Brandon Stone toes the free throw line at Cleveland State. Photo credit: Tyler Gallo

Brandon Stone is embracing new opportunity at Robert Morris

Brandon Stone has had a stop-and-start past two seasons, but the center is finally carving out his role for Robert Morris.

January 28, 2022

Brandon Stone has had an interesting basketball career that dates back to high school when Stone developed a relationship with Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole. Toole and Stone’s relationship is a close one but had a detour before Stone became a Colonial.

Stone is a transfer from La Salle, but during Stone’s sophomore year at Southmoreland High School, Coach Toole offered Stone a scholarship to play basketball at Robert Morris.

He posted 3.0 points per game and 2.6 rebounds per game in 25 appearances in his freshman season as an Explorer.

Following that season, the pandemic hit the sports world and Stone was not seeing the court in his second year at La Salle. Stone transferred to Robert Morris, noting that he never wants to go through that process again.

Stone had to sit out for the entire 2020-21 season due to transfer rules and watch his teammates from the sidelines.

While he remarked that it was a rough time for him getting to practice with the team but not play, he was finally geared up to appear in a game for the first time since December 2020 before disaster struck again.

Stone came down with an ankle injury that sidelined him for the early part of the schedule against Central Florida, Kentucky, and Ohio.

Through perseverance and grit, Stone made his return to the floor against Davidson. He put up an efficient 7 points on 3-4 shooting. Stone was starting to look like he could be a regular in the rotation, but in the following game against Green Bay, Stone reinjured his ankle, putting him on the shelf for another four games.

Stone has a love for the game of basketball and being held off the court affected the center.

“It definitely affected me,” Stone said. “I was getting a little depressed, I was upset all the time. It was tough watching my teammates play and not being able to help them.”

Stone, however, did not let this hindrance affect him as he fought his way back onto the court against former NEC foe Saint Francis. Stone played 7 minutes and stuffed the stat sheet, putting up 5 points, 3 rebounds, a block and a steal.

As the season has progressed, Stone has shown that he is a versatile center, hitting the three-ball at a 40 percent clip. We have also seen Stone’s minutes increase as well, currently, he is at 13.3 minutes per game.

In picking the right moments to shoot, Stone does note that he is trying to be more aggressive to help grow his game.

Brandon Stone
Brandon Stone takes the court against Wright State. Photo Credit: Justin Newton

“The main thing I have been working on is being more aggressive and going to the glass,” Stone said. “I just try to be a little more aggressive and try to get my team extra possessions.”

Stone has seen a difference in the size of his opponents from the Atlantic 10 to the Horizon League, but he knows that prepared him for this season, a season where he is trying to improve his rebounding, currently sitting at a 2.5 per-game mark.

“When I was a freshman at La Salle I was playing against guys that were 270-280 pounds, it was difficult for me to hold my ground, but I have gotten stronger and I have put on some weight so that will help me in the long run,” he said. “I need to be more aggressive on the boards, I haven’t been the greatest rebounder in my career and that is something I want to improve on as well.”

Part of the reason we have seen Stone’s role increase here at RMU is mainly due in part to the turnover that the roster has seen over the past couple of months. However, one thing we have seen from this group that has decided to stay is the close group.

“We came together and just told ourselves that we are not going to fight for anybody but ourselves,” Stone said. “Everyone has heart in this team and we all have each other’s backs. We are a family.”

That family mentality showed when the Colonials took on Northern Kentucky. The Colonials were matching the Norse basket for basket and the Colonials did not give in. Things got a little chippy in the second half and Stone was in the middle of it, but his team had his back.

“It definitely affected me. I was getting a little depressed, I was upset all the time. It was tough watching my teammates play and not being able to help them.”

— Brandon Stone on missing games early in the season

The Colonials ended up winning the game with the Norse breathing down their necks the entire game. The final score was 74-64, and the win was one the team relished in.

“Coach Toole was hyped coming into the locker room,” Stone said. “We just felt like we were finally coming close as a unit.”

Colonials fans look forward to seeing what Brandon Stone and the Colonials will do for the remainder of the season. Brandon Stone will have a big part to play in the Colonials’ run for a Horizon League championship.

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