WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Brandon Childress is trying to make a name for himself at Wake Forest.
That’s quite a challenge for the son of Randolph Childress — one of the best players in program history and a current assistant coach at the school.
Brandon Childress called it “a gift and a curse being my father’s son” in an interview with The Associated Press, but is embracing the tough task that comes with living up to the family name.
Randolph Childress made a school-record 329 3-pointers and scored 2,208 points — more than every other Wake Forest player in the past 60 years — from 1990-95 before becoming a first-round draft pick and beginning a 16-year pro career that included stints in the NBA and in Europe.
No one’s asking his son to duplicate those numbers, of course, though father and son do have some similarities in their game . Both are pure shooters, though it’ll be tough to match what Dad did in 1995.
Randolph scored an Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament-record 107 points over three days, hitting a memorable jumper over a fallen-down Jeff McInnis after a crossover move before hitting the go-ahead leaner in the final seconds of overtime to beat North Carolina for the title.
Randolph said Brandon earned the scholarship and hasn’t been given anything because of family ties. Scout.com rated Brandon as a three-star recruit out of Wesleyan Christian in nearby High Point.
“I wanted him to go through the (recruiting) process and know I’m not going to push you, and I’m not the one that’s bringing you here,” Randolph said. “You earned the right to be here.”
Instead, they’re asking more of him because of his familiarity with the university, the program and the system: Randolph has been on Wake Forest’s staff since 2012, and though he was born in Detroit, Brandon lists his hometown as Winston-Salem.
“The expectation for Brandon is that he comes in, he grasps the system and he’s got a head start on all of our freshmen because he’s been around the last two years,” coach Danny Manning said. “So his standard is probably a little bit higher than the other freshmen in that regard.”
From the outside, it might seem like the younger Childress was always headed to Wake Forest because he saw one of the key recruiters every day.
Not the case, both father and son insist.
Brandon said his dad “didn’t put a finger in my recruiting at all” and didn’t even accompany him on his official visits, but did offer advice on what to expect during the recruiting process. Randolph says that was because he knew his son had to come to a decision on his own.
Stanford, Clemson, East Carolina, Charlotte and UNC Greensboro were the main other schools that showed interest, Brandon said.
“A lot of people think it was simple, but it really wasn’t,” he said. “A lot of schools always wanted to say, ‘Ah, he’s going to play for his father,’ when I told several coaches that right now, I don’t want to play for my father — I just want to go on my own, and a lot of schools didn’t want to give me the opportunity.”
Turns out, the one school that offered him what he wanted most — a chance to play in the ACC — was the one where Dad works.
“There were always going to be people questioning or saying things — ‘Oh, you just went there because of your dad’ — and I wanted him to be able to say, your recruitment went through a coaching change (from Jeff Bzdelik to Manning) as well, so you earned that opportunity to come here,” Randolph said. “There were no strings to tie, there were no promises made or assumptions made that you’re going to be here. All I told him was, you’re going to work to get here, how difficult it was to get here and once you got here, you had to work even harder.”
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