Brandon Roy might be one of the most sought-after basketball players in the west, but it hasn't gone to his head. He is one of the most personable and likeable guys you would ever want to meet; off court, that is. He admits to having a mean streak while on the court.
Born in San Diego, Brandon moved to Seattle after just two weeks. About 4 years later he picked up a basketball and began his long journey to where he is at now, near the top. His father played basketball (at Garfield High his senior year), as did his older brother, so Brandon had a good road map to follow. Like a lot of kids, Roy turned out for many sports. Football, baseball, etc. But unlike a lot of kids, he was very good at each sport. He's a natural athlete. But the game of basketball was his calling. No helmets to keep him anonymous from the crowd, and the fast pace of the game, all appealed to Brandon. Plus, he could flat-out play.
While playing organized basketball at age 8, he grew up idolizing Michael Jordan. Now it's Shaq and Kobe. But he compares his game to Tracy McGrady of the Orlando Magic. But more importantly, he gives his parents all the credit for influencing his life the most.
Making the team at a basketball powerhouse like Garfield has never been easy, but Brandon was a starter as a sophomore. However, he has yet to be a part of a State Championship team, so needless to say, that is his mission this coming season. In fact, when asked to recall his most memorable game for Garfield he didn't tell about any win but rather about missing two critical free-throws with only seconds remaining that would've put his Bulldogs in a position to win in the State semi-finals last season. Garfield lost that game and Brandon learned from it, turning a negative into a positive for the future. "It made me better."
But Roy has had big winning efforts, make no mistake. At the TOC in North Carolina, he lit it up for almost 30 points per game and made all-tournament. At the Big-Time in Vegas, he led his AAU team deeper into the tournament than any other Washington team and had a blow up performance against a tough Mississippi team, despite a torn meniscus in his knee that slowed him down. It was an injury that prevented him from participating in the Nike Camp at Indianapolis, a camp he really wanted to go to. But orthoscopic surgery has been successful and Brandon will be 100% by September.
His strengths are his ability to get to the hole, defeat defenders off the dribble with a lightning quick first step, and pull up on the run for a jumper with the defender either beaten and beside him or still backing up giving him plenty of room for a good shot. Asked to name a weakness or two and Brandon says his defensive intensity needs to improve, plus his three-point set shot. He hasn't really hit the weights as hard as he knows he needs to but he's eager to start and will be soon. His knee is delaying that for now.
Brandon Roy's goals? 1) A State 4A Championship for his Garfield Bulldogs, 2) an NCAA Tournament Championship, 3) an NBA World Championship. Lofty goals by anybody's' standards, but Roy feels each one is attainable. Don't bet against him. He's not cocky, just extremely confident.
Before we could ask Brandon about his good friend and team mate Marcelus Kemp, Roy was already saying good things about him. "My favorite player in the state is Marcelus." They hang out together and have for years, though Brandon admitted that since they both have girlfriends now, they don't see each other as often as last year. Asked to give us his evaluation of his friend and team mate, Brandon said Marcelus is a great shooter and scorer with good ball-handling skills. In short, Roy had glowing remarks about Kemp. (After speaking to Marcelus, the admiration between these two is definitely mutual.)
Brandon says he's looking for a program with coaches who will coach him hard, make him improve, and not just let him go do his thing early and often. He wants to become the best basketball player he can be. He wants a coach who will develop him the most. He said this is what impresses him about Coach Few ("He's more into his players and not into himself, I think that's very important.") and the Gonzaga staff, their track record of taking good players and making them better and better. With wings 6'4" Alex Hernandez and 6'5" Anthony Reason graduating next year, heaven only knows how good Roy could become at GU.
Roy says he'll likely take an unofficial visit to Gonzaga in September, very possibly with Marcelus and their parents. Brandon admitted that it would be nice if he and Kemp remained ream mates throughout their college careers and it could make a difference come decision time. Brandon said he'll likely commit in October. It looks like a battle between four schools for the ultra-talented wing: Gonzaga, Washington, Arizona and Oregon. He has no leader and will consult with his AAU coach and family before deciding.
After his playing days are over, Brandon thinks coaching would be to his liking. "I have some strong opinions about basketball."
When he's not in the gym or embarrassing would-be defenders, he's taking in movies, spending time with friends and his girlfriend, listening to rap and watching college football on TV.