Brandeis men’s basketball takes care of business
Basketball season has returned and the men of Brandeis’ Judges have picked up right where they left off last season. This year, the Judges lost two all-University Athletic Association players and captains in Corey Sherman ’19 and Latye Workman ’18, ’19 MA. A big question the Judges faced was how they would make up for the lost playmaking from these two.
Everyone has been stepping up in a big way, especially Captain Chandler Jones ’21, who has surpassed or tied his career three times this season; he has had two 25-point games this season and had 26 points against Salem State University in the final game of the Big Four Tournament. Jones has led the team in scoring most nights but has not been without help. Captains Eric D’Aguanno ’20 and Colin Sawyer ’20 have also been making sure to pick up the slack with some of the best shooting in New England, and plenty of highlight moments including Sawyer continuing the Brandeis tradition of game winning baskets against Emerson with a sneaky cut to get an open layup with 1.1 on the clock.
Starting guard and reigning defensive player of the year Lawrence Sabir ’21 wasn’t happy with just being the best defender in the UAA last season, and has added a solid three point shot to his game. Never shooting it too often, but knowing how to find his spots and knock it down, has helped open up the court immensely for the Judges. Austin Clamage ’21 and Akim Sani ’21 have been amazing leaders for this younger Brandeis team, both always in the gym and always ready to hear their number called. Sanni Akim ’21 is always ready to step in and take some charges. In their final game before winter break, Clamage showed that he’s always been ready, shooting six of seven from the floor and from three, en route to a career-high 17 points. First-years Darrett “Daredevil” Justice ’23, Dylan Lien ’23, Mike Gao ’23 and Matan Zucker ’23 have been fantastic to start the year. Justice and Lien both have been spot starters for the Judges, while Gao and Zucker have brought a lot of energy to the front court looking for a new identity with Workman gone. The members of the sophomore class have all found their way into the rotation in some ways: Nolan Haggerty ’22 as the full time starter and rebounding extraordinaire, Kyle Downing ’22 as a workhorse spot starter hitting open shots and locking down on defense and Sam Nassar ’22 running the offense like a seasoned veteran. Head Coach Jean Bain has worked hard instilling strong principles of defense and offense into this group of players, and you can see the way that he has helped inspire and lead this team with strong assistants Sean Tabb and Sam Rubinstein helping him build strong relationships with the team.
Following the Big Four Tournament, Brandeis currently sits at 6–3 on the season going into winter break. The Judges came out with strong victories against teams like Emerson College and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and quality losses against some strong opponents such as the 15th-ranked Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The Judges sit in a good place where they can still control their destiny as far as making their first trip to the NCAA tournament in years.