Hidden Gem: Brandon Huffman

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Brandon Huffman slamming one home [Photo Credit: DreamVision]

The first word that comes to mind when you think of Alaska is, COLD! Although it’s one of the largest states in America, Alaska is sparsely populated, mainly known for its outdoor activities and accounting for 25% of the US oil production. The last thing you would possibly consider is highly talented basketball players coming out of that state.

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[Photo Credit: DreamVision]

Don’t get me wrong, Alaska is filled with talented ballers, as are most states across the country. This is the same place that produced one of college’s most deadly shooters in Trajan Langdon (Duke ’94-’99). However, it’s not often you hear about top talented high school basketball players coming out of that region. [Enter, Brandon Huffman] Standing at 6’9 and weighing approximately 220lbs., the Power Forward averaged nearly a double-double in points and rebounds during his last season at West High School (Anchorage, AK) and lead his team to a state championship. Now in search for a bigger stage and tougher competition, Huffman has relocated to North Carolina to attend Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, NC). The state is currently housing 4 of ESPN’s Top 20 nationally ranked players – plus a slew of under the radar players, presenting more than enough opportunity to test his abilities. After all, they don’t call this the HoopState for nothing!

With his current size and strength, Huffman is a considerable force in the paint. He’s a rim runner that knows how to position himself in the right spots to get the easy baskets. Huffman makes sure to punish the rim every chance he gets, relentless slamming in dunk after dunk. Defensively, he does extremely well protecting the rim and playing help side, discouraging all offenders who may want to drive to the paint. He also does a good job keeping his arms up and staying away from ticky tack fouls that usually get big men in trouble quick.

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[Photo Credit: DreamVision]

There are a few things Huffman will need to improve on, such as, making his shots in the paint and jump-hooks softer. He’ll also need to improve establishing himself and demanding the ball on the block. In today’s game you rarely see a big man who knows how to use good footwork and body control to gain the upper hand an on opponent to put themselves into an easy position to score. Most of the time Forwards are trying to work on guard and shooting skills to stretch the floor, which can be an asset, but at the same time that doesn’t pan out well for everyone. Once Huffman adds sealing his defender and a few post moves to his game, he will evolve into an elite, more dominant Power Forward in his class.

Over all, not only is Huffman one to watch, but he’s fun to watch. It’s not often you see a kid who literally tries to rip the rim down every chance he gets. While he has things to work on, he’s proven that he’s a student of the game and is willing to learn and absorb whatever he’s being taught. So don’t expect those opportunities to improve to linger over him very long. With his coach and trainer, he’ll get overall those hurdles in no time. Be sure to check him out during the high school season at Word of God.

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