarding school. Not just any old boarding school, but to Oak Hill Academy. A number of current and former great NBA players have taken their talents to Oak Hill to get a great education on the one hand, and maximize their talent on the court on the other.

That year, his team didn't win the championship, and missing Brandon was a big reason why. Brandon was upset, but he used that frustration as fuel to succeed at Oak Hill. And did he ever. Not only at Oak Hill did he get his grade up to a 3.2 GPA, but he also led his team to be nationally ranked in both his Junior and Senior years. As a result of his hard work, he got a number of scholarships to different schools, but he decided to go to LSU like his dad.

Today, Brandon is in the midst of the college basketball March Madness. This is one of the most anticipated tournaments in the US. Brandon is also beginning his degree in Business Management. It safe to say, that Brandon has learned how to uses the drive that led to his success on the court, into the classroom


The End

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