Knapp’s tough decision helps BobcatsPublished 4:09pm Monday, December 23, 2013
Brandywine boys basketball coach Nathan Knapp faced his toughest decision last year before the season even started.
Knapp had decide whether to put his son, Austin, who was just a freshman, on the varsity.
“I didn’t think he could handle it,” said the Bobcats’ coach.
Ultimately, the elder Knapp was overruled.
“The coaches around me said he could do it,” Nathan said.
Experience playing with older basketball players while participating in travel ball during the summer swayed the assistant coaches to voice their opinion.
“I think his maturity level has gone up being around older kids,” Nathan said.
The move has paid off for the Brandywine program as Austin has been a solid contributor during his two years on the varsity.
As a freshman, Austin averaged 4.3 points and 5 rebounds a game starting and coming off the bench.
“I was surprised when I made the varsity as a freshman,” Austin said. “From talking with my dad I didn’t think I would be on the varsity. My dad thought that the JV would be a good place for me. All the coaches decided it would be better for me to be on the varsity.”
This season, Austin is the team’s leading scorer (12.5 ppg.) and rebounder (8 rpg.) through two games.
“Playing football has helped him a lot,” Nathan said. “He has spent a lot of time in the weight room. He has to work on his foot speed. He spends a lot of time shooting and his ball-handling is good. He’s becoming a good leader. He’s a competitor, who hates to lose. Austin has a passion for basketball and he wears it on his sleeve.”
Playing basketball for his dad was nothing new for Austin. When he was five years old Austin had his dad for a coach in Brandywine’s midget league.
“Other coaches coached him when he was younger,” Nathan said. “I had a hard time separating dad and coach.
“He’s grown up quite a bit in high school. I’m harder on him than the other kids. I push him harder knowing I can get away with it. My wife (Kimberly) knows when I cross the line.”
How does Austin handle his father’s tough love?
“It’s allright,” Nathan said. “You have to make the separation of dad and coach. He gets on me a lot so he’s not favoring me. I’ve got to take it, like you’d have to with any other coach. You have to be a coachable player. I love basketball.”
Austin is also a good listener at home with his father.
“We talk about basketball a lot and what I can still work on,” Austin said. “He’s still my dad. He talks to me about everything.”
Austin appears headed to a long varsity basketball career like his father, who graduated from Brandywine in 1994.
The two have had their share of pick-up games at home.
“He’s got some talent,” Nathan said about his son. “I wish I had that much talent. It’s a battle when we play each other. He’s a little quicker than me because I’m old.”
“My dad recently had surgery on his shoulder and he uses it as an excuse on why he won’t play me anymore,” Austin said. “I beat him the last time a couple months ago.
“I think our personalities are a lot alike. We like to compete and win. We don’t like losing.”