July 13, 2024

Brandon Phillips brings rather a lot to the desk for Waukegan.

The senior wing can rating in numerous methods and guard a number of positions. However most of all, Phillips needs to provide the gamers round him alternatives to thrive. Workforce success, not any particular person accolade, is his objective.

“I’m the kind of participant that tries to set the tone for my teammates, particularly by bringing vitality,” he mentioned. “I attempt to get going early, and hopefully everybody can feed off me. We’ve got a number of good gamers, so if we get going, we’re onerous to cease.”

That has been illustrated because the Bulldogs (12-9, 2-5) have navigated the primary two months of the season and the North Suburban Convention, already matching their 2022-23 win complete. The versatile 6-foot-2 Phillips is an enormous cause for that success.

Phillips, whose junior season was minimize brief by a knee damage, entered the week averaging 10.4 factors, 4.4 rebounds and a couple of.1 steals. He’s environment friendly offensively, connecting on 56% of his field-goal makes an attempt, and fills passing lanes on the opposite finish.

“We inform the gamers that all of them should be individually higher for us to be collectively higher, and Brandon exemplifies that with all of the issues he does effectively,” Waukegan coach Ron Ashlaw mentioned.

As Phillips talked about, he likes to be productive early in video games. There are delicate methods to try this, like locking in defensively, grabbing a well-timed rebound to spur a transition basket or hitting a few pictures.

“I’ve a spot on the courtroom the place my teammates and I do know that I can all the time make pictures,” Phillips mentioned. “I attempt to go to different areas, too, however that’s my go-to spot if we actually want a basket.”

Because the season has progressed, the checklist of issues the workforce wants from Phillips has grown. The Bulldogs know they will depend on him.

“Above all, Brandon is a good teammate and a tough employee who’s very conscientious of what we’re attempting to perform,” Ashlaw mentioned. “He’s involved in regards to the workforce and the workforce’s efficiency earlier than his personal.”

Serving to the workforce attain its potential begins with productive follow time, and Phillips has sometimes employed a novel means to make sure everybody stays in control.

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“If I’ve to, I’ll have them take my spot for that rep so that they know precisely what’s happening,” he mentioned. “I encourage my teammates to get on the courtroom as a lot as attainable. I’d somewhat my teammates have night time as a substitute of me.”

Phillips’ selfless method exhibits in numerous methods. Ashlaw factors to Phillips’ renewed effort to rebound previously few weeks.

“We actually want the boards,” Phillips mentioned. “We’re not that massive, so we’d like as a lot athleticism there as attainable. I observed that’s an space the place I may assist.”

Phillips additionally helps by displaying the kind of work ethic that others can simply emulate. Senior wing Ethan Rodriguez chuckled as he recalled arriving for voluntary exercises final summer season and seeing Phillips was already finished together with his session.

Phillips’ dedication was additionally evident after Waukegan’s 73-72 additional time loss to Christ the King on Saturday.

“He missed what would have been a game-winning three within the nook, and after the sport, you can hear the ball bouncing, and he was practising the identical shot,” Rodriguez mentioned. “All of us see that, and it’s simple to look as much as him.”

Steve Reaven is a contract reporter for the Information-Solar.