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October 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Counting down the Huskies — No. 14 Brendan Sherrer

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We continue the countdown with a Husky fan favorite — Brendan Sherrer.
He’s been dubbed the ‘Human Victory Cigar’ because the crowd-pleading walk-on has appeared in the final minutes of 23 games, all Washington wins by 18 points or more.
But maybe ‘The Fisherman’ is a more apt moniker for the 6 foot 8, 255-pound senior forward who spends a portion of the offseason commercial fishing in Alaska.
Sherrer is a popular figure around Montlake. He’s the former Dawg Pack member who went to an open tryout in 2009 and was the only one to earn a spot on the roster.
Entering his third season, Sherrer hopes his Cinderella story includes a chapter where he plays meaningful minutes in a game. Some believe he’s improved to the point where he can challenge for a spot in the rotation.
Sherrer admits he’d like to play more than garbage minutes, but understands better than anyone the competition for minutes is stiff. He battles against UW’s big men everyday. In the past, he felt overwhelmed in those matchups, but not anymore. Not since gaining 30-40 pounds of muscle since his sophomore year.
No matter what happens, Sherrer says walking on at Washington was one of the best decisions in his life.
“It’s been a life changer,” he said. “It really has. I have so many different experiences in my life now just from basketball and being on this team that I never would have imagined.
“I’ve gone to a physical shape that I never would have been at before. Been able to push myself through things mentally that I never would have pushed myself through. I’ve traveled the country. Made great friends. Met exceptional coaches. I’ve been to the Sweet 16. It’s incredible.”
Here’s a transcript of a recent interview with Sherrer.


