Brackman Update – Good News, Bad News

Good work by the Durham Herald-Sun today. Because, I am a realist/pessimist, I will start with the bad news portion:

“My first two years, it was all basketball, and then baseball came second,” said Brackman, who is on a basketball scholarship. “I think it should be baseball first and basketball second.” Lowe wasn’t eager to discuss the matter with reporters, saying he didn’t feel confident yet that Brackman would play basketball. “No, I’m not,” Lowe said. “Not at all. Right now, we’re just coming down to watch him and support him. I really don’t want to talk about Andrew and basketball. That’s something that we’re going to discuss.”

That doesn’t sound too good for Wolfpack basketball prospects in 2006-07 (without Brack, the Pack’s chances to compete in the ACC slip from slim to none), but it does reflect sound, reasoned judgment on the kid’s behalf. As Wolfpackers, we should all wish him the best in his professional endeavors. And he almost certainly will be a professional baseball player, while having almost no shot at an NBA career.

Now, we can turn to the good news portion:

Ideally for Brackman, that would be in both sports. He said he feels committed to his basketball teammates — “I don’t want to come two years with guys I’ve played with and just ditch them,” he said — and believes a new arrangement could work. This time, though, he’d be working on his baseball during basketball season. Lowe didn’t sound optimistic with reporters, but Brackman has gathered different information from the basketball coach. “He’s fine with that,” Brackman said. “He said if he could have 75 percent of me at 100 percent that that’s better than nothing.”

One must note that Lowe is taking exactly the right approach to this situation. He is not counting on Brack for anything (and it would be foolish to do so). He is also showing support, but giving the kid space. And he realizes that Brack is holding all the cards here. Baseball is what he should focus on. Any commitment he makes to hoops should be structured around his pitching, not vice versa. Rather than creating ill will by insisting that basketball take 100% priority (we heard whisperings about that last February), Lowe is leaving the door open to whatever he can get from Brack. In the end, if he plays (even on a limited practice and/or game schedule), it will be with his whole heart and without a scintilla of resentment. That is good for everyone, IMHO.

Kudos to Coach Lowe, and kudos to Andrew Brackman.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

06-07 Basketball General Sidney Lowe

39 Responses to Brackman Update – Good News, Bad News

  1. Kingfish76 08/03/2006 at 6:53 PM #

    Lowe is handling this situation like the true gentleman and leader that he is.

  2. old13 08/03/2006 at 7:23 PM #

    ^As is AB!

  3. Delete-Me 08/03/2006 at 8:35 PM #

    Because he is on a basketball scholly, shouldn’t that play a major part? I mean, if he wanted to focus so much on baseball, seems like he should have tried for a baseball scholly somewhere.

    I think it is great he is allowed to play two sports, but his commitment was to play on a basketball scholly.

  4. packpigskinfan23 08/03/2006 at 8:36 PM #

    I like our chances of a College World Series title with Brackman devoted to baseball, and the new pitching coach….

    I wish Brackman all the best, in whatever he decideds.

  5. Wulfpack 08/03/2006 at 9:04 PM #

    This is an interesting parallel. Does Lowe continue to support Brack in hopes he’ll help us out on the hardwood, or does he cut ties should Brack show a lack of interest in basketball (and full-fledged focus on the diamond) and look to the future. That is to say, does a part-time Brack really help us in basketball this year? Granted, Brack played in a different system than what he may see with Lowe, but honestly I wasn’t overly impressed with his performance more often than not.

    I agree that Sidney is handling this like a champ. I wish Brack nothing but the best in whatever he decides to do.

  6. redfred2 08/03/2006 at 9:33 PM #

    I am going to go out on a limb to say that I think Brackman will come around and play this season. Basketball is what brought him to Raleigh in the first place, and while I agree with Wulf that he seems to have kinda lost his fire of late, that can all be revived under a new system. I wouldn’t go so far as to bet any serious money on it, I just think ( /hope) he still loves the game like he did as a freshman and enough to play for one more season.

    Poor ol’ Sidney, the guy had no clue how far out of control things had really gotten around here. I knew all of the fall out would take a while to finally shake down, but I thought it would be a more gradual process. Maybe it’s best this way, clean slate and all. Now if Lowe can maintain his sanity and get through this first season with the help of some great support from the fans, we will be back on track here shortly.

  7. harrisek 08/03/2006 at 9:42 PM #

    Lowe is doing what’s right by supporting the kid. As a coach/mentor, you never want to look back on a situation and wonder, “Did I hold him back from his best opportunity.” Class acts all around. I’m sure his basketball teammates will support him as well.

