PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

January 16, 2013

Brandon Pham shooting to top for Port Neches-Groves

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News

PORT NECHES — To understand the progression of Port Neches-Groves senior guard Brandon Pham, you have to look back to last season. That’s when his journey to becoming a leader on the court for the Indians began.

From sliding into the point guard role to taking over the scoring load this season, Pham has become an integral part of the Indians’ success this season.

“It’s started last year with his junior year,” PN-G head coach Pat Abel said. “He had to step into the point guard role and he showed a lot of leadership as a junior. That’s carried over this year in practice and in games. He’s a true vocal leader on the floor. He’s just a super kid. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to coach him. He makes our wheel spin quite a bit.”

Pham had some big scoring nights last season because of his outside shot, but the PN-G offense often flowed through then-senior Jayce Nelson. This year, it’s all Pham, who has averaged 17.8 points per game in his last 11.

This year, Pham has grown into a leader for the Indians, helping them to a 3-3 district record after a 2-10 start to the season.

“It’s a big change” Pham said. “I feel like we’re closer as a team this year. That helps out. My whole life I’ve been a scorer. I’ve just walked right into this spot. I’ve gotten a lot more confident in my shot and have been looking for it more than last year.”

Part of his success has been his outside shot. Pham made 22 3-pointers in the Orangefield tournament and has basically been shooting since he got to high school four years ago.

“He’s got a real smooth stroke,” Abel said. “When he gets into his shot, he shoots it pretty well. But, he’s got the quickness so he’s able to penetrate when someone closes out too quick on him. He sees the court pretty well, too. He’s a pretty good one at the guard position. He’s worked on his shot a bunch in the summertime and offseason. He’s just a good shooter.”

After playing point last season, Pham has slid over to more of a two-guard role this year while Ramil Glorioso runs the point. Having two ball handlers on the court at the same time is a luxury for Abel, especially when teams try to defend the Indians with presses.

“Everyone loves those big men, but without those guards, it’s tough to make things operate,” Abel said. “We’ve got two pretty good ones to help us out. Most of the defenses we play are geared to shutting down our guards. But, our guards seem to handle pretty much any pressure they see. We’ve played some pretty tough competition to test them out. They’re both playing well right now.”

Pham’s favorite moment this season came when the Indians roared back from a two-point halftime deficit to beat Little Cypress-Mauriceville 56-47. Pham had 21 in the game as the Indians moved to 2-0 in district play, equaling their district win total from the season before.

“The LC-M game really sparked us,” Pham said. “ Just how we fought back in the game was great. We had a lead and dropped it. Then, we got it back and pushed it up. We fought hard that game.”

Pham didn’t get a chance to play on the last Indians team to make the playoffs, but it’s definitely a goal he and his teammates are working towards this time around.

“I’m hoping we get a chance to (get to the playoffs),” Pham said. “We’re really expecting to get in this year.”

NOTES: The son of Kris and Jeff Pham, Brandon is interested in going to college for Biology with an eye towards entering the medical field. He’d like to either be a pediatrician or work in pharmaceuticals, as his parents own a pharmacy here. … Pham’s season high for points is 27, which he scored against Corsicana in the Orangefield tournament. He scored 26 against Galveston Ball in the Orangefield third place game and averaged 22 points per game and was selected to the all-tournament team….Pham was named to the District 20-4A all-district second team last season as a junior. He was one of just two PN-G players named to the team last year.