The first day of practice for the 2014-15 season, finds junior Montay Brandon standing on the Seminoles basketball court reflecting on his first two years as an FSU men’s basketball player and contemplating his personal and team goals for this upcoming season.
As a freshman, Brandon started 22 games at point guard for the Seminoles. Last year he dominated as Florida State’s wing guard and was the only Seminole to start in all 36 games. He enters his third season, looking to once again earn his position as a starter and to lead this year’s talented team back to the NCAA tournament.
“What I’m looking forward to the most this season is for us to show the basketball world that we are a really good team. Our team goals are to bring back the junkyard defense that has been a part of FSU basketball since Coach Hamilton has been here, and improve on our assist-to-turnover ratio from last year.”
In order to accomplish these goals, Brandon recognizes that he must focus his energies and lead by example – both in terms of mental preparedness and physical training.
“I think the biggest challenge that comes with any team or individual throughout a season is to fight complacency,” states the 6’7” guard. “In our early practices and pre-season conditioning, I just have to keep myself mentally aware, to go all out at all times, and not to let complacency creep in.”
His efforts during the off-season in terms of mental preparation will hopefully pay big dividends for the team once the season starts.
“The biggest improvement for me this year has been more mental,” explains Brandon. “I’m becoming more at peace with myself on the court as a basketball player, knowing that I am a good player, and knowing that if keep I working on my weakness, I’ll become a great player for our team.”
And as important as the mental aspects of the game surely are, this year’s team has also been placing extra emphasis on additional running and training in order to strengthen their physical talents.
“I feel the team has improved because our core group of upperclassmen has been through the rigors of the ACC and we feel that our experience is an advantage for us,” says Brandon. “We have also added guard depth that we didn’t have last year, which is plus because it will keep the team fresh throughout the games and season.”
As he looks forward to the start of this season, Brandon has not only set a high bar for his team, but he has some lofty goals for his own growth this year.
“My goals for myself this year include being named ACC Defensive player of the year, getting my free throw percentage in the 80 percent range, and maintaining a positive assist-to-turnover ratio,” he states.
Montay Brandon is a shining example of the saying “a player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player.’
And watching him on the court of the new and improved Civic Center, one has to believe that if he accomplishes his personal goals, the team goals are sure to follow.
By Summer Gilhousen, Florida State Sports Information