Belton senior Braden Hammond was a second-team selection to the 8-5A All-District team last year, which was his first as a starter for the Tigers. Hammond then opened his senior campaign with a 28-point explosion in a 66-57 loss to Cedar Park. With a young team in 2013, Hammond — once a sophomore on varsity himself — is looking to lead by any means necessary as the Tigers try to reach the postseason.
How did it feel to get (second-team all-district honors) in your first season as a starter?
It means a lot to me. It’s humbling and makes me want to work harder to do more.
What was last year like falling short of your preseason goal to reach the postseason?
It’s tough. You work hard all summer and all offseason and then to not achieve your goal, it’s tough. But we’ve got this year to work toward that, so (we’re) looking forward to the challenge.
What have you been working on with your game?
A lot of shooting and a lot of ball handling and a lot of time in the weight room.
Do you feel like you achieved your goals in the weight room?
Oh, yes. We spent a lot of time in the weight room, and I really feel like I’ve gotten a lot bigger and a lot stronger.
Is there a particular measure, like your bench or your squat, where you feel like you made significant gains?
Yes, on my bench press I added almost 20 pounds since this summer.
How would you describe your game?
I like to think of myself as a scorer, but if I need to I can do whatever the team needs — like I can be a point guard and dish off and get my teammates into the game or I can be a shooter and score the ball as needed.
How do you like to get your points?
I’m more of a perimeter shooter, but I can get to the rack.
Have you every scored (as many as you scored against Cedar Park) in a game before?
The most I’ve scored in a game is 30 in an AAU game, but 28 is up there.
What’s it feel like when you’ve got it going and you’re dropping 30?
It feels good, especially whenever your team notices that and tries to get you involved. You just want to do the best you can.
You said you think of yourself as a scorer, but you feel like you can do it all. What is your role this year? Can we expect more 30-point games from you?
This year, I’ll be more of a scorer for the team. We’ve got some young guys who have never really played varsity, so I’ll be expected to score a lot more this year — hopefully some 30-point games.
Obviously, you were one of those young guys two years ago, so what kind of knowledge do you try to impart to them?
How to work on and off the court and just knowledge of the game, simple, basic stuff.
What will be your team’s strengths this year?
Because we do a lot of conditioning, I feel like being able to go up and down the court for all four quarters and being mentally stronger than the other team is really going to help us out. Because we’re not as talented as some of the other teams in our district, we’re going to have to outwork them.
Contact Jordan Mason at email@example.com or 254-501-7562