  8. redfred2 08/03/2006 at 10:10 PM #

    ^The terminology “class act,” when speaking of any coach, frightens the hell out of me now. Can we just call him “admireable” or “honorable” from here on out.

  9. RickJ 08/04/2006 at 7:50 AM #

    Delete-Me brings up an interesting point about Brackman being on a basketball scholarship. Bball scholarships are full rides as opposed to baseball scholarships. The baseball team has less than 12 scholarships for the entire team. If Brackman drops basketball completely, I don’t think he could remain on a basketball ride. I’m not positive about this but I believe this rule is in effect in order for schools not to be able to use sports they don’t care about to increase the scholarships given to the sports that matter. It goes all the way back to Bear Bryant, who when scholarship limits were first imposed had some good prospects put on wrestling and track (or some other sport) ride to get around the limits. This is the reason for multi-sport athletes, their scholarships always count first against football (assuming they play football) and basketball second. I don’t know what they do for something like a wrestling – baseball two sport player.

    In a practical manner, I think this means that if Brackman gives up basketball completely and was transferred to a baseball scholarship, he would be faced with paying some money out of pocket for school. I’m pretty sure a 50 – 60% scholarship is about as high as their scholarships go. He would also be hurting the baseball team by taking some of the teams scholarship funding that can’t go to other players.

    I think it is in the best interest of Brackman, Lowe & Avent that Brackman remain with basketball in some capacity. They should be able to work this out.

  10. RAWFS 08/04/2006 at 8:27 AM #

    Rick’s point/query sounds worthy of some investigation.

    AB should probably do what’s best for him — there are literally millions of dollars on the line. If that means sticking with baseball, then do that.

  11. Astral Rain 08/04/2006 at 8:28 AM #

    They could always stash Brackman on the roster and give him shin splints, or some nagging injury that isn’t real. Or he could simply redshirt. I’m sure this is one of those rules that is tough to enforce…

    I got a feeling he may end up playing early, then leaving to play baseball as soon as that season starts- especially if State is going nowhere in basketball- which is what seems to be the case right now (hopefully I’m wrong, and State shocks us all, but I’m going to be realistic for the next 2-3 years)

  12. BladenWolf 08/04/2006 at 8:54 AM #

    First let me say I like Brackman. I appreciated the fire he brought in his freshman year and I was pleasantly surprised by his tenacity. Then I was a little dissappointed with his performance last year but at least the minutes he gave the team helped us out in some respects.
    But I have assumed all along that Brack would play basketball in some capacity this year or at least practice with the team. If this turns out not to be the case, then the scholly issue should be brought up and analyzed. If he wants to break away from the hardwood, then he needs to give up the hardwood scholly. It’s that simple. Right?
    If we’re going to nail a Werner-type to the cross for breaking his Letter of Intent, then the same logic applies to a player who quits the team. For whatever reason. Millions on the line or not.

  13. yannes 08/04/2006 at 8:57 AM #

    I think that Brackman loves basketball too much not to play. I think that he is looking for some flexibility in basketball practice and training so that he can focus on baseball training, especially late in the basketball season as baseball approaches. Travelling with the team and giving some time in basketball games isn’t what hurt his baseball game last year, it was the basketball training and the weight that he added.

    And he almost certainly will be a professional baseball player, while having almost no shot at an NBA career.
    I think that he has a legitimate chance at a NBA career if that is the path that he chooses to focus on, which of course it isn’t. Brackman was one of the top rated prospects from the state of Ohio and showed flashes of brilliance in limited PT as a freshman.

    Baseball is what he should focus on.
    I really don’t like that statement. I think that baseball is what Brackman should focus on if that is what he chooses to focus on. Nobody needs to tell him what he should focus on. He is a kid in college with his whole life ahead of him. This isn’t the time for him to obsess over his career at every turn, but to enjoy himself and learn.
    I believe that he chose to focus on baseball not because he is a better pitcher than a forward, but because he loves the mound more than the hardwood. Look back at his comments from his freshman year, he always said that when it got down to it he loved being outside.

    I agree that Lowe is taking exactly the right approach. He wants his players to be happy with their decisions and he is willing to be flexible so that they can be happy. I am not trying to badmouth Sendek here, but I don’t believe that Sendek gave Brackman the kind of flexibility that he is affording under Lowe.

