Boyle’s Bramel, Lassiter team up for inside role

Published 1:44 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It’s easy to see that Will Bramel and Jacob Lassiter are not the same player. It’s also easy to see that the Boyle County boys need both of them to fill one very important position.

Bramel, the only Boyle player with any experience in the post prior to this season, will be up to speed soon enough but has missed more games than he has played due to football commitments.

Lassiter, who had zero varsity experience prior to this season, has filled the void at center and helped the Rebels rack up some wins in the early days of the season and develop depth that will serve them well later.

Email newsletter signup

Two players, one position. It has worked well so far for Boyle, which takes a 5-2 record into next week’s Gateway Holiday Classic at Montgomery County.

It’s a rotation now, but the season started with Lassiter out there all by himself.

“Since Will was still in football practice, we didn’t have anybody (in the post),” Lassiter said. “I was playing between the wing and the post, and coach (Steve Adams) gave me the opportunity to step up, and I guess I delivered pretty well. He’s given me a lot of positive feedback.”

Lassiter didn’t dress for a single varsity game last year, but Adams said he has been impressed with what he saw from the 5-8 junior both in practices and in games.

“He’s worked hard in practice. He’s awful raw, he makes some mistakes and he’s not as big or athletic as some, but he’s done a nice job of positioning, he’s taken a number of charges, and he’s been a big benefit to where we are right now,” Adams said. “Sometimes he’ll have to guard a post and he’s physically outmanned, but that’s OK. He’s battled and done really nice things.”

Bramel has taken note of Lassiter’s play as well.

“We’ve played some big, big guys, multiple big guys on one team, so he’s had to go against people bigger than him. Just to see him fight like that and make plays, that’s big time,” Bramel said.

Bramel, a 6-6 senior, is seldom outmanned in the paint. His biggest issue so far this season, as it is in the early weeks of every season, has been getting used to getting up and down the floor.

“I’m still in football shape. Basketball conditioning and football conditioning are two different things, so I’ve just got to keep working on that so I can play longer and not get tired as fast,” he said. “In football you go hard for about 10 seconds and then you get a break between plays; in basketball you rarely get breaks. Basketball’s more like a marathon, and football’s more like a sprint. They’re two different things.”

Lassiter says Bramel is getting in better basketball shape every day.

“He’s sucking air in practice, but he’s getting there,” Lassiter said with a smile.

Lassiter has started every game at center for Boyle, though his minutes have gone down with Bramel back on the floor. He is averaging 4.1 points and 2.9 rebounds, and he scored a career-high seven points in less than nine minutes Thursday in the Rebels’ win over Clay County.

Bramel has played in only three games so far, averaging about 19 minutes, 9.7 points and 5.0 rebounds. He averaged 6.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 32 games last season.

He was one of a handful of Rebels who played on the Class 3A championship football team and didn’t join the basketball team until the second week of the season. He also missed games to play in an all-star football game and to take an official visit to Purdue, the school with which he signed a football letter-of-intent earlier this week.

They are going at each other daily in practice now, and it isn’t exactly a fair fight. Lassiter is giving up about 100 pounds to the 280-pound Bramel, but he said he enjoys the challenge.

“It’s a good battle,” he said. “It’s a brick wall. It’s tough on the glass. I have to fight with him pretty hard.”

He said he also enjoys the challenge of going up against bigger, stronger opponents.

“I’m not the biggest guy, so I’m fighting a lot,” Lassiter said. “It gets pretty tiring, but I like it, it’s fun.”

Bramel said the development of Lassiter and other players who got more minutes during the football players’ absence gives Boyle better depth.

“It’s actually helped us a lot, I think, to have other guys step up and get some playing time. That’s definitely going to help us come district and region time,” he said.

Adams said it also gives the Rebels more flexibility. For instance, Bramel could be the go-to guy against teams with a strong inside game, while Lassiter could get more minutes against smaller, faster foes.

“To be a good team and to get where we want to get, you’ve got to be able to handle playing both styles,” Adams said.

What about putting both players on the floor at the same time?

“We’ll see,” Bramel said. “That’ll be up to the coaching staff, but you never know.”

It hasn’t happened yet and probably wouldn’t happen often, but Adams wouldn’t rule it out.

“Possibly,” he said. “We like having all those guards out there, but you don’t know.”