Wednesday, March 10, 1999
He did everything he could to ensure
the team's chemistry and success. Sometimes
he was too unselfish. But the one thing you
can say about Brandon is he took parts of
his game and shared them with
Punahou senior Brandon Brooks isBy Cindy Luis
the kind of player every coach loves to have:
One who thinks team first and makes
everyone around him even better
IT is called "roundball" for a reason.
The circle is the most perfect, complete form used in art. There are no corners to cut, no edges that protrude. It is just one continuous smooth line.
And so it is with the Star-Bulletin's choice for the 1999 Mr. Basketball Hawaii.
Punahou's Brandon Brooks was not the flashiest player on the court this season, nor did he put up the biggest numbers. He did not have the fluidity of Kalaheo's Julian Sensley or the pure shot of Kalani's Everett Frye, two contenders for this year's top award.
What Brooks had was the ability to do the little things in a big way and to do the big things in a huge way when it counted.
In the 51-47 overtime victory over Kalaheo in the state championship game last month, the 6-foot-7 senior forward finished with a team-high 16 points. But he also led the Buffanblu in steals (5), and blocked shots (2) and shared the team-high in assists (2).
In other words, it was a typical night for Brooks, who capped a four-year varsity career at Punahou with the state tournament MVP award.
"Being named Mr. Basketball is a great end to a really good career at Punahou," Buffanblu coach Alan Lum said. "He's gotten better every year ... and he was pretty good as a freshman. His sophomore year he played in the shadows of Scott Wong, but as a junior, he was pretty dominant. Obviously he had to be if he could make the all-state team without his team making the state tournament.
"Statistically, he's had better seasons than this one but some of that was because he put the team first. He did everything he could to ensure the team's chemistry and success. Sometimes he was too unselfish.
"But the one thing you can say about Brandon is he took parts of his game and shared them with his teammates. He made everyone better."
Scoring: 12.7 points per game.
Brooks by the numbers
Rebounds: 6.7 boards per game.
Steals: 3.0 per game.
Assists: 2.4 per game.
Blocks: 26 in 14 games, 6 in the state tournament.
In the clutch: Brooks, who averaged less than 24 minutes during the regular season, played the entire 36 minutes of the state title game. He upped his averages to 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in three state tourney games.
Along the way, Brooks has improved himself. The weakest part of his game was free-throw shooting; this season, he hit 66 percent from the line -- 82 percent (9 of 11) in the state tournament.
Brooks is headed to UCLA on a water polo scholarship. The top high school goalie in the country, he is considered to be U.S. national team- and Olympic-caliber.
Brooks is hoping to play two sports for the Bruins. He's already talked to UCLA coach Steve Lavin about walking on for basketball.
"It wouldn't surprise me if he plays both," said Lum. "He's got so much potential that he hasn't tapped into.
"He's just a great kid with a good heart. He's humble, can laugh at himself, and always provided a spark when we needed it. He was one freshman who was a legitimate impact player, one who always brought something else to the table.
"From being a surprise as a freshman to the player he is now, Brandon has come full circle."
Here's a look at the rest of the first team:
Cord Anderson (6-5 senior forward, Iolani): He repeats as a first-team selection despite missing the state tournament after he and twin Brad were ruled ineligible as fifth-year seniors.
Although he played sparingly in four games due to tendinitis, Cord led the Raiders in five statistical categories -- points (11.7 per game), rebounds (9.8 per game), blocks (1.8 per game), steals (2.7 per game) and assists (1.4 per game).
Considered the spiritual leader of the Raiders, he was named to five all-tournament teams prior to the states and had 15 double-doubles. He and Brad will likely end up at Santa Clara.
Kyle Bartholomew (6-4 senior center, Waiakea): The Warriors' undersized big man finished an outstanding career with his second BIIF Player of the Year honor and his first all-state selection.
Bartholo-mew averaged 18 points and nine rebounds during the season as Waiakea won its second consecutive BIIF title. His top performances came against league rival Kohala: 15 points and 20 rebounds one night, 28 points and 14 rebounds on another.
In the state tournament, Bartholomew finished as the leading rebounder with 27 boards in three games.
The son of Vulcan All-American Jay "Bird" Bartholomew has signed with his father's alma mater Hawaii-Hilo.
Everett Frye (5-10 senior guard, Kalani): It took him a while, but everything came together for Frye his last year -- athletics and academics -- and a spot on the all-state team. He averaged 23 points, 5.3 steals, 5.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists a game for the Falcons, who were in the OIA championship game and state tournament for the first time.
An 85 percent free-throw shooter, Frye was also deadly from long range, finishing with 28 3-pointers. He appears headed for junior college in California but could end up back home for his last two seasons -- Hawaii, UH-Hilo, Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific have all shown interest.
Julian Sensley (6-8 junior forward, Kalaheo): The only underclassman on the team is back for his second consecutive first-team honor.
Sensley is considered the top Division I prospect to come out of Hawaii -- ever -- and is touted by national publications as one of the country's Top 25 juniors. He led the Mustangs in scoring (16.9 ppg), rebounding (11.8 rpg) and minutes played, and was second in 3-pointers (65) and assists (72).
Sensley has already attracted attention from some 80 colleges and is mulling over an offer to attend St. Thomas More, a prestigious prep school in Connecticut.
Zach Stephens (6-2 senior guard, Punahou): The "Basketball Jones" for the Buffanblu stepped it up considerably during the state tournament en route to his first all-state honor.
Stephens led the ILH in 3-pointers (27) and "blew open a lot of games for us," said Punahou coach Alan Lum.
The former Kansas Jayhawk ballboy was the co-MVP of the ILH and made the all-tournament team at the state championship, averaging 15.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.7 steals in three tournament games. Stephens hit three 3-pointers in the overtime win over Kalaheo in the state title game.
He is still looking at colleges but could wind up at UH-Hilo.
The following received honorable mention on the state team:
Sean Bersamin, Maui, Sr., forward; Chris Lagazo, Lahainaluna, Sr., foward/guard; Brad Lum-Tucker, Kauai, Jr., forward/guard; Dominic Milles, Kamehameha, Sr., forward; Lohi Pinho-McKeague, Kalani, Sr., guard; Ian Rabara, Konawaena, Jr., center; Kenneth Shim, Kohala, Sr., forward; Ross Silva, Farrington, Sr., guard; Lance Takaki, Mid-Pacific, Sr., guard; Jerome Williams, Waipahu, Sr., forward; Myron Yoshizumi, Waiakea, Sr., guard.
All-State Basketball Teams
First teamBrandon Brooks, Punahou , Sr., 6-7, F/C
Cord Anderson, Iolani , Sr., 6-5, F/G
Kyle Bartholomew, Waiakea, Sr., 6-4, C/F
Everett Frye, Kalani , Sr., 5-10, G,
Julian Sensley, Kalaheo , Jr., 6-8, F,
Zach Stephens, Punahou, Sr., 6-2, G/F
Mark Pacarro, coach, Kalani
Second teamRyan Hogue, Kalaheo, Sr., Center
Bryson Kamakura, Moanalua, Sr., Forward
Junior Wong, St. Louis, Jr., Guard
Matt Vivas, St. Louis, Sr., Center
Ikaika-Li Wood, Maui, Sr., Forward
Third teamBrad Anderson, Iolani, Sr., Forward/Guard
Nathaniel Donnell, Sr., Waianae, Guard
Levon Freeman, Sr., Kalaheo, Guard
Steve Gilliam, Sr., Punahou, Guard
Nick Hill, Kapaa, Sr., Guard