  14. JimValvano 08/04/2006 at 9:50 AM #

    First of all, Andrew Brackman is a tremendous athlete…in both basketball and baseball. Secondly, Brackman didn’t lose any fire in basketball last year. As with all of the players on the team, Sendek wouldn’t leave him on the court long enough for him to get in the flow of the game. Those five minute here and theres just don’t work, and Sendek did it to everyone. Not only that, but it just seemed like Sendek wouldn’t put him in the game enough…or when someone was starting to heat up or do well…Sendek would take them out because everything was so planned and scheduled and Sendek wouldn’t veer or adapt to the situation. That is why we didn’t press against Wake Forest. Sendek hadn’t planned on doing it, and he wasn’t going to adapt his game plan. Lastly, Andrew Brackman, in my estimation…will play hoops this year. Not only will he play, but he’ll play well…not only will he play well, but as the year goes on he’ll play often…and not only will he play often…he’ll become the force we thought he may one day be. Brackman will start having success and that success will jack up his confidence and he’ll have a killer year on the court and on the diamond. The success on the court will keep him wanting to play hoops throughout the season. That’s just my thoughts and predictions.

  15. cfpack03 08/04/2006 at 9:51 AM #

    If that means drop the bball scholarship, spend some $ to play baseball only, I still think the roi is much more significant
    imo, brack should do what’s best for brack.

  16. BJD95 08/04/2006 at 10:13 AM #

    yannes – any NBA future for Brack would be complete and total speculation. He was a Top 50-100 caliber recruit, and he’s played at about that level. On a pretty bad 2006-07 hoops team, he wouldn’t be a lock to start. Try finding ONE article or projection out there that has Brack on the NBA’s radar. That is NOT meant as a knock against the kid – I love his game, and he really lit a spark for us down the stretch his freshman year. He would be dearly missed if he doesn’t play next year. But there’s a long way between there and even being on the NBA’s radar.

    On the other hand, even after a disastrous sophomore season, he is still viewed as a near-certain first round pick in baseball, which would make him a millionaire. So, it’s clear to me he is making the right decision when he says baseball SHOULD come first.

    Without Brack, we have SIX legitimate players to put on the court in the first semester (Ferguson not eligible until the second). He is absolutely esential if we are even going to have a puncher’s chance in the ACC. If his commitment needs to be relaxed in February/March, then at least we have 7 other guys, barring injury.

    I would do everything within NCAA guidelines to keep his basketball scholarship for this year. It doesn’t hurt us one iota to let him use it, and I favor Lowe’s accomodating approach (carrot, rather than stick) in our treatment of Andrew Brackman.

  17. redfred2 08/04/2006 at 10:29 AM #

    I have to agree with yannes, bladen, and JV on all of the factors about Brackman’s still untapped abilities on the basketball court and NBA potential. Also his fire and intensity, and the fact that he is still a kid and an upcoming junior in college, with all of that going it doesn’t mean that he needs to give it all up for baseball just yet.

    If he and Lowe give each other a chance I think the coach work to give Brackman the best opportunity he would have ever had to pop out onto the scene and become a major force in ACC basketball, probably like the kid was intending to do when he signed a basketball scholarship to begin with. It’s unfortunate that he is a junior and there are still so many unanswered questions about his total package, but hey, that’s been the norm around these parts for a while. He has the skills, his new coach just has to re-energize and get him motivated again, then that confidence and intensity will return.

  18. redfred2 08/04/2006 at 10:44 AM #

    BJD95: “any NBA future for Brack would be complete and total speculation. He was a Top 50-100 caliber recruit, and he’s played at about that level.”

    I have to respectfully disagree with that line of thinking. I would put Simmon’s freshman season up for comparison. Everybody is still talking about Brackman as a freshman and the potential he showed when he was allowed in limited spurts, then questioning where that potential went and why he didn’t play the same later.

    We all know the answers, the kid still has every bit of it. He is not Cedric Simmons, but the skill level we’ve seen from him so far has been no less
    suppressed than that of Simmons.

  19. Mr O 08/04/2006 at 10:48 AM #

    I heard to not expect to much from Ferguson. I was hoping Herb found an ACC player out of nowhere.

  20. yannes 08/04/2006 at 10:54 AM #

    yannes – any NBA future for Brack would be complete and total speculation. He was a Top 50-100 caliber recruit, and he’s played at about that level. On a pretty bad 2006-07 hoops team, he wouldn’t be a lock to start. Try finding ONE article or projection out there that has Brack on the NBA’s radar.
    Honestly you could have said the same thing about Ced a year ago or any number of players that jump to the NBA after one break-out season. I think that if Brackman decided that he wanted to focus on basketball, then he has the talent to have the kind of season that would pop up on the NBA scouts’ radar. We have only seen a small part of the kid’s basketball game.

