OSU men's basketball: Brandt excels while learning the game

2012-01-05T05:00:00Z 2012-01-05T10:29:00Z OSU men's basketball: Brandt excels while learning the gameBy KEVIN HAMPTON, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

By the time the ball had bounced away from the basket, Angus Brandt was on the move.

Brandt barrelled down the lane in Washington's Alaska Airlines Arena last Thursday, snagged the rebound and crammed it through the hoop.

The dunk wasn't particularly spectacular. Certainly nothing that was going to be seen on ESPN.

It was, however, a decisive, aggressive play by Brandt.

Brandt has been playing with new-found authority this season.

"I just think my confidence level is so much higher than it has been in the past," he said.

Brandt is averaging 9.6 points and 2.9 rebounds a game.

He leads the Pacific-12 Conference in field goal percentage at .634 (52-82) and has made 10 of 22 3-point tries.

There's no doubt he possesses star-level skills.

At 6-foot-10, 242-pounds, Brandt has developed an array of hooks inside, a deadly mid-range jumper, and, if you don't get out on him, he can hit the 3.

He can run the court and has decent athleticism.

So what's been holding him back?

Well, a late start in basketball as a youth in Sydney, Australia. Brandt is still in the learning process.

That was accelerated this summer when he played for Australia in the World University Games in China.

He faced a few NBA players and several European pros.

"Obviously, those guys are going to have their game at another level, so just playing against them really stepped my game up," Brandt said. "Just knowing that I played against them and held my own really is what gave me some confidence."

The national team also ran a man-to-man defense, so Brandt got a jump on getting ready for the college season.

The difference was immediately noticeable to his coaches and teammates.

"I saw a lot of confidence rise in the way he plays," OSU assistant David Grace said. "He's also an awfully skilled player, but he came back with a type of swagger where he felt comfortable for the first time since he's been here."

Coach Craig Robinson said Brandt is now dictating what happens in his area of the court rather than reacting to it, which was his tendency in his first two seasons at OSU.

"He's more proactive in his execution of everything," Robinson said. "So instead of waiting to see what's happening and then reacting to it, he's doing what he thinks we need to do to win the game. That sounds very subtle but it's important and it has everything to do with his own personal confidence."

Brandt has put in hour after hour to develop his shooting touch and other aspects of offense, such as moving without the ball.

Grace has been working with Brandt to hone his game.

Rebounding can get better.

Brandt's got the brawn - he's one of the stronger players on the team - so it's a matter of developing the skill.

"We're really working hard on his rebounding," Grace said. "He still is lacking in that area and again, that's just understanding the game. With experience will come better rebounding from him."

At the Division I level, Brandt already has the ingredients that make up a matchup nightmare for defenses.

His size and shooting range sets him apart.

"He can be awfully good," Grace said. "There's not too many 6-10 guys that can shoot the ball and he's got a great NBA body already, so he can become a very, very good player. He'll make money overseas and he'll have a chance to play in the NBA."

OSU Men's Basketball

TODAY: California at Oregon State, 7 p.m.

RECORDS: California 12-3, 2-0 Pac-12; Oregon State 10-4, 0-2


ONLINE: Read more about the Beavers on Kevin Hampton’s blog at kevinhampton.mvourtown.com and twitter.com/HamptonKevin

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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