His team may have started the new US College Pac-12 basketball season a little rusty with a tight five-point loss to rivals Coppin State on Monday night, but the Oregon State Beavers’ most experienced player — Springwood native Angus Brandt — was just happy to be shooting baskets again.
His handy 13-point, seven rebound contribution was the culmination of a seemingly endless 359-day journey back from an horrific anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered in round four of last season that left him unable to walk for months.
Following that setback Beavers coach Craig Robinson described Brandt as “the heart and soul of this team” and revealed his delight in offering him a medical hardship waiver to play one more season despite already completing his undergraduate degree — rather appropriately in the field of pre-physiotherapy.
Until that injury, Brandt was the most accurate field goal shooter at the Beavers and ninth best in the league, averaged 11.3 points per game and was impressing pro-scouts with his ability to create space in offence.
It’s an ability Brandt credits to his coaches many years ago at the NSW Institute of Sport “instilling in me when I was growing up, particularly Damian Cotter”.
“I was shown how to develop as a basketball player in a way that was not one-dimensional,” Brandt said.
“I was lucky enough to have a great group of people around me that helped get me through the whole process, including my family, friends, coaches and teammates.
“If it wasn’t for those people, I’m not sure I could have gotten through like I did.”
The former Blaxland High School student said playing college basketball continues to be an incredible experience and he’d “do it all again in a heartbeat”.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play in some amazing games in front of huge crowds, both supporting my team and rooting against us.
“Being an athlete in college is amazing because there is a huge following and a great fan base — college sports is like nothing we have in Australia.”
Brandt hopes to recapture the outstanding form he showed for the Beavers in 2012.
“I do plan on playing after college. At this stage I am keeping my options open as to where exactly that will be.”
He said he is very proud of the achievements of his younger brother Louis, who has been accepted as a development player with the Sydney Kings.
“When I heard that Louis had been accepted [at the Kings] I was ecstatic. He had been working so hard, lifting weights and putting in the extra effort and it’s been rewarded.”