Q+A with Elton Brand
Brand started his road to fame by being the state tournament MVP for the Red Devils during the 1994-95 and '95-96 seasons, his sophomore and junior years, when the Red Devils won their first two state championships, the former in Class C and latter in Class B, in school history.
They were also the first team in state history to win back-to-back state titles after moving up a class.
Individually, in his junior year, Brand was named a Con Ed Scholar Athlete award winner, a rarity for someone who was a junior, and as a senior, he earned the Mr. New York Basketball award.
Before going onto the NBA, Brand played at Duke University, where he was named the John R. Wooden National Player of the Year in '98-99, leading the Blue Devils to the National Title Game.
The famous ball player has never forgotten his roots. He runs an annual basketball clinic for local kids and was in town Saturday to run this year's event, which was part of Peekskill Celebration, at Peekskill Middle School.
As you could imagine, Brand was in high demand in Peekskill Saturday, but he graciously took the time to talk to the Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch Daily Sports Digest. We thank him for that and for all the cooperation he has given me since he was in high school. Also, thanks to him and his teammates for making a dream come true on March 18, 1995, when the Red Devils won that elusive state crown.
Q. What does it mean to you to come back to your hometown?
A. It means everything. There isn't anything better than being back here with family and friends. This is the community that made it all possible for me.
Q. Once the Phildelphia 76ers, the team you played for the past four years, released you through the amnesty clause, you said you were hoping that the Dallas Mavericks would claim you. Why was that?
A. After I got amnestied from Phildadelphia, Dallas was the best team for me. Sacramento, Charlotte and other teams that could have claimed me were rebuilding. Dallas (which won the NBA title in 2011) is already there.
Q. What are your goals with the Dallas Mavericks this season?
A. My goals are whether it is coming off the bench or starting, just to win as many games as possible.
Q. In September, you and your '94-95 teammates, which won Peekskill's first state title in school history, will be inducted as a team into the Peekskill High School Athletic Hall of Fame. What does that mean to you?
A. It's an honor and a privelage. No one player is bigger than the team. They are my teammates and we did it together. That is what made it special.
Q. You believed from day one that you guys could break through and win Peekskill's first state title. Why was that?
A. I knew we had the talent and the coach in Coach P (Lou Panzanaro). As the season went on, we just got better and better. That's what it was.
Hudson Valley, which includes Walter Panas' Vaughn Dweck, beat Buffalo 80-69 to improve to 3-0 at the BCANY Summer Hoops Festival in Johnson City according to Josh Thomson's post on the LoHud Varsity Insider.
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