Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Southeastern High’s Brandan Kearney is the top player for perhaps the state’s best high school basketball team.
The 6-6 guard-forward is also the Detroit Public School League’s Proud Strong Learner of the Week after his strong performances led Coach George Ward’s Jungaleers to victories against two of their toughest challengers in the PSL East Division.
“Being the No. 1 team, we know that we’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” said Kearney, who scored 17 of his team’s 28 points in the third quarter to blow open a close game last week Tuesday as Southeastern defeated previously unbeaten Douglass 66-54.
“There’s a lot of pressure that goes with being on top, but we deal with it as a team by making sure that we keep practicing and getting better.”
Kearney, who scored 22 points in the Jungaleers’ 75-68 victory against defending PSL champion Pershing last Friday, credits his coaches and teammates for allowing his talents to shine. “We’ve got a swagger and confidence coming into games, and that’s a good thing,” he said.
“We have a few different strengths and that’s what makes us a good team. We’re good shooting from the outside, but we can also go inside to big Percy (Gibson) and that gives us a balanced attack. Our main strength is we can pressure the ball with our guards and we can get out and run.”
A scholar-athlete with a 3.2 grade point average, Kearney was one of the nation’s most heavily-recruited prep players. With a goal of winning the PSL and state Class A championships, he ended the suspense prior to this season by announcing his decision to play for Michigan State University.
“That’s one of the reasons I made the decision to commit to Michigan State before this season,” he said. “I want to be focused on the rest of my high school career, on the court as well as off the court. It relieves some of the pressure.”
But, there’s still pressure when you play every game with a target on your back, Kearney agrees. Southeastern opened the season ranked No. 1 in the state, but now has to go out and prove it. The Jungaleers have lost just once this season, to defending state champion Kalamazoo Central but Kearney feels their goals of winning the city and state are well within reach.
“We can’t worry about what else is going on other than what we’re doing,” he said. “If we keep preparing, practicing and we stay together as a team, we’re very equipped to win both the city and the state.”