When someone is told they can’t do something, some feel discouraged and don’t believe they can do it. Others feel stronger and work to show how they can do it. One of the latter is forward Brendan Casper. Casper came out of Methacton High School not having a single Division I offer to play basketball, but that didn’t matter. Casper’s dream was to play Division I ball, and that is what he got to do.
“I knew I would have to work that much harder coming in as a walk-on,” Casper said.
Casper’s plan coming in as a walk-on was to work as hard as he possibly could and be hopeful that all that hard work would make good things happen. That hard work quickly paid off, as he played in 23 games, and was voted most improved player his sophomore year. Not only did he have to work hard on the court for his minutes, but he worked hard in the classroom as well and achieved academic excellence his junior year, being named to the honor roll both semesters of that year. The hard work never stopped for Casper though, which paid off as he was then granted a scholarship for the last semester of his junior year and all of his senior year.
The toughest thing for Casper’s transition from high school to college was getting his body right for the game at a higher level. The speed of the game, the athleticism of the athletes, and the work that had to be put in off the court was something that definitely changed. Casper mentions how the higher-level game is so much different, going from three months of high school basketball to preseason, practices, games, postseason, and workouts over pretty much the entire year in college.
“The hardest transition was playing on a team where everyone was the best player from their high school and everyone wants to play as much as they can,” he said. That is why Casper had to work as hard as he did these past four years.
When Casper walked on his freshman year, he wasn’t the only freshman on the team: current Atlanta Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry was the other freshman on the Saint Joseph’s Hawks
“We still keep in touch, and I couldn’t be happier for him and his success,” Casper said of his relationship with Bembry.
Casper and Bembry spent three years on the court together, and one might wonder how that shaped both of them to be the players they are today.
“His competitiveness and his attitude towards the game made me work even harder as a player,” the senior captain said.
In practices, Casper wanted to show Bembry that he wouldn’t back down from any challenge, no matter how good the other player was. The biggest thing Casper mentioned was going against one another in practices; it pushed both of them to be the best they could be. They would both give all they had so that the other one was always improving.
As Casper’s time on Hawk Hill is winding down, he reflects on his biggest takeaway from four years as a Hawk.
“Being able to do things that people told me I couldn’t,” he said. “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do in life because it’s up to you to decide. If you think you can do it, you can.”
As Casper thinks back on his time as a Hawk, he wouldn’t change anything if he had the chance.
“I have done everything I’ve wanted to do, and good things have happened from that. Besides wanting to win more games, from a personal standpoint I have no regrets,” said Casper.
Casper’s post-graduation plans don’t include basketball, however. He mentions he has no desire to play professionally and that he has enjoyed the time he has had with the game but he is ready to start working in the real world with the opportunities he has set up.
Most don’t get the chance to play basketball at the highest level in college, but even though Casper was told he couldn’t because he had no offers, he took the chance as a walk-on and it has all been worth it. His advice to anyone thinking of walking on to a team?
“Work hard, have fun, enjoy it, and you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”