Australian Brandt Wows IU, Others in Vegas

Angus Brandt has only been in the United States for only about a month, but he's quickly becoming a national name on the recruiting front thanks to his play in Las Vegas. Indiana was among the programs talking about offering after seeing the 6'11", 220-pounder dominate last week...

Australian center Angus Brandt did more than just fit in last week in Las Vegas. He stood out.

After less than a month in the U.S., the 6-11, 220-pound center headed to Las Vegas last week for the adidas Big Time Tournament as a virtual unknown. But by the time his five-day stay in Sin City had concluded, he and fellow Australian Rhys Murphy had attracted plenty of on-lookers to their Chicago Elite games, and Brandt in particular was drawing rave reviews.

"Angus was a big surprise coming out of Vegas," said Scout.com National Recruiting Director Dave Telep. "He can mix it up inside and be a reliable guy facing the basket out to mid-range. I think he's a high major player."

Brandt was especially dominant in a game against recent Illinois commit Meyers Leonard's team, when he had 32 points and 18 rebounds in front of a slew of college coaches. That effort had plenty of people talking about the big man from down under.

"The people I talked to thought (Brandt) was the best center in Vegas at the adidas tournament," said Full Package Athletics CEO Steve Pratt.

Pratt, who has been training both Brandt and Murphy at his Lake Forest, Ill., facility since they arrived in the U.S., accompanied the duo to Las Vegas for the showcase event of the AAU season. In an effort to get the pair ready for the best high school players in the country, Pratt tested them out against some of the best players in the Chicago area.

"When they got here I brought them down to the inner city and we played basketball down there," Pratt said. "There they played against pros, I had Angus working against (former No. 1 draft pick and current Detroit Piston) Kwame Brown. I had them playing against college guys. So I gave them a week to kind of get ready for it."

The work paid off in Las Vegas. By the time the adidas Big Ten event wrapped up, both of the Class of 2009 recruits had a handful of scholarship offers to go along with interest from a host of high-major programs.

Pratt said Gonzaga, Oregon State, Washington State and Valparaiso have officially offered Brandt, and he's heard both Indiana and Illinois are doing the same. The 6'7" Murphy, meanwhile, had an offer from Oregon State as well as a handful of mid-majors.

The attention garnered by both came as no surprise to Pratt, who has been around his share of high-level college basketball talents. He's trained such well-known NBA commodities as Elton Brand, Brad Miller, Brian Cook, Luther Head and Will Bynum, and it didn't take long for him to realize both Brandt and Murphy would be coveted recruits as soon as coaches got a first hand look.

"You could tell right away because one is a 6'7" wing and the other is 6'11"," Pratt said. "Right away, that's pro sizes."

There's plenty of skill to go along with the size. Murphy is a big, athletic wing, someone who can shoot the 3, rebound, and is a tough, hard-nosed player. While his ball-handling and strength are still a work in progress, it's obvious his recruitment will only expand in the coming months. Brandt, meanwhile, can play with back to the basket or face up. He has excellent hands, runs the floor well, and has a frame that will easily add 20-30 pounds as he continues to fill out.

Pratt credits their Australian coach, Damian Cotter, for helping them polish their basketball skills before coming to the U.S., and he's now looking to do some fine tuning to get them ready for prep school and beyond.

"These kids were major unknowns prior to the start of the month," Telep said. "Brandt is headed to Lake Forest Academy and Murphy will be at Lee Academy. You'll hear plenty about them in the near future."

There had been some speculation that Brandt could possibly be cleared to enroll in college this fall, but Pratt said both will spend a year in prep school to polish their games before making the jump to the Division I level.

"I'm trying to take them to another level," Pratt said.


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