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Sports

Building on a big season

Indians’ guard looks forward to July with AAU Mercury Elite

Sandwich's Jimmy Braddish (left) shoots a jumper over Plano's Bryson Schmidt (right) during a boys varsity game on Feb. 23 at Plano High School.
Sandwich's Jimmy Braddish (left) shoots a jumper over Plano's Bryson Schmidt (right) during a boys varsity game on Feb. 23 at Plano High School.

Jimmy Braddish would be hard-pressed to best his last season.

But he’s going to try.

Building off an All-Area junior year, the 6-foot-1 Sandwich guard has been busy the last few months with individual work, his high school team and travel team. It gets even busier over the next two weekends.

Braddish will be in Milwaukee both weekends with his AAU team, the Mercury Elite. The NY2LA Next Level event will be followed next weekend by the NY2LA Summer Jam.

“That’s the big one,” Braddish said. “There will be a lot of [college] coaches at both of them.”

Braddish, uncommitted, should be on their radar with his shooting alone.

As a junior, he averaged 21.6 points per game, second in the area, with 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game. He scored 41 points, one off the school record, against Reed-Custer, and won the state’s King of the Hill 3-point competition.

Braddish carries a reputation as being one of the area’s elite shooters, but is eager to build on that. Specifically, he’d like to improve on his defense, and setting up his teammates.

“My main goal for this year is trying to get quicker side to side, and just become a better ballhandler,” Braddish said, “have better vision on the floor to try to find others. Also, I’m working on my off-the-dribble moves to create more space.”

Braddish sharpens that ability with plenty of stretching and flexibility work, a lot of weight lifting and lunges with ankle bands.

He’s been talking to a few schools – namely Aurora, Illinois Wesleyan, Monmouth, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wisconsin-Platteville. Braddish also attended a camp at Platteville.

Those schools envision Braddish as a point guard, possibly a combo guard, at the next level – which means he’ll need to bring more than a good shot to the table.

“I hear that, and it motivates me to get quicker, to get better with my quickness and vision and ballhandling,” Braddish said. “I’ve learned that with better ballhandling and quickness and vision, I can play that [point guard] no problem. If I don’t have that growth, I’m more limited.”

Braddish could have a new face – or perhaps a very familiar one – on the Sandwich bench this coming year.

The Indians’ head coach, Brennan Callahan, decided toward the end of the school year to step away from coaching after five seasons at Sandwich. Braddish admitted that the news caught him a little off guard.

“I don’t think anyone really expected it; it just happened out of nowhere,” Braddish said. “We all respect his decision.”

Sandwich has yet to name a replacement. Callahan’s lead assistant – and Braddish’s dad – Jim Braddish coached the Indians during June. He’s applied for the position.

Braddish has been coached by his dad since before high school, so it’s not exactly a huge adjustment.

“It is different,” Braddish said. “Normally when you’re in the game, and your coach is telling you something to do, it’s not like a father figure in your life. Sometimes it’s hard, but once you are used to it, you get used to it. You know how to work around it. I try to look at him as my coach on the court and then my father outside.”

Regardless of who is the head coach, Braddish expects Sandwich to improve on its 14-15 season. That, more than any individual accomplishments, is what he most wants out of his senior year.

“My goal for this year is to win more games, No. 1,” Braddish said. “We really think we have a chance at winning conference and regionals. No. 2 is making everyone around me better. That’s where I think I can improve.”

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