“I was at work when I got the call. It was either going to break my heart, or make it.”
This is the story of a stubborn mind. A determined consciousness with a refusal to quit. This is the story of Brandan Striplin, and his unconventional quest to an NBA D-League contract.
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Brandan Striplin graduated from Milpitas (Calif.) High School in 2006. After high school, he attended Foothill Community College in Los Altos where he played basketball for one season, subsequently deciding to transfer after his freshman year.
“Things didn’t workout there,” says Striplin. “They just didn’t work out.”
In contact with several schools, Striplin chose UC Davis. A San Jose native, Davis was only two hours away. It was close to home, but still provided him the feeling of a fresh start and new beginning.
After deciding on Davis, he contacted Aggies assistant coach John Lamanna. The two e-mailed back and forth, with Coach informing Striplin they were interested and wanted to stay in touch over summer.
Summer ended and school began. On his first day of school, Striplin met with Coach Lamanna in his office. The head coach, Gary Stewart, was also there. He informed Coach Stewart of his previous discussions with Coach Lamanna, and a decision was made to add him to his basketball class.
This opportunity presented Striplin the venue to showcase his abilities, his personality and his passion for game. Hopefully Coach Stewart would see this fire and put him on the team. But things didn’t exactly go to plan.
“Coach really didn’t say a word to me once I was in the class,” says Striplin. “And I was killing these cats. Just demolishing them.”
After a term of unexplained cold shoulders, Striplin didn’t know where he stood with everything.
“I took that personally,” says Striplin. “I thought to myself, ‘You know what, if he’s going to ignore me, I’m going to make sure I destroy all his players in intramurals.'”
And that’s exactly what he did.