April 20, 2011

Glapion has blossomed

Kevin McCarthy

The package. For basketball recruiters, that means a prospect sporting prodigious talent alongside top of the chart physical skills. Rarely, if ever, do academics enter the definition, let alone the will and effort to get and perform better. That's why the number of flameouts exist in both national prep rankings and early NBA draft selections -- heart, determination and attitude are too often overlooked in lieu of eye-opening raw material.

Washington High's Brenden Glapion has never drawn the attention of the power elite in college hoops but, through his exemplified values, he has sculpted the odds in his favor for enjoying a successful collegiate tenure as well as a fruitful life afterwards in the real world.

photo of Brenden Glapion

The 6-foot-3 Glapion plays in the Academic Athletic Association in San Francisco. He and his team went 25-10, 14-2 this past season and his performance garnered him Player of the Year honors, earned in part by his 23 points per game scoring average. But his game doesn't rest on volume shooting attempts. In a game that decided the league crown against Mission High on December 4, Glapion went 14-17 at the foul line in a 75-72 victory. Two days before, he made 14-15 free throw attempts in a win over Lowell.

The outcome of that title match turned out to be his best basketball moment. "We won the city championship but it was a great game because we really played together well and clicked as a team," Glapion explained. Duly note the sentiment ultimately feeding his satisfaction. The Eagles had lost 77-66 two weeks earlier to Mission.

He notes his best basketball skill as "probably scoring but I like to dribble and then pull up." For Glapion, it's a matter of always working to add to his skills set, such as the element above in an era when it's long distance shooting and/or taking it to the rack, with a void for displaying any in-between game. This is another setting apart difference for the young man.

Glapion also offered the following as part of his skills set: "having a high basketball IQ, making the right plays at the right time and staying poised and composed."

He sees dramatic growth in his basketball evolution. "As a freshman to a senior, I've grown in every aspect -- physically, shooting, defending, being more focused and playing every game like it is your last one." The latter will bring a smile to even the most discerning of coaches.

The backcourter also sees himself as playing different roles, depending on the time of the year. "With Washington, I carry more of a scoring and leadership role but in club team ball I'm usually one of the main scorers but don't have to get 20 a night for us to win."

Two summers ago, it was the Bay Area Warriors and the San Francisco Rebels from sixth to eighth grade for Glapion in spring and summer hoops. He played for Coach Todd Petersen and the Silicon Valley Vipers last year.

Here's Petersen on Glapion: "Brenden was a combo guard for us, primarily a two and our backup at the point plus probably our leading scorer. He has a scorer's mentality, an effective mid-range game and finishes well for his size. He'll get by his opponent and the next thing you know the ball is in the basket. Brenden is as coachable as they come and he does what it takes to get better. I also worked individually with him last year and he's gotten bigger and stronger and his ballhandling has gotten better. I see him as a late bloomer, a smooth, understated player."

Jolinko Lassiter coaches the Washington High squad. He's a 2002 alumnus and worked with the Eagles' girls team for three seasons before switching over to the boys in 2008. Having enjoyed Glapion at his disposal of late, Lassiter describes his senior as "a high IQ player, not flashy but someone who has worked hard on his game. Brenden is a great student with a high grade point average and he is a great teammate on and off the court."

Glapion says his grade point average is 4.1.

As for what the future portends, Glapion again distances himself from others with what he is considering as majors in college: "Political science and history are my favorites," he explained, adding that he is thinking about a future as a lawyer.

But first comes choosing a school and he has four colleges currently under consideration and is certainly open to others joining in: Occidental (Los Angeles), UC Santa Cruz, Dominican University (San Rafael) and Academy of Art University (San Francisco).

"I will decide in a week and a half to two weeks after sitting down with my family and talking about the pros and cons," Glapion explained.

So some lucky school and coach will be receiving a student-athlete who possesses what constitutes the bonafide package for succeeding short and long term on and off the court.