(Did you go back to Alaska this summer?) “Yeah I went to Alaska again. Seventh year. I got back July 20 and I’ve been here since.”
(Let’s get into that a bit. Many folks don’t know your history with fishing and Alaska.) “I commercial fish. It’s me, my mom and my sister. It’s my mom’s business and I go up there and kind of help run it.”
(What is that like?) “[Laughs] Long days. Not too much sleep. It’s a lot of work, but I’m only up there for a month so it pays off.”
(What do you mean by long days?) “It just depends on the tide, but you can be fishing for 16 hours a day. Or 18 hours. It just depends on how the ocean is. And then you sleep in between or whenever you can.”
(Are you on a boat?) “Yeah.”
(What size?) “There’s a couple of different ways you can do it. The first year I was on a boat. It was a 32-foot boat. And we were fishing in the middle of the river. Then these last couple of years with my mom, I’ve been fishing off the beach. You set your net on the beach and it goes out into the bay. So I’ve been working off the beach. You take smaller boats like 16-foot rafts and you go out take the fish.”
(Do you have a place up there?) “Yeah we have a cabin. [Laughs] Well it’s more of a shack. Honestly when people think of a cabin, they think of a log cabin with the smoke. But no. It’s more plywood. Actually a couple of years ago, we had a bear break in. He got into some pepper spray and it was just trashed.”
(When do you go up there?) “From like June 15 to July 20th or so.”
(How much fish do you catch?) “On a good day, anywhere from like 6,000-7,000 pounds. On a good day.”
(I’m trying to put that into some perspective. What does that mean?) “A fish averages around five pounds. So you can do the math real quick. It’s a lot of fish.”
(This is normal for you right?) “Yeah. It started back when my great grandfather started fishing in the Puget Sound. So a long line of fishing in my family.”
(So it’s in your blood.) “Oh yeah. It’s my uncle’s job. My mom just started seven years ago. And my grandpa. His dad did it.”
(In your leisure time do you fish?) “I do. For me sport fishing and going out there and sitting with a rod for a couple of hours is kind of anti-climatic because we go up with nets and catch thousands of pounds of fish. But I like to go crabbing. My uncle is a commercial crabber. So I like to go crabbing. I like seafood.”
(There’s a theory that your unique offseasons gives you a life experience that will benefit you down the road. You believe that?) “When you’re up there, you make a lot of connections. But also you’re physically you’re staying in shape to some extent. I’m not doing sprints or anything. And then also it helps you push through things. Because when I’m out there and it’s the 11th hour and I’ve been fishing the whole day. I know I got to keep pushing myself through it. It kind of gives you that aspect.”
(I can see that. Sort of like it makes you mentally tough?) “Yeah.”
(You’re entering third year with basketball.) “Yeah. Third year.”
(Have you graduated yet?) “No. I’ll graduate in the spring. Well spring or summer.”
(And what’s your major?) “Biology.”
(I hear you want to be a dentist.) “Yeah.”
(So after you graduate, are you staring at another four years of medical school?) “Yeah. Four years.”
(You still have a year on the team, but what has this experience been like?) “It’s been a life changer. It really has. I have so many different experiences in my life now just from basketball and being on this team that I never would have imagined. I’ve gone to a physical shape that I never would have been at before. Been able to push myself through things mentally that I never would have pushed myself through. I’ve traveled the country. Made great friends. Met exceptional coaches. I’ve been to the Sweet 16. It’s incredible.”
(I’m not hitting on you, but you look great. You’ve got guns. When/how did that happen?) “Towards the end of the season and into the spring and summer it’s been a huge change for me. From last year and this year to the first year I started, I think I put on 30-40 pounds of muscle.”
(Do you see what I see? Do you feel stronger?) “Oh yeah. But the thing I noticed lately is I’m able to move on the court. It’s little things like changing direction. Those are the things I never would have been able to do. From last year to this year, I can move quicker along with the strength.”
(Lorenzo Romar always says you’re the most improved player on the team, which I’m sure he means to be flattery. But it could also be a backhanded compliment in terms of how bad you were when you started.) “I think if I were to keep playing, I could become a lot better player. In my mind, I have a ways to go. But he’s right. I’ve come a long way from where I started.”
(Justin Holiday paid you a tremendous compliment this summer. He said if you would be okay if you received meaningful minutes during a game.) “If it was my first year on the team, I would be nervous. But now I’ve got it under control. I kind of just zone everything out.”
(I think it’s forbidden to ask walk-ons in this program if you’d like to get more playing time, but you’re a senior so I’ll ask anyway. Would you like to crack the rotation?) “I would love to play. I think everybody would say they would love to play. Once practice comes, we’ll see. We’ll get a better judge where everyone is at. We’ll see.”
(I’ve never asked you about this, but I’ve always wanted to get your thoughts on last season’s game at USC.) “[Laughs]”
(You laugh, but it’s like a cheesy Lifetime movie. Here’s this walk-on. This kid who used to be in the Dawg Pack. And now he’s on the team. And he’s about to make his first real appearance in a game on the road and the team is down. You’re at the scorer’s table and you never get in. Do you look back on that memory with fondness or a little bit of agony?) “Kind of a little bit of both. But you know. It all happened so fast to be honest. At the time I wasn’t thinking of anything else but the game. Now that I look back on it, it would have been fun to get in there. But that didn’t happen. I don’t usually look back and regret on life.”
(How is the team looking?) “Looking good. We’re looking quick. Fresh. And very athletic.”
(Who has surprised you the most at this point?) “From last year’s group?”
(Sure.) “I would have to say Aziz (N’Diaye) or Scott (Suggs). When we play open gym, with Scott when he sets his mind to it he can score on anybody out there. I can pass him the ball and I know it’s a bucket. And Aziz, physically he’s gotten so much stronger. And as a player, he’s just developed so much from last year. It’s going to be exciting. You’ll see.”
(How does the team sustain this momentum that’s been building over the past years when UW has made three straight NCAA tournament appearances?) “It starts with the freshmen. If they buy into the mindset and accept what we’ve got going here. It’s six new guys. A lot of it rests on them. And a lot of it rest on the older guys setting the right example.”
(Of the new guys, who has impressed you?) “Well obviously Tony (Wroten Jr.) is a great passer. I’ll be down there not expecting a pass and he gets it through. His passing ability is amazing. And the others are good. This freshmen class is really good.”

Comments | Topics: Scott Suggs

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