As the Tigers (6-7) gear up to start Ivy League play, freshman forward Hans Brase has begun to emerge as a starter with impact potential. The South Carolina native is the first Princeton men’s basketball player to start consistently as a freshman since guard Doug Davis ’12 in 2009.
Brase had a career-high 17 points in his first game as a starter on Dec. 20 against Rider University, demonstrating his ability to rise to the occasion and respond well to the additional pressure of the more prominent role. However, he said he focuses more on team performance and the effort he puts forth every day, in addition to the intangibles of the game, than he does on his own personal stats.
“The biggest thing I think I have brought to the team is energy,” Brase said. “Every game I simply try to do whatever it takes to help us win, whether it be getting rebounds, scor[ing], or guard[ing] the other team’s big man.”
Brase is currently second on the team in offensive rebounds with 15 on the season and averages 2.7 total rebounds per game. He also averages just under five points per game.
“[My success is due to] just hard work in the gym outside of practice and getting extra work in with the coaches,” Brase said. “The coaches really trusted me and have stuck with me even when things have not been the prettiest on my end.”
This trust has led to an Ivy League Rookie of the Week honor as well as three straight double-digit scoring games at the end of December. He leads all of the freshmen on the team in playing time this season.
Despite his growing role on the court, he is humble about the impact he has made and attributes his success to a supportive team and program.
“I owe it all to my teammates, especially the older guys, because they have helped me so much with the plays and transitioning from high school to college. Each and every one on our team has brought me aside and helped me in some way, whether it be with our plays or advice about basketball or college life in general,” Brase said. “We are a pretty close bunch, and I think that has helped me tremendously.”
Additionally, Brase has spent a good deal of time on the court outside of scheduled practices and said that this has greatly encouraged his development throughout the season and facilitated his promotion to the starting position. His more experienced teammates welcome the rookie’s increasing presence on the court.
“Hans has developed into an important part of what we’re trying to do this season,” junior guard Chris Clement said. “He gives us athletic scoring in the post, while his shooting ability also stretches the defense. He’s made great strides in the last few weeks, and I look forward to watching his progress the rest of the season.”
“I would say that Hans is vital to the success of our team,” sophomore guard Clay Wilson said. “His ability to score in the paint opens the court up for everyone else. He provides us with an inside threat, and he’s getting better every single day. He is the best offensive rebounder I know and his ability to rebound has given us several extra possessions already this year. Hans is a great player with a great work ethic and because of that his potential is through the roof.”
The Tigers will lean on this effort, energy and continued improvement in the coming weeks as they begin Ivy League competition.
The Tigers beat Elon 74-64 in their first contest of the new year, making it the fourth consecutive time that they have won their first game of the calendar year. They will host Penn at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12 in Jadwin Gymnasium.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2013/01/09/32246/