June 22, 2016

Beckman breaking through

Kevin McCarthy

Which elements are most often the separators, especially for high school backcourters, vis-a-vis the level they will play in college hoops? It's size and quickness. The level and makeup of a skill set certainly remains critical components but, given that, being large enough as well as speedy dictates a prospect's recruiting alignment. Within these parameters call Brandon Beckman of St. Ignatius College Preparatory (SICP) and the North Bay Basketball Academy intriguing.

photo of Brandon Beckman

The 6-foot-1 guard, a member of the West Catholic Athletic League honorable mention collective for his production this past season, is typically lauded in writeups for his shooting, passing, motor and smarts after participating in various Bay Area basketball events.

How does Beckman assess his game? "I think my best skill is my basketball IQ." And to what does he attribute that? "For me, it's learning from players and coaches who have had past success."

Doug Donnellan, the former Drake High basketball coach of 26 years and Beckman's travel team coach, knows a thing or two about the hoops game and offered this assessment. "Brandon has a very advanced skill set for someone his age, seeing the court, getting to the basket, ball handling, passing and he's really good at making tough shots. He's also a good off-the-ball defender as his awareness and anticipation skills are excellent. Overall, he doesn't have a weakness."

Physical size and quickness were noted as areas recruiters will be continuing to assess. "Brandon has to grow and get stronger and he'll be facing some lightning quick guards so he has to show he can pressure the ball." At 15 years old, Beckman is young for the class of 2018 so he will continue to get bigger and stronger.

Beckman cited three individuals as being influential in his basketball progress. "my trainer Mike Turner (who played at Marin Catholic High and then University of Hartford), definitely Coach Donnellan who has helped me on and off the court, and my sister." Beckman's sister Brianna preceded him into competitive basketball and played earlier at St. Ignatius. In fact, Beckman's father graduated from SICP as well as coached football there at one point. The family lives in Marin County so it has been a Monday - Friday hourly commute into San Francisco and back. "It's a family tradition and a great education," Beckman noted. He has consistently been on SICP Principal’s Honor Roll with a 3.8 grade point average, working hard to balance his time between academics, commuting and basketball.

With a couple of important seniors having graduated, he's expecting to exert greater leadership with the Wildcats. "I tried this year and I think I was successful but I need to be more vocal."

That plus "keep getting into the gym working on my basketball IQ and my on-ball defense" are part of his development plan.

Beckman cited "winning by one over Sacred Heart" last season as a best moment. The Wildcats won 61-60 playing in the War Memorial Coliseum at USF with over 5,000 fans watching the rivalry match. It was for the Bruce-Mahoney trophy.