Brandon Cyrus comes up short of National High School Championship; Looks forward to next Chapter at DePaul

While DePaul recruit Brandon Cyrus and his La Lumiere team showed a lot of grit and determination in fighting back in its championship game against Oak Hill Academy on Saturday in Dick's High School Nationals, it was Oak Hill who took home the title in thrilling fashion. Virginia Tech recruit Khadim Sy's tip in at the buzzer in overtime gave them the title.

From the onset Oak Hill took it to La Lumiere and were once up 18 points in the first half. La Lumiere would whittle the margin down to 11 at halftime. Once the second half started, La Lumiere wold get some clutch and timely buckets from juniors Brian Bowen and Isaiah Coleman-Lands. Most of all, though, the Lakers did it with their defense.

With Cyrus playing a huge part on the defensive end in the second half, the Lakers held Oak Hill to 33.3 percent shooting in both the second half and overtime stanzas. Alas, some bad turnovers and just plain bad luck led to La Lumiere coming up just short of a title.

Even in defeat Cyrus took a lot from playing in the prestigious event and getting the chance to play at Madison Square Garden.

“It means a lot”, Cyrus said about advancing to the championship game and playing at Madison Square Garden. “We've been fighting all season. We were able to fight back as a team and get to the finals, which hasn't been done before at La Lumiere. We had a chip on our shoulders all season.”

During the championship run, Cyrus did not factor much into the scoring, as he averaged just 4.6 points per game. However, if you only see zero in on his scoring, you would be doing Cyrus a major disservice.

After all, during the regular season, Cyrus was third on La Lumiere in scoring with 11.4 points per game. During the Dick's Nationals, he deferred to some of his talented teammates, while never forcing the issue. That said, Cyrus did the little things in helping La Lumiere get to the title. He was very active on defense and his cat-like quickness was a disturbance all tournament long, as he guarded some of the elite players at the event.

In the quarterfinal game against St. Benedict's, Cyrus was tasked with guarding St. Benedict's best player David Beatty (rated as a 4-star class of 2017 recruit) and held him to only five points on 1-12 shooting, He was active with his hands during the tournament and also did a good job attacking the glass for a player of his size. He averaged 5.3 rebounds per game.

It should be noted Cyrus picked up his fourth foul early in the second half in the championship. Still, he is a glue guy every team needs, as his upbeat personality helped keep his La Lumiere teammates focused.

“No matter what I have to do, I'm gonna cheer on my team,” said Cyrus. “If I'm in the game or out of the game, I'm going to make sure my teammates have my full support. Even if I wasn't in foul trouble, I would be on the bench clapping as hard as I can. Tyger (Campbell) and the guys can be motivated by stuff like that.”

With his high school playing career now over, Cyrus will now turn his attention to the next chapter in his life at DePaul. He will be joined in Dave Leitao's 2016 recruiting class along with Devin Gage, Al Eichelberger, and Western Kentucky transfer Chris Harrison-Docks.

Cyrus is tight with the both of them and all come from winning backgrounds. Gage just celebrated a IHSA State Championship a few weeks ago and with Cyrus being so close to being a national championship, Cyrus is ready to bring that winning mentality to Lincoln Park next fall.

“Definitely,” Cyrus said if that winning mentality can carry over next year at DePaul. “I think the coaches are recruiting winners. (Gage) won a state championship in Illinois, which is really hard to do. And we got to the championship here with the best high school (teams) in the country. We definitely have winners heading to DePaul next year.”

Cyrus will certainly bring some spunk and tenacity to DePaul next year, but he will defer to the upperclassmen when he gets there.

“Just watching the older guys and see how they operate like Billy (Garrett) and being able to develop under him,” Cyrus said of what's he's expecting in his freshmen season. “(I'm excited) to bring back a winning culture to DePaul. We have a lot of winners coming in, plus we got Eli Cain too. I'm looking to getting on the court with them.”

Cyrus knows he still has things to do before he comes to DePaul and he's ready to put in the work.

“I'll probably be there about mid-June,” said Cyrus. “I have to get bigger and stronger. I want to get above 200 pounds so I can be ready for the Big East.”

They say winning breeds confidence and confidence breeds winning. Well, Cyrus is both a winner and confident young man, and he's ready to take that mindset to DePaul.

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