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Interview with Brian Beckford

February 4, 2004 Columns No Comments

Insight into Brian Beckford

by Keith Irizarry

If you were 6-7, 185 pounds, a senior in high school, and one of the best basketball players on your team, how would you act? That’s a loaded question, huh? Most 17 or 18 year old kids would be cocky and walk with “that” swagger. We all know “that” swagger. It exudes an air of confidence, and sometimes a holier than thou feeling. This is one of those attributes in a person that most people despise. No one wants to feel as if they are lesser than another person. Well, Brian Beckford, senior forward at Christ the King, COULD be all these things, but he marches to a different beat. Not only is he a solid basketball player, averaging well over double-digits in scoring, but he’s a great kid off the court. In the world of high school to NBA jumps and often pushing the young bucks to become men too early, Brian is happy just being a kid. It’s refreshing to see a kid with his feet firmly on the ground.

Basketball-wise, fans love him and teammates respect him. His game looks effortless, sometimes he may even look a little aloof, but don’t get it twisted, Beckford is a player. He lives up to the hype of what the basketball world expects of the new breed of small forwards. He’s long, lean, can dribble, shoot, rebound, defend, and most importantly pass like a point guard.

Coaches say that he often takes plays off, which is a no-no in any sport. Brian has even recognized this fault. How will he fix it? Take a look at his numbers (double digit scoring outputs are becoming the norm). Open the door, the maintenance man is here, and his name is Brian Beckford. His first project begins with himself.

If you haven’t heard about Brian Beckford, that’s understandable. Maybe it’s because of his quiet and unassuming nature. Maybe it’s because he’s had an up and down junior and senior year. Or, maybe it’s because he has just slipped under the proverbial recruiting radar and continues to see his name left off of all the top 100 lists. Nonetheless, you will be hearing more and more from this kid in the coming years.

Irizarry: Tell me a little about the recruiting process that’s going on right now (Brian has yet to commit to a school): what schools are looking at you and what schools are you interested in?

Beckford: Right now I’m looking at Rutgers, Quinnipiac, St. Peter’s offered, Central Connecticut, I expect more, but it’s good right now, I’m not going to complain. I’m just looking to finish the season up strong and hopefully more schools will enter.

Irizarry: As a senior, do you almost feel like you’ve been overlooked on the recruiting radar?

Beckford: Yeah, definitely, but I can’t really complain because there have been some games where I was inconsistent. I’ve been picking it up lately, so I feel I’m going to get what I deserve.

Irizarry: You talk about consistency, what’s the biggest part of your game that needs to be fixed?

Beckford: Intensity, aggressiveness. I can’t say sometimes I don’t come out to play, but being one of the only seniors, I feel as if sometimes I need to step it up more.

Irizarry: You are 6-7, you are probably a small forward on the college level, but one of your best attributes is your vision, talk about how you just see the court so well.

Beckford: I actually don’t know how that came about. If you’re open, I’ll just find you. I just like doing it, it’s fun. It gets me excited to hit someone with a pass or an assist.

Irizarry: Your Christ the King team has struggled this year, but you knocked off a nationally ranked Rice team and have a few good wins, why such a slow start?

Beckford: Yeah, we started slow, the players have been there the whole time, it was just a matter of them finding their roles, and that’s what has happened. Now people are seeing how good we can really be. We are not really looking for respect; we just want to win games.

Irizarry: You mentioned being a senior, an elder statesman if you will. Tell me a little about some of your younger guys like Akeem Gooding, Niko Scott, and Chris Martin.

Beckford: Akeem Gooding, wow, he’s one of the reasons we beat Rice, scoring 33 points. Chris Martin is doing well turning into a point guard, and Niko started off slow, but he’s finding his role. The young players are just good. That’s what is holding us together, to tell you the truth.

Irizarry: What goals do you guys have for this season?

Beckford: We want to try and win the rest of the way and get back up to Glens Falls for the championships, but just to win the Brooklyn/Queens Championship would be good. To go far in the New York City Diocesan Playoffs would be great too.

Irizarry: When did you start playing basketball?

Beckford: I say maybe, 11 or 12. Organized ball, I probably started playing at 13, so it hasn’t been that long.

Irizarry: If you started playing basketball so late, what sports were you playing before that?

Beckford: I actually didn’t play anything. I just kind of hung out and after a while, I started going to the parks and playing. People said I could be good, so I kept playing and I’m here now.

Irizarry: Off the court, who do you look to as a role model?

Beckford: Definitely my mother and actually, my JV coach at Christ the King, Artie Cox, he helped me and talked to me a lot. But mostly my mother, she is my parent figure and guides me through everything.

Irizarry: What would your mother say is your greatest attribute off the court?

Beckford: I’m very friendly and outgoing. A lot of people like my personality.

Irizarry: What is Brian Beckford, the student like?

Beckford: Well, as a student, I’ve really picked things up. When I first started as a freshman, I had failed off, but I really picked up my grades a lot, it’s like a B average. I did pretty well on my SAT’s, but I’m looking to take it again and get it even higher. I’m proud of myself right now as a student.

Irizarry: If you could break out a psychic crystal ball, what does the future hold for you?

Beckford: I don’t know, if sports don’t carry me, I’m just hoping to be a successful business man. Right now, I’m just trying to be a kid.

Irizarry: Any NBA player or college players that you model your game after?

Beckford: I don’t know, that would be for the spectators to tell you. I just see myself as Brian Beckford; I just come out and play as myself.

Irizarry: If you had one word or one sentence to describe yourself, what would it be?

Beckford: (after a few seconds of squirming) I don’t know, that’s for other people to say.

Irizarry: I’ll give you the word, how about humble?

Beckford: Yeah, maybe that, that’s a good one.


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