Blue Mountains junior basketball product Angus Brandt is thriving in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of US College basketball, where regular season games are shown live on television.
Brandt finished the 2012 Pac-12 season as Oregon State University’s most accurate field goal shooter and ninth in the league.
But it was his superb form as top point-scorer in the Beavers end-of-season European tour last month that left head coach Craig Robinson confident Brandt could be his “go to” man in his final season commencing in October.
Brandt, who is studying pre-physical therapy and is due to graduate next year, finished the Beavers’ four-match undefeated tour of Spain and France with 59 points, 35 rebounds and five assists.
He top-scored with 18 points against Spanish side Real Canoe in Madrid, which the Beavers won 89-73, and in their opening tour match against French outfit St Charles, scoring 17 points.
After the tour, coach Robinson said “hopefully we’ve created a Frankenstein’s monster with Angus, because that kid is playing out of his mind”.
“Angus was aggressive — that’s the big thing — and he is confident.
“If he can do that for us [each week], we are going to be a much better team this year.”
In an online interview with the Gazette on Monday, Brandt said he was drawn to the sport as a child by friends and loved the constant action of basketball.
“I started playing in the Blue Mountains for the Springwood Scorchers in the U18s but I owe my improvement and success to the Penrith Panthers who I played Youth League and State League for,” the Beavers’ centre said.
“I feel incredibly lucky to be given the chance to play at this level with the exposure and fan base that we gain.
“I love nothing more than running out to a packed house at Gill Coliseum — it still gives me chills every time.”
Brandt said he felt his game went up another notch in the last 12 months in the Pac-12 competition and also with his chance to play with the Australian University Team in China followed by his success on the 11-day European club tour.
“That tour was great to be a part of, it gave me a look at a very different style of play and I feel I adapted very well to it.
“The best part of the tour was seeing all the amazing sites that I’ve heard so much about, such as the Eiffel Tower.
His goal for 2012-13 is to improve on last season and for his team to make the NCAA tournament.
“Following this year I aim to play at the highest level that I can, whether it be in Europe, Australia or here in the USA.”