Originally posted by Sean Allen on www.BrantNews.com
Brandon John’s father, Leon, may deserve credit for the understatement of the year.
“He is big for his age,” Leon said. “And he is still growing.”
At 14, the Brantford basketball player towers above most kids going into Grade 9 this fall. In fact, at 6’7″, he towers over almost everybody.
“I’ve been playing basketball for just three years now,” Brandon said. “Two years of rep and one year of house league in Brantford.”
The Fairview School student just finished Grade 8 and will be attending North Park Collegiate for his first year of high school in the fall.
After getting into basketball in Brantford, he was quickly recruited for the CIA Bounce Basketball program in Brampton.
The elite academy is a gathering place for the top basketball stars in Ontario. One recent graduate is Andrew Wiggins, the University of Kansas forward who is anticipated to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Johns travel two to three times a week for practice with Brandon’s under-13 teammates.
“I’m used to it now,” Brandon said. “It just takes a lot of gas money. That’s the worst part.”
But the investment in his future is an easy one to make. Brandon is already training at Canada Basketball development camps once a month in Orangeville and is eyeing up a roster spot on the national under-16 team, the youngest team that the national organization operates.
He is already taller than all but three of the current players on the roster, though he doesn’t think he is quite ready to be on the team.
“I still have a lot of work to do,” Brandon said. “They have two years on me and I’ve only played basketball for a couple of years now.”
His CIA Bounce team doesn’t play in the Ontario Basketball Association. Instead, the club travels through the U.S. for Amateur Athletic Union tournaments.
But even that isn’t enough competition.
“We actually play up an age level at under-14 because we were beating every team our own age,” Brandon said.
This past week, Brandon did not look out of place against other top high school and university talent when he participated as a camp counsellor at the 17th annual Brantford Basketball Camp at North Park Collegiate.
Playing in an all-star game featuring counsellors at the camp, Brandon threw home a couple of slam dunks.
Brandon said he will continue attending the CIA Bounce program and trying to make waves in the national program, in addition to looking for a roster spot with the senior NPC Trojans team in the fall.