Junior leads Broncos basketball on and off the court
THE SANTA CLARA
January 28, 2016
Jared Brownridge has proven his dominance on the court. A junior guard, averages 19.4 points per game, which accounts for 30 percent of the team’s total scoring. He is on pace to become the second-leading scorer in Santa Clara history, behind Kevin Foster, who graduated in 2013.
“You know he can score at any moment,” said freshman point guard KJ Fiegan.
Kerry Keating, who has been the Head Coach of the team for the past nine seasons, is quick to praise Brownridge for his abilities.
“Jared is a scorer, plain and simple,” said Coach Kerry Keating. “When he’s been taken out of position to score, he still gets his teammates opportunities just by being on the floor. The majority of passes you give him are going to be scores, so it helps me with my assists.”
With only one senior on Santa Clara’s roster, Brownridge has also had to step up and be a leader for a young Santa Clara squad.
“He’s learning how to not just hold himself accountable, but his teammates too,” Coach Keating said.
Brownridge has taken the challenge upon himself.
“I try to the best of my ability to be there for my teammates, just like how I can count on them for their roles,” Brownridge said. “We hold each other accountable.”
One thing that is clear upon meeting Brownridge is that he is a high-character person, and is much more than just a basketball player. He is humble, and is always pushing himself to be the best he can.
“My first impression of him was exactly what you get from Jared, he’s a solid down to earth kid who really cares about his family and his teammates,” Coach Keating said, who first recruited Brownridge after his sophomore year of high school. “He cares about doing stuff right.”
In the classroom, Brownridge is majoring in communication and minoring in entrepreneurship.
“I chose communication because I like to talk with people, and I like to do interviews,” Brownridge said. “I chose the entrepreneurship minor because I like the business side of things and my father was in business. Entrepreneurship really draws my attention because I like coming up with new ideas. I’m kind of getting the best of both worlds.”
Out of Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, IL, Brownridge got an offer from Southern Illinois University, but chose Santa Clara instead.
“I thought it was best for me, and I still think it is best for me,” Brownridge said of his college choice. “The coaching staff and the people I’ve been able to meet here have been so supportive for everything that I do.”
Coach Keating also recognizes that Brownridge’s choice of school wasn’t just about basketball.
“You are able to detect pretty quick that he wants more out of college than just basketball,” Keating said. “Obviously that was a big factor in his choosing to come to school here. He’s a great representation of our university.”
He dreams of playing basketball professionally, but he also wants to remain involved with Santa Clara.
“So many people have offered me their help and support in any way that they can,” he said. “When I graduate college, I want to come back to this school, and help out in any way that I can, be there for anybody, and support people any way that I can.”
In his two and a half years at Santa Clara, Brownridge has accomplished a lot already. He has proven himself as one of the premier scoring guards in the country, became a team leader, worked hard in the classroom.
Brownridge has embraced his leadership role on the team to do everything he can to help the team the rest of this season.
“Though we are going through some tough times with our season right now, I think the experience from this year will be great in the long run,” Brownridge said. “We will be able to learn from our mistakes, and hopefully make up for it.”
Not only will the experience be key this season, but it will be crucial for a promising season next year that will essentially return the same group of players.
That’s not to say that this season has been a complete disappointment. At a neutral location, Santa Clara was able to take No. 11 Arizona to double overtime behind a career high 44 points for Brownridge, only to lose 75-73. At home against No. 24 Gonzaga on New Year’s Eve, 26 points from Brownridge were enough to take the Bulldogs down to the last possession, but the Broncos came up short again, losing 79-77. Those two games were heartbreaking losses for a team trying to get an early-season signature win, but Brownridge said there are plenty of lessons to take away from that experience.
“We need to see where we failed and learn from those small mistakes, and going forward turn those into wins,” Brownridge said.
This season’s scheduling didn’t do the Broncos any favors. Two of the games with the greatest student turnout were scheduled over Christmas break.
The home games against Gonzaga and St. Mary’s were poorly attended, since many students left campus to celebrate the holidays.
“We definitely feed off the energy when the students are there,” Brownridge said. “I wish they were there more often, because it’s always an advantage when you have a lot of people in the stands at a home game.”
However, Brownridge still has more to contribute to the university. When I asked Coach Keating about his favorite memory or accomplishment of Brownridge so far, he said, “There’s a lot of them, but hopefully the best one is yet to come.”
Contact Bo Kendall at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.