Upstate Guard Has Major D-1 Interest

Reporter Brian Towey has a story on Brandon Triche ...

Last week, downstaters did something that few college coaches and basketball cognoscenti had been able to do in the last nine months: catch Brandon Triche in competitive action.

After tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Dec. 30, 2006, Triche, a much-ballyhooed lead guard from Jamesville-Dewitt (NY) High, missed the rest of his sophomore season, and, save for a one-game cameo in Las Vegas last July, saw his AAU schedule wiped out entirely.

At last week's Slam Dunk Challenge at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, Triche, with a balky black brace on his left knee, was back.

Much of the physical rehabilitation was behind him, but undoubtedly, the long layover bore a strain on his psyche. "I had to get my confidence back to play," said Triche. "It took me a couple of months to get it back."

The physical piece is coming along, according to Jamesville-Dewitt coach Bob McKenney.

"He's about 90 percent there," said McKenney. "Some of the quickness will (come) when he gets that brace off. His game is so (predicated on) lateral quickness and getting guys on his hip. ... I don't even think he thinks about (the knee) anymore."

Triche averaged 18 points in wins over Briarcliff and Port Chester and a loss to Peekskill, demonstrating the high skill level and presence that put him on the high-major radar as an underclassman.

A ruggedly built (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) lead guard with a big frame, Triche has noteworthy physical strength, particularly up top. He has a Deron Williams-type of physicality for the high school level.

Triche carries himself like a player. As a point guard he is poised with good vision and a high IQ. He takes care of the ball and shows solid decision-making.

This was the first decent look we'd gotten at Triche, but based on it, we'd describe him as a scoring point guard (for what it's worth, he plays off the ball exclusively in AAU with the Donyell Marshall Foundation).

It's hard to tell how much the knee brace affects Triche's explosiveness, but he showed a knack for getting a step on his defender and enough separation to get his shot off. He can create his own shot and did well to set up his jumper with the dribble. He shoots it with deep range, moves well without the ball.

The one lingering question mark left after watching Triche dealt with his lateral movement and change of direction. It was difficult to get a read on just how well he moves laterally because most of the time, he was pretty well-hidden in his team's zone defense.

Coming off of the injury, most college coaches appear to be treading lightly with Triche's recruitment, making sure that he is fully recovered.

"Lots of schools backed off (after the injury), to be honest," said McKenney. "Syracuse has not- at all -- so obviously they're very much in the hunt. Rutgers, Georgetown, Villanova (are interested). A lot of people are in that wait-and-see mode. They want to see that he's back at 100 percent and to dispel any rumors."

The rumor McKenney alludes to is a supposed commitment to Syracuse. Brandon's uncle, Howard Triche, was a player for the Orange in the mid-80s.

"He has not committed to Syracuse as the rumor (goes)," said McKenney. "(However) I think at the end of the day they'll be one of the four or five teams there when he makes a decision." Brandon has a couple of ideas of what he is looking for in a college program, chief among them a coach that gives his guards freedom to operate.

"I'm looking at schools that get up and down the floor and let their guards go," said Triche. "Like Villanova, and Georgetown as well. Pittsburgh is also showing interest."

Syracuse checked in at a couple of scrimmages, according to McKenney, and others, like Davidson, Rutgers, and Vanderbilt swung through during the preseason.

"None of the schools have offered officially," said McKenney. "I'm not sure what they're allowed to do at this point. Some of the aforementioned teams have given the understanding (that they will)."

For Brandon, recruiting, however pressing for the fans and the coaches, is tucked well behind some other concerns. "I'd like to make a decision on a college before my (senior) season, maybe the fall," said Triche. "Right now, I'm not thinking about it much.

"Obviously my health (is a priority). I want to get back to where I was. I'm focused on winning. Just winning games. I want to win Sectionals. We haven't done that in some time. Once we win Sectionals, States, and everything else."

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