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It didn’t take long for sophomore Dejon Brissett to make a name for himself at Lake Forest Academy.
In fact, it happened in the first game of the season against North Chicago at the Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament. After scoring a basket, Brissett intercepted a bad inbounds pass. He went straight to the basket and threw down a dunk over the outstretched arm of a North Chicago defender.
“He jumped with me, but I was able to put it down anyway,” said Brissett, a 6-1 guard/forward.
How did coach Matt Vaughn and his teammates react?
“It was a monster dunk; the whole gym went crazy,” Vaughn said. “He can jump out of the gym.”
Added sophomore Ryan Clamage: “Once he stole the ball, everyone on our bench knew what was going to happen and we still went nuts. It was inspiring.”
Brissett combines the athleticism that serves him so well in football (receiver/defensive back) and track (long jump/high jump) with a high basketball IQ. As a result, he’s been able to help lead Lake Forest Academy’s resurgence.
After starting the season 1-5, the team has ripped off five consecutive victories. Brissett, part of a group of four sophomores and one freshman who start or receive substantial playing time, is averaging a team-best 14 points per game. He also leads the team in steals.
Brissett plays off the ball and is in perpetual motion. He scores the majority of his points off back cuts and going to the basket, but he is also developing a more consistent mid-range jumper.
“Moving without the basketball is kind of a lost art, but he’s always moving,” Vaughn said. “He has a good feel and sense for the game and understands the nuances of our offense. Once he got the rust off at the start of the season, he’s just a kid that’s gotten better and better.”
Brissett grew up playing all sports in his native country of Canada. He visited Lake Forest Academy last spring and quickly realized it was a place where he could grow as a person, athlete and student.
“It’s a lot different being here on my own, but I’ve always been pretty independent,” he said. “They expect a lot more from me here so it comes down to work ethic and being focused.”
Brissett said he is thrilled with the way the team has performed since the Christmas break.
“It all started with how hard we practiced and we could start to see how much better we were getting as a team,” he said.