Senior basketball player Brennan McDaniel is moving on to the University of Chicago this fall after putting together two excellent years at Woodward as both a student and an athlete.

 

How does it feel to be wrapping up your final year at Woodward, both as a student and as a basketball player?

I am truly having mixed emotions as I end my high school tenure at Woodward. I am very grateful to have been able to play with the guys on the team, as well as under the coaching staff that we have for the past two years. Both the players and coaches alike have not only made me a better basketball player, but have also made me a better person overall. The ending of the season is bittersweet because of course your dream as a high school player is to go all the way and win a state title, but even though we didn't get the job done, I still have the opportunity to play four more years at the collegiate level. As a student, I will miss seeing my friends every day, but at the same time, I am ready for the college life!

What has being a part of the basketball team at Woodward taught you? What have you learned from Coach Thomas in particular?

The biggest thing that the Woodward basketball program has taught me is accountability to your team and to yourself. In life, as you work with others and go out into the real world and connect, it's important for people to be able to trust in you and know that you will get the job done or at least give it all you have. What I realized is that before you can gain the trust of the "team," you really have to trust in yourself and put in the extra work to set yourself up for success and put yourself in the position to succeed. Coach Thomas really harped on the idea of having your brother's back by giving 110% even before you step onto the basketball court. Putting the time in to your schoolwork, getting up extra shots after a tough practice, and anything else to eliminate distractions and put yourself ahead of the curve is not only appreciated but also expected. Those types of things will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Looking back at your time at Woodward, what are you most proud of?

Since my time at Woodward was short, I am most proud of my transitional junior year. Coming from one school to another during one of the most important years of high school as far as grades is concerned was definitely a major concern for me. I really struggled my first semester, but to be able to end the year with a 3.56 GPA, induction into the National Honors Society, and being named an Honorable Mention for our region in basketball was a tremendous feat.

What went into the decision to go to the University of Chicago, and what other schools were you considering?

Originally, the University of Chicago was not on my list. I had never heard of the school. Coach Thomas recommended it to me when I first came to Woodward in my junior year as a possibility but I didn't give it much thought. I knew I wanted a mid-sized school that was in a major city (DC, Chicago, New York, Boston, etc.), a college that had a central campus and wasn't very spread out, high academics and mid-tier athletics, and a good international relations and economics program. I had started going to prospect camps in the summer before my senior year. That is where I got most of my exposure. I was getting looks from a lot of Division III schools, some Division II schools, and some Ivy League schools. After touring a couple of colleges, I narrowed my search. When I visited the University of Chicago that August I could really see myself at the school and it seemed to feel more like home for me. I am definitely excited to venture off into a new city, especially Chicago! I am eager to see what life up there has in store for me.

What are your goals in the future, both academically and athletically?

As far as basketball, I want to see how far I can take it. I just want to become the best basketball player I can be and then see where I end up. If that turns out to be pro, then I'm all for it. Academically, I want to go into the business realm of things and possibly major in economics with a minor in international relations. International business is really interesting to me. I am a people person that thrives off of social interaction, and I’m very interested in the study of people's behavioral reactions to changes in the economy as well as the intricacies of a business. I also like to study other cultures and see how people around the world live. So combining all of these interests to try to connect the world more is what I plan to do.

What's your prediction for Woodward basketball next year? How much are they going to miss you?

If the guys put in the work during the offseason, the team could be something really special next year. Next year's team has a lot of guys who could play multiple positions. So being able to have that flexibility will really make it hard for other teams to slow our guys down. But the season next year all depends on the attitude and mindset the leaders of the team demonstrate. If it's positive, then they have a bright future. Lastly, I think the guys are sick of hearing me scream and yell on the court, but I think they'll miss me just a little!