Men’s Basketball | Photo by Arden Reimer | The Wright State Guardian
Through perseverance and hard work, redshirt freshman Brandon Noel overcame multiple setbacks to unmask his true potential on the basketball court.
Noel’s journey at Wright State began in 2020 as he entered his true freshman season. In late September, Noel encountered a significant setback that would alter the early phases of his playing career.
During a preseason workout, Noel and his teammates were warming up when Noel tore his left ACL, ending his season before it started.
“It was within the first five minutes of the workout, and we were warming up doing drills, and I tore it right away,” Noel said.
Noel waited one month to get surgery before undergoing an eight- to nine-month recovery process. During this time, Noel leaned on his teammates to keep him driven and motivated to return from the injury.
“They kept me in good spirits and never let me get too down,” Noel said.
Noel returned to the court in the middle of the summer and resumed practicing with the team. After the long recovery process, Noel was eager to return to the court in his second year; however, he confronted a different kind of setback.
With Grant Basile still holding a major role on the team, Noel chose to redshirt and gain another year of eligibility.
“I had a meeting with the coaches, and they suggested I should redshirt, ” Noel noted. “My first year was more of a physical setback, and my second was more mental.”
Noel faced a heavy workload making sure he could play in his third season. Noel used not playing as an opportunity to study his teammates and mentally prepare himself for the following season.
Noel learned many things from Loudon Love and Basile during his first two seasons with the program.
“The maturity it takes to be a good player is something I was able to learn from them, and I hope to continue to move in that direction,” Noel added.
The transfer of Basile came as a surprise to Noel. The change solidified more playing time for Noel coming into this season.
“It came in complete shock to me; I had no idea,” Noel said. “Once I realized I was redshirting, that is when the extra work started to pour on.”
After facing many trials in his first two seasons, Noel entered this season determined to have his work pay off. He came into this year as the new big man in town for a program known for developing big men down low in the paint.
“I was experienced mentally; I had seen a lot of good players and was able to learn from them, ” Noel said.
After not seeing the floor for two seasons, Noel had to adjust to the game’s pace.
“I couldn’t do as much early on, so this year is about trying to catch up to the speed of things,” Noel mentioned.
During the Detroit Mercy game, WSU struggled to out-rebound the Titans early on. As the second half progressed, the flip switched for Noel, as he began crashing the boards and playing physically. Since then, Noel has been nearly impossible to stop.
“I found myself being passive a lot, especially in hustle plays,” Noel added. “Rebounding is something I am getting better at.”
Noel has contributed with three double-doubles in the last four games, earning him two consecutive Horizon League freshman of the week awards.
“You can’t be satisfied with awards or what you have done so far; we still, as a team, have a goal to win the HL,” Noel declared.
Noel’s performance throughout the season is a prime example of what hard work and dedication will lead to when remaining focused and confronting adversity. With Noel being a redshirt freshman this season, the WSU community should prepare for a dominant campaign from Noel in the years to come.
Noel and the Raiders return to the Nutter Center on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. against Cleveland State.