Student-athlete looks forward to future as sports trainer, coach

Men's basketball player Brandon Brady faces off against an opponent in the Jack Stephens Center.

Brandon Brady, who is pursuing a master’s degree in sport management at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, can’t imagine a better future than to help young student-athletes pursue their dreams. 

Brady completed his last year as a member of the Trojan men’s basketball team in 2018 and plans to make a career of helping high school and college student-athletes, the same way his father and coaches did for him.

Being a basketball player is a matter of family pride for the Bradys. His father, Dexter Brady Sr., has coached basketball for more than two decades. His older brother, D.J., attended school at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and was a high school basketball standout in Dallas, Texas, while his younger sister, Morgan, plays basketball at the University of Tulsa. Brady’s older brother, Jeremy, went a different route and played football at the University of Tulsa.

“I started playing basketball when I was 3 years old,” Brady said. “I grew up watching my brothers. Both of them were athletes, and my dad coached me all the way until I was 16. He had his own Amateur Athletic Union team, so I played for him. I traveled all around the country to compete in tournaments against the top players in the nation.”

He credits his family full of athletes for giving him the inspiration, drive, and support to pursue his passion for basketball.

“I’d just like to say my family has been a great part of my success. That great foundation has made me spread my wings,” Brady said. “My brothers give me that competitive drive, and I try to follow in their footsteps. My biggest mentor is my dad. He has made sure that we were smart, took care of our grades, and got a good education. I asked him for a lot of advice on life and on the basketball court.”

Having played basketball on his high school teams at Red Oak High School in Texas and Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Brady played basketball at Eastern Oklahoma State College as a freshman and Lyon College in Batesville as a sophomore.

Brady had always dreamed of playing Division I basketball in college. In 2015, he made the decision to transfer to UA Little Rock and earned his place as a Trojan as a walk-on member of the team. 

“I transferred to UA Little Rock because all my family is here, and it was close to home,” Brady said. “I could be closer to my parents, and I wanted to play at the Division I level. I wanted to push myself. I first played at junior college level then at the NAIA level , but I wanted to see if I could play with the top players in the country at Division I level, so I came to UA Little Rock.”

As a student-athlete, Brady’s best moments come from bonding with his teammates and coaches while traveling around the country. There is one moment that stands out as the most memorable of his time as a student-athlete. He served as the Trojans student manager during the 2015-16 season, when the team made it all the way to March Madness.

“My most memorable experience was when Coach Beard was here, and we won a record 30 games and went to the March Madness tournament,” he said. “At the Sun Belt Conference tournament, we won the whole game and it was great excitement when they displayed our name for the March Madness. We went to Denver and played against Purdue. That was the best experience I had.”

Brandon Bracy
Brandon Brady

He also enjoyed being active in the community. Basketball team members often volunteered at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and area schools, giving eager students game tickets as well as advice about going to college and encouraging them to listen to their teachers.

Brady graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. By that time, he had already started a personal sports training business, B. Brady Skills Training, for high school and college basketball players, primarily with student-athletes from his high school alma mater, Pulaski Academy.

The experience inspired him to earn his master’s degree in sport management, which he will earn in 2019, having decided that a future as a trainer and coach was in the cards. He is also looking forward to an internship with the UA Little Rock Athletics Department to gain more professional experience during the upcoming school year.

“I have been doing the training business for three years. I go back to my old high school, and I reach out to players and do training sessions to develop their game. I teach them things I have learned over the years to help them out,” Brady said. “I plan on working in college coaching or high school coaching and growing my skills training business. Maybe I should pick one but staying around basketball is the biggest thing.”

Brady said that mentors like his father and his high school coach, Roger Franks,  and college coaching staff over the last six years have made a positive impact on him. Little Rock, helped him develop basketball skills and a love of the game, which he wants to share with fellow student-athletes.

“Basketball is a peaceful, active thing. Whenever you play, a lot of other stuff doesn’t matter,” he said. “It takes your mind off the stresses of life. It’s a beautiful game to play. Basketball teaches you life lessons. You can play basketball, and it can teach you about hard work, how to communicate, how to stay disciplined, and how to be responsible. That’s what I love about basketball.”

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