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His sons, Bill Jr., Howard and Steve, have followed in his footsteps. All imbued with an overt familial allegiance to the University of Georgia. The family business, General Wholesale, is where Brandon’s father and uncles manage a wholesale beer, wine, and spirits operation.

There would be an opportunity for Brandon, a management major in the Terry College of Business, with the family business, but he has other plans. The National Basketball Association is not in his future, so what is the next best option for a young man with a deep and abiding commitment to his sport? Coaching, like Georgia, has always been on his mind.

Brandon’s next move will be to become a graduate assistant and enroll in graduate school for a master’s degree. He has been a staff member at basketball camps since he was in high school.

“I have tried to learn from all the coaches I have played for and have seen how they manage players and games. Even though I don’t experience that much playing time, I feel very much part of the team,” Brandon says. “When I do get into a game, there is a great adrenaline rush. Although I try to focus on what I need to do on the court, I experience the greatest of feelings to be playing for the University of Georgia and to see my parents in the stands; (it) just gives me the most uplifting feeling.”

All of this means that he has the coaching makeup to connect with players and his goal is to allow his experience to segue into a coaching career where he can teach young boys that they can learn the benefits of a being part of a team.

“It gives you a foundation to compete, to learn to balance things in your life,” he says.

That balance is confirmed in Brandon’s campus experience. He has always been a serious student and last season’s highlights include being honored with the team’s Most Inspirational Award and being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll while logging playing time in four games.

One of the most accomplished academic athletes at UGA, he has won the UGA Top Dog Academic Award: The Joel Eaves Scholar-Athlete Award which honors the Georgia male and female student-athletes with the highest GPA entering the fall semester of his or her senior year. Brandon is the third basketball player to claim this honor since its inception in 1991-92.

It was easy to confirm that the former Georgia athletic director would have had the highest regard for Brandon’s commitment to excellence on the court and in the classroom. When you played for Joel Eaves, who was the Auburn basketball coach before becoming AD at Georgia, you were expected to, among other things, make free throws and earn a degree. You might not have the talent to compete at the highest level, but practice at the foul line would bring you efficiency. And good study habits, work ethic and commitment would enable you to take home a sheepskin.

Brandon often flashes back to the time when he was a precocious basketball player at Marist and he would come to Athens for Bulldog basketball games. He got a poster of Jonas Hayes, who signed it to Brandon. That poster, along with one from Jarvis Hayes, proudly hangs at his family home in Atlanta. Now Jonas is a Bulldog coach with whom Brandon interacts on a daily basis. The coaching atmosphere is something that Brandon wants to continue to experience.

Brandon is generously appreciated by the Bulldog coaches. Coach Mark Fox says, “Brandon is quietly one of the most valuable parts of our program. He is extremely dedicated and contributes in practice on a daily basis. He really has become a coach on the floor for us. He is one of the best Bulldogs we have ever had.”

The original B. Y. would be greatly pleased.

 

Courtesy: Loran Smith, The Athens Banner-Herald

 

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