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GAC's Brogdon thrives with mature approach

Photo by Ben Beitzel

Photo by Ben Beitzel

NORCROSS -- Malcolm Brogdon grew up watching his brother play basketball.

Rather, he watched him practice.

"I used to see him in the gym each day working really hard," Brogdon said of his brother, John. "I wanted to work hard at something, so I picked basketball. I followed him and his work ethic."

His declaration comes with a deep, confident voice more mature than his age and his appearance. But his voice belies a self-awareness absent in most high school juniors.

Brogdon started playing basketball in fourth grade and decided at an early age to focus solely on his game to "get really good."

You don't need numbers to see he is achieving his goals.

Greater Atlanta Christian's basketball team always has talent. The Spartans, under first-year head coach Eddie Martin, made the third round of the state tournament last year and lost just 10 games on the season. But watching a GAC practice, even with three hoops in use and shots flying up from everywhere, it is easy to pick out Brogdon's smooth shot.

When they have internal shooting competitions, it's his voice ringing above all else. It's his first season at the Norcross school and he is already a leader.

"I see myself, a lot of the time, as a vocal leader on the team," Brogdon said.

His voice's strength makes that easy. But his game backs it up.

He leads Gwinnett County in scoring average at 22.2 points a game, he is second on the Spartans with 7.3 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists. He typically draws the opponent's best offensive player to guard. Defense is a new feature to his game since arriving at GAC this year from Fayette County.

The switch was the second in as many years for Brogdon, who said he came to Gwinnett to be closer to his aging grandparents.

"The people here are really nice," Brogdon said. "They are welcoming."

But he still had to learn to play with a new team that didn't lack leadership.

"It took me the whole summer, during summer league to (adjust)," he said. "But I have really good teammates so they helped me adjust really well."

Shooting is Brogdon's favorite thing to do on the court, but he knows it's not enough. And it's more than just words. He is specific.

"I would like to start getting to the point where I am playing, consistently, an all-around game in terms of rebounds, assists and I don't want that to fluctuate," he said. "My points average has been pretty good and my assists average has been OK. I am just trying to get everything up there."

How can you do that?

"(By improving) my explosiveness off the ground, in terms of dunking and getting up in the air and my ball handling because that is what college coaches say I need to work on my ball handling because I might end up playing point guard in college," is Brogdon's answer.

He ranks among the most goal-focused high school juniors in Georgia. Major and mid-major colleges are already calling on Brogdon and his game is buoyed by his 3.5 GPA. Even Stanford is taking a look.

"I have really tried to bear down and focus on my grade because basketball can take up a lot of your time," he said.

It takes up all his time, and it shows.

"I just play basketball," he said.