Power forward Brandon Huffman of Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) was one of 11 players chosen for the U.S. Select Team that participated at 2016 adidas Eurocamp. He had one of the most outgoing personalities on the team as well as one of the most unique backgrounds as a “military brat”. BIL sat down with Huffman to talk about his upbringing, basketball and what he learned on his trip to Italy.
BIL: When did you first start playing basketball? Who taught you?
Huffman: “I’ve been playing since the eighth grade, about four years. This guy in Alaska, Claude “Muff” Butler, really helped me learn the game. He played at the University of New Orleans.”
BIL: Have you ever been out of the country, beside the trip to Italy for adidas Eurocamp?
Huffman: “When I was young I visited South America and Asia. My parents are retired from the Air Force.”
BIL: How did you end up in Alaska? Not many people know that you lived there.
Huffman: “The military brought my family there. I’m originally from Goldsboro, North Carolina. We moved to South Carolina and Colorado after that before we ended up in Anchorage. I was pretty young, but I remember moving around and always crying because I like where we lived. But it wasn’t too tough because I was used to it.”
BIL: What was it like living in Anchorage when you first got there?
Huffman: “It’s plenty North enough where it affects your sleeping pattern. It gets dark really early, like at 4 or 5 o’clock the sun will fall down. In the summer, it’s reverse. The way it looks at 6 or 7 o’clock in the rest of the country, it looks like that the whole night. You have to get used to it.”
BIL: Had you ever heard of Pangos All-American Camp before last week? You came in and did well. Did you always have the confidence to come in and compete with the best players in the nation?
Huffman: “I had heard of it. My teammate Rawle Alkins (who played in the 2016 Ballislife All-American Game) went to it and did good. I also had played with Vance Jackson (who also played in the BILAAG) and know a few other guys who played at that camp. At Pangos, I played my type of game. I think I did real well there.”
BIL: What are you doing to ensure a successful senior season at Word of God Academy?
Huffman: “This past season, we got our chemistry real late. We had talent, but it took us a while to come together. We eventually started playing well. This year I’m working hard so that won’t happen again. I think this experience will help me next season.”
BIL: What have you learned about basketball outside the U.S. on this trip?
Huffman: “The game is a lot more physical. The refs are better; they really let guys play. You have got to find a way to score. When you get shut down, you have to find different ways to make an impact. To be a threat offensively, when everything you know breaks down, you need to find something else that works.”
BIL: What are you going to take home with you from this trip?
Huffman: “I am going to implement more physicality in my game. What I know works, and what I know doesn’t, after that trying to have to find a good counter will help me be the most successful I can.”
BIL: What has been most fun about adidas Eurocamp?
Huffman: “Throwing a group of guys that really don’t know each other together and getting to know them. Just putting those guys together and seeing how it works out.”