Underrated to top rated

Pegram's "can't stop" spirit shoots him into the basketball spotlight

Brent+Pegram+driving+to+the+hoop+against+Seton+Hill+University
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Underrated to top rated

Brent Pegram driving to the hoop against Seton Hill University

Brent Pegram driving to the hoop against Seton Hill University

Brent Pegram driving to the hoop against Seton Hill University

Brent Pegram driving to the hoop against Seton Hill University

Danny Beeck, Editor-In-Chief

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An area surrounding the nation’s capital, known to many sports fans as the “DMV”  for Washington DC. Maryland and Virginia, is something of a training ground for many aspiring athletes who have successfully risen from humble beginnings to the highest ranks of professional basketball. Players like Kevin Durant, Victor Oladipo, and Markelle Fultz grew up in the DMV and are among the most recent stars of the NBA.

Brent Pegram, a sophomore guard at California University of Pennsylvania, grew up in the DMV and followed head coach Danny Sancomb from Wheeling Jesuit when he took over the Men’s Basketball team in late June. Pegram made this jump due to a chance that Sancomb took with him.

“Coming out of high school, I was overlooked and underrated,” Pegram said. “I had one partial scholarship offer from Shepherd University and that’s when Coach Sancomb and Wheeling Jesuit came into the picture.”

It was the work ethic and the love for basketball that led Pegram to play at the collegiate level. A passion that he found from working with his dad in gyms or on the court at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Md. Pegram was tested in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) against some of the top tier talent that the area had to offer. This talent carried his team to a national rank of 17 in Pegram’s senior season.

“It was very competitive, so everybody wanted our spot,” Pegram said. “You had to compete if you wanted to win in this league, and that’s all I’m about. I want to win.”

The drive for success is quite evident for the tested sophomore as he leads the Vulcans in points, assists and steals. Since his days with Wheeling Jesuit, his point totals have nearly tripled while his minutes, assists and steals have skyrocketed. This, Pegram said, is due to a shift in his role on the court.

“Last year I was the one who was doing the hard things in order to get us the win,” Pegram said. “This year, I have to score the ball and be a facilitator. Coach [Sancomb] always gets on me about my rebounding because I got to rebound more, but it’s all about the role change and just having confidence in myself.”

At Wheeling Jesuit, Pegram played with two All-Americans who passed down their knowledge, making Pegram a much more versatile player.

“We had the D2 All-American and player of the year, Haywood Highsmith, and another All-American, Pat Moseh,” Pegram said. “We also had a senior guard, Drake Goddard, who really just showed me the ropes.”

The change in role has also shifted Pegram’s focus into a student of the game. Whether it is watching film on teams, picking up a different play style, or reading what the defense is throwing at him, Pegram is always trying to add to his repertoire.

“At Wheeling, teams were always focused on Haywood, Pat, and Preston Boswell who was third on the team in scoring,” Pegram said. “I had to do the little things such as screening to get them open or making the right play to get them open. Now, teams are focusing on me. So I have to worry about the defense that’s behind my man for help. I know I’m going to get past my defender, so I have to read the defense and see what’s going on.”

Along with the differing role on the court, a change in atmosphere is equally as large of a shift. Pegram relishes in every opportunity that he has to play in the Convocation Center and play in front of the crowd each night.

“It’s a blessing honestly,” Pegram said. “I still get excited playing there and practicing there. The Convo just gives me arena vibes. Not a lot of people get to play here, so I just appreciate everything and never take anything for granted. I work harder every day so I can achieve more.”

Pegram values his success in the classroom at the same level that he values his accolades on the court. He chose to major in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security. Although he is unsure of what exactly he wants to accomplish in his career, his focus lies somewhere in the realm of special forces.

“I wanted to be a S.W.A.T. officer since I was young because of watching so many movies,” Pegram said. “My godfather is a detective, so maybe an FBI detective would be cool too.”

With the close proximity to basketball history in the “DMV”, Pegram has looked up to those athletes that made it to the top.

“It really makes you push yourself,” Pegram said. “It gives you hope.”

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