    On the other hand, even after a disastrous sophomore season, he is still viewed as a near-certain first round pick in baseball, which would make him a millionaire. So, it’s clear to me he is making the right decision when he says baseball SHOULD come first.
    You are saying “should” from an entirely career standpoint, and I think that he is saying “should” from the heart. The bottom line is that he likes baseball more than basketball regardless of his skills in each respective game. From everything that I have read about Brackman and heard him say, I don’t think that this decision is driven by money.

    JimValvano(the poster, not the coach):
    I don’t think that you were watching the same season as myself. Or maybe you are just remembering a few games in the latter part of the season? We had four players averaging 30+ minutes and our rotation was very similar to Duke’s.

  21. RickJ 08/04/2006 at 11:13 AM #

    BJD95 – Many thanks for bringing this article to our attention. The below quote brings up another interesting aspect concerning Brackman:

    “I think the hip injury totally set me back this year,” he said. “All the weight that I had gained, I think it was pretty much ridiculous. I think that my body can’t really carry that much, and I think it led to the hip injury, which led to an awful end to the basketball season and an awful baseball season.â€?

    Do you remember how quick Brackman was off his feet in his freshman year? He had several blocked shots in transition that were truly remarkable even for the D1 level. I can see where he needed to gain strength but I don’t think he has the frame to carry a lot more weight. This is not meant as a shot to the former staff because I think 95% of basketball staffs would have done the same thing – Let’s get him in the weight room and bulk him up. From my view this works for some kids with the right type of frame but is disastrous for others. Kenny Inge is another example – he was lithe and springy as a freshman, gained a lot of weight and strength in the weight room and looked fantastic but played worse by the time he was a senior.

    I read an article about Dirk Nowitzki that said he had a German trainer that had devised a very strenuous conditioning program that did not use any weight training. Take a look at his arms the next time you see him play. He has no “guns� and his body looks nothing like most NBA players but good gosh the man can shoot a basketball and he doesn’t seem to be at any huge disadvantage for his lack of bulk.

    BJD95 is correct regarding Brackman’s future is in baseball – This is not even a debatable point. It is not that we are saying he couldn’t become an NBA player, it is just so much more likely he will be able to sign for a huge amount of money in baseball. There are a limited number of human beings that can throw a baseball over 95 mph and every major league team needs 2 or 3 pitchers every game.

  22. BladenWolf 08/04/2006 at 12:01 PM #

    If Brackman chooses baseball over basketball, then that decision is certainly his to make. But utilizing a basketball scholly for baseball doesn’t cut it. His comments about the weight gain are interesting. I do not think Brack is another Kenny Inge and he sure as hell will not be a Dirk Nowitzki in the NBA. If any PF is to post up against Hasbro and McRuberts, then they need the weight to bang. That’s how the game is played these days. If that causes problems for his body, then he needs to evaluate his real potential for playing at the next level. Which is why I made the comment in the first place.
    I can also understand giving the young man time to enjoy life and make a thoughtful decision, HOWEVER, it does no one any good to waste a scholly on a player who isn’t interested in playing. I’m just sayin’…

  23. redfred2 08/04/2006 at 12:05 PM #

    RickJ, correct, along with BJD95. Brackman’s future is for all intents and purposes in baseball right now and probably always. But that doesn’t mean that we, along with the NBA scouts, have seen anything close to his full potential on the hardwood. I’m optimistic that we may be able to do just that this season.

  24. PackGirl 08/04/2006 at 12:17 PM #

    I don’t pretend to know Brackman personally but I have been following him closely (since I’m also from Cincy originally) and based on everything he’s said at various interviews, I will be surprised if he does not play basketball this season. He’s a very competitive person who loves to be busy playing one sport or the other. He will be excited to have the chance to get more minutes on the floor. I also think he has tons of potential and could be a real star under Sidney. He’s got that Charlie Hustle attitude after all (and I don’t mean he gambles)!


  1. The ACC Basketblog - 08/04/2006

    FreeThrowFriday: Brackman

    “The kid has talent on the Court. There can be no doubt about that. However, he’s on basketball scholarship. If the coaches want to work with him, then fine. He has to be careful, however, to avoid the appearence that he is being disloyal to the …

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