WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Brandon Brantley

2013-09-23T18:00:00Z 2013-09-30T20:51:08Z WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Brandon BrantleyMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
September 23, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

Brandon Brantley was kind of glad to see Kendall Stephens is a freshman on the Purdue men's basketball team.

Brantley is an East Chicago native who was named an assistant by head coach Matt Painter in April. He remembers how Kendall's dad, former Purdue star Everette Stephens, helped him along when Brantley went to Europe to begin his pro basketball career.

"I was an Indiana kid, was used to being close to home, and now I am in Cyprus, 22 years old," Brantley said. "Everette kind of took me under his wing and told me what I had to do to get better. A lot of things he helped me with, like coping being away from home.

"I get here and see his son is on our team. That is kind of cool. What Everette showed me is at Purdue we are a family. Your class does not just graduate and move. You are Boilermakers and one family."

Brantley, a 1991 Andrean and 1996 Purdue grad, was an Indiana All-Star and is in Andrean's sports hall of fame. At Purdue, he was part of three-straight Big Ten championships. He red-shirted his freshman year.

"You look back and realize that Coach (Gene) Keady, the staff and the players really did something special," Brantley said. "We knew we had a good group when we were freshmen, including Glenn Robinson. We all stayed down in Lafayette during the summer, hit the weights and worked on our game. I still think back about winning three Big Ten titles in a row."

As far as coming back to Purdue, Brantley is thrilled as is Painter. In a news release following the hiring, Painter said Brantley's knowledge of the game and the program is a plus as all three assistants are from Indiana.

"Brandon understands what Purdue basketball is about having played on championship teams here in the mid-90s," Painter said. "It's about passion, emotion, a family atmosphere and a desire to succeed in all aspects at the highest level. Brandon brings all of those things and will be a welcome addition to our staff and program."

What he brings is knowledge of players from being a coach with the Indianapolis-based Eric Gordon 16-under AAU team. With AAU the main artery for players, Brantley knows the coaches and the players.

"I just think knowing the region, East Chicago, Gary, Lake County, Porter County, I can relate my experience here at Purdue as a player and student," Brantley said. "It was a great experience and I can share first-hand with a recruit what it was like to play at Purdue."

His previously worked as a supervisor with troubled kids in Indianapolis, a job he said really taught him a lot.

"These were kids that others had given up, but they didn't give up on themselves," Brantley said. "I was fortunate, having a two-parent home and two parents who loved me. Not everyone is that fortunate. They are not bad kids, but they really were not loved or told right from wrong.

"I loved working with them and I think it showed them someone cared."

He said it was a sense of pride when a kid made progress.

"There was nothing like a young man calling you up and he is happy because he got a job," Brantley said. "It might not have been a great job, but he went out and got his act together and was doing something. It was like 'Wow!,' when he told you that."

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