Brandon Lincoln tried out for baseball one year. He played three games, and that was enough for him. Oh, he could throw and catch and all that, but he didn't have the overall skills nor the passion for the game… Not like he had for basketball, that is. You see, Brandon first picked up a basketball at age 3. It's been a long, steady climb since then, but with an older brother (by seven years) to practice against, along with a cousin who is now highly-regarded point guard, Brandon had no choice but to get better, and get better quick. He likes to be pushed, he likes to play with or against the best.
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Lincoln attends basketball powerhouse Jefferson High School. He may not be able to view Mount Hood from his home, but he's had plenty of other impressive things to watch lately. Kansas-bound McDonald's All-American Aaron Miles was his team mate last year, as was Kansas-bound Michael Lee. His cousin Curtis Lincoln is the same age as Brandon and is being looked at by several colleges, from Eastern Washington to Washington State. And last but not least, Brandon's AAU (Inner City Players) team mate is Arizona-bound Chris Rodgers. Did we say Brandon likes to play with the best? Well, he has no choice. It all adds up to make him better.
How much better?
ESPN.com ranks Brandon in their top-100 rising seniors. Brandon was one of only twelve players from the west to be invited to the USA Youth Development Festival, held at the Olympic training site in Colorado Springs, averaging about 15 points per game in less than 20 minutes average playing time. He joined Gonzaga-bound Sean Mallon there. And Brandon has earned a close watch by the likes of Lute Olson, Missouri's Quin Snyder, Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson and Oregon's Ernie Kent. But Gonzaga has made it clear that Brandon is a priority target. With his 6'4" frame and athletic skills, he's ideal to fill the wing position that will be open after Alex Hernandez and Anthony Reason graduate.
Asked to recount the best game he has played in recent memory and Brandon hesitated, thinking, but couldn't really pinpoint just one. When prompted a little, he recalled a game in a tournament early in the summer where he scored 30 and hauled down 8 rebounds. He also had some assists, which by the way, he prides himself on. He couldn't recall a game that was a disaster; it seems he's good at forgetting those and moving forward instead.
Brandon enjoys Allen Ray's style of play in the NBA and when asked to compare his own game with a notable NBA star he likened himself to Alan Houston. Not a bad comparison. These are the guys he emulates on the court, but of far more importance are the people in Brandon's life who have made a difference. His father and mother, his older brother, his high school coach, and others. He likes to give credit to others.
Which is why he takes pride in getting all of his team mates involved in a game. It's one of his strengths. With a mindset usually reserved for a point guard, the long, rangy wing guard likes to make the assist. He can shoot from long range or close in, or drive to the basket, but if someone else is left unguarded, watch out, Brandon will dish for an easier shot. He's not about putting up big numbers, even though he can if need be. Asked about areas of his game that might need work, he felt he was pretty good on defense but he'd like to get even better. There are few things more disruptive than a quick, long-armed 6'4" guy like Brandon swarming all over a smaller, overmatched guard. That's another thing he does well, create mismatches.
About that USA Youth Development Festival… There were four teams of twelve (East, West, North and South) and the West lost all five of their games. We asked Brandon about this. Many eastern "experts" stated they thought the West was down on talent compared to the other regions, but Brandon dispelled that and explained how the West held the lead at halftime of every game and in the second half something would happen where the other teams would make a run. He also said that it just took longer for the West to gel, and by the final game they lost by two after leading the entire way.
Lincoln met Sean Mallon in Colorado Springs and had glowing remarks about the future Zag. They hit it off well and Brandon was impressed by the 6'9" forward. He did feel Sean was forced to play out of position, which hindered Mallon's effectiveness. The West only had two big men, so positions were juggled inside a bit. Since Colorado Springs, Brandon has hooked up again with Sean at TheFinalScore Invitational (as foes this time) and at the Nike Camp in Indianapolis where he also met Gonzaga star Dan Dickau who served as a camp counselor there. Brandon had met Dickau a year or so earlier in a pro-am league. Dan is another Zag who impresses Brandon.
Brandon Lincoln is modest, soft-spoken, a man of few words, but he doesn't back down from anyone and thoroughly enjoys the challenge of taking on the elite players. When asked to compare himself with other wings like Brandon Roy, Lincoln is careful to just say, "I'm top-100," and leave it at that. It's almost what he doesn't say that tells you his real answer, which is, to put it mildly, "Just as good."
Brandon doesn't have a visit set up for Gonzaga yet but he's looking forward to it. He has an interest in Business Economics.
When he's not playing hoops, you can find Brandon hanging with friends, fishing, hitting movies and listening to R&B on his CD player. He's a nice guy and it was a pleasure interviewing him.