The Olympia High junior varsity basketball team played rival Dr. Philips in front of a large crowd Jan. 6, with the game reaching its apex as fans were arriving for the evening’s varsity game. After trailing in the fourth, the Titans forced overtime, where sophomore guard Jalen Brinson hit two big 3-pointers — part of his 23 points, overall — to help lift his team to the 59-55 victory.
Was the game against Dr. Phillips one of the bigger crowds you have played in front of on the junior varsity team?
It was one of the biggest, yes. It was fun. At the end of the game we were down three or four — DP (Dr. Philips) was a great team. We started pulling back, the crowd started getting into it, and we got the W at the end of the game.
What was it like to hit those two big 3-pointers in overtime?
My coach always tells me to trust what I’m doing and trust in what we do. I just trusted my shot and trusted my teammates — if it wasn’t for my teammate Aaron (Cleveland) hitting two big free throws before that, I would never have even got the chance to shoot those shots.
What have you been working on as an individual this season?
Just self-confidence. Before the season, I used to doubt things I do. … Self-confidence, ball-handling and shooting the rock.
Which varsity player do you look up to the most?
Probably Khadry (Jackson) because he is in the same grade as me and he plays really well. He doesn’t let anything get to him and I see how hard he works in practice.
Who is your favorite NBA player and why?
Tyler Ulis because he’s always been an underdog his whole life standing at 5'8", 5'9". He went to Kentucky and didn’t start his freshman year, came back his sophomore year and averaged nearly a triple-double and now he’s in the NBA doing big things for the Phoenix Suns.
What about your favorite NBA team?
Orlando Magic — I’m a hometown kid.
Any idea how to fix the Magic?
I think we need a new (general manager) — I don’t like Rob Hennigan.
What do you think you have to do to make varsity next season?
Just my strength. I have the knowledge, I.Q., skill and speed to play varsity. It’s just my strength that is holding me back.
What is your favorite class during the school day?
It has to be my world history class, because I love my teacher Mr. (Brett) Palmi.
What do you think you would like to do for a career?
Be a (athletic) trainer. I want to do something basketball-related, so to be on the court helping people work out all their muscles and stuff.