College Basketball

Assistant coach Brandon Brantley is the secret to Purdue’s post production

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — The Purdue men’s basketball team is headed to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in five tournaments.

The common denominator over the years has been the play of the Boilermakers’ big men, because how on earth do you defend someone 7 feet, 4 inches tall? 

Trying to contain Zach Edey — the Big Ten’s biggest center — and one of the best passers in the conference in 6-foot-10 Trevion Williams is a tall task. 

Assistant coach Brandon Brantley has been instrumental in making Purdue the program for true bigs. In the last nine years, he has consistently developed centers like A.J. Hammons, Isaac Haas, Matt Haarms, Williams and Edey.

“Well, I’ve enjoyed the view. I get a chance to work with two incredible young men and they were blessed with a lot of talent. You know, [head coach Matt Painter] set the blueprint. [He’s] very excellent at knowing what guys need when they come to our program,” Brantley said.

Brantley’s success in building Boiler big men starts on the recruiting trail but continues because of his commitment.

“I think what separates [Brantley] from a lot of people is his ability to understand his players,” Williams said. “He’s always been very caring. And he’s always wanting to know more about the person rather than the player.

“Just the sacrifice that [the coaches] make. They make a lot of sacrifices for the bigs that do come in and they want success for for everyone that that does come in, and they’re not the type of guys to go for that, that five-star type, you know. They want those guys that they can develop and and make better throughout the years.”

Edey agrees.

“He’ll always stay after practice with me. I shoot with him and sometimes, I don’t leave that film room till, like, 7 o’clock at night. He has a family, he has a wife, but he’s in there with me. So he teaches me and makes it easier to work hard and that really helps me a lot,” the sophomore said.

Brantley knows what works in the post. He won three Big Ten championships when he played for Purdue in the mid-’90s, and two more while on staff.

“We throw the ball inside more than a lot of other other teams out there, which is a little different in today’s landscape,” Painter said. “But the time you have to put in with those guys is really important, just to break down all their decision-making. A lot of coaches don’t put big guys in decision-making positions, and we do, so that there’s a responsibility and accountability there for all those guys, and [Brantley] does a good job with that.”

His formula? Keep it simple and always relaxed.

“He dances a lot,” Williams said. “I would say that’s something I can relate to. I’m a dancer myself. He’s always a lot of fun. He brings energy.”

Sweet 16 bound, Brantley will once again be scheming as the mastermind of Purdue’s presence in the paint.