Jan. 3, 2013
Angus Brandt was playing the best basketball of his life. Then, with the blink of an eye, his season came to a screeching halt when he tore his ACL. Most people would say "why me" and dwell on the injury. Not Angus. Instead he has remained upbeat and is prepared to work harder than ever to return to the court.
Brandt was averaging 11.3 points and 8.5 rebounds early in his senior season and was coming off his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Alabama in the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden.
He was well on his way to another double-double the following night against Purdue when, late in the second half, he made a quick turn at the top of the key, felt something pop in his knee and went down hard. He knew right away that his season might be over.
In his own words, Brandt talks about the unfortunate injury in New York City, what his life has been like since and his plans for the future in basketball and in life.
What went through your mind right when the injury happened?
"It was physically painful and felt like I had been shot. I kind of knew right when it happened that my season was over. I just felt how my knee moved and how painful it was. On the court, I don't think I realized that it might be season ending or whatever. I was just in shock and didn't know how severe it was. It's kind of a blur now thinking back on it. I think when I realized my season was over was when I was back in the locker room and the doctors were looking at it and doing tests for ACL injuries."
Did it make it worse since you were playing so well and it was your senior year?
"It was my senior year and I think I had prepared harder and was more focused for this year than any preseason before this one. I was in a real good state of mind and playing well so it was really disappointing to have this injury. It took a while to sink in and fully grasp what it all meant. But I think I've come to terms with it now."
What was the process like for you from the injury until now?
"After the injury, I started doing pre-operation therapy so I could try to get the swelling out and be as strong as possible for the surgery. Once I had surgery, I've been doing rehab and the same sort of thing of just getting the swelling out and getting range of motion back and strengthening the leg again."
How difficult has it been to be at practices and games and know you can't be out there to help the team?
"At first it was really hard for me to be at games especially because I couldn't be out there. The first couple of games were really hard for me to watch. Not because we were playing bad; we were playing really well. But it was more because I couldn't play and couldn't be out there and be a part of it. I'm starting to try to take on more of a leadership role in different areas like helping our freshmen and giving pointers to guys. I'm just doing the little things that I see and just try to be more of a positive voice on the bench. I try to give helpful tips rather than negative things."
Did you ever think something like this would happen to you?
"Injuries are a part of sports. If you play a sport long enough you'll eventually have a serious injury. I didn't ever think about it happening this year. I thought that the first practice of this year was going to be my last first practice in college. So it never crossed my mind that I would be hurt this year at all. I thought I would play every game and that would be it."
How have you remained so upbeat with everything that happened?
"I try to be upbeat when I'm around lots of people. But there have been times when I've been down about the whole thing. Even upset about the whole thing. For the most part, I've been pretty good about it just because I've had so many good people around me and giving me so much support. The outpouring of support I got from all of the fans was really heartwarming. On our Facebook page all of the messages that were sent to me were really kind and I really appreciated them. All of my teammates, the support they've given me has been great. My roommate (Oregon State golfer David Fink) and my girlfriend (Oregon State soccer player Megan Miller) both really helped me out the couple of days after surgery because I was laid up in bed and couldn't do anything. So they really looked after me. I'm blessed to have such caring people in my life that care for me so much."
What are your plans for the future?
"I want to come back to Oregon State next year and finish out what I started the way it's meant to be finished. I'll just take more classes and make sure I'm eligible. I'll still graduate at the end of spring and next year I'm still trying to figure out what I'll do academically. I have a few different things floating around that I might want to do. So I need to figure that out. But I'm sure I'll figure something out to do to keep me here."
What if someone gives you the opportunity to play professional basketball?
"That has crossed my mind, too. I've talked to Coach Robinson a little bit about that. If I was to get an offer to play basketball, and it was too good to turn down, then I'll probably take it. But, at this stage, it's improbable that it will happen just because of the nature of this injury. Teams are usually uneasy about offering contracts to guys who they haven't seen play after an ACL recovery just because it's so different for each person's recovery. I think the percentage of me coming back to Oregon State next year is probably 90 to 95 percent that I come back."
What will your goals be for next season if you come back to Oregon State?
"If I come back, my goals for next season won't be any different than what they were this season. I want to try and improve on last year. I'd like to try to get off to the same start that I had this year. That's my personal goal. From a team standpoint, I'd like to get us to the NCAA Tournament. I would have the same goals that I had this year."
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