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Matthew Morris Matthew Morris BVM Sports Journalist

NBA hopeful Brandin Podziemski is thriving at Santa Clara

Editor’s note: The Golden State Warriors selected Brandin Podziemski with the No. 19 pick in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft on June 22.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (BVM) – Brandin Podziemski didn’t waste time once he got to Santa Clara. In his first game as a Bronco, he scored more points in the one game (30) than he did during his entire freshman year at Illinois (22). Since then, he has continued to showcase his wellrounded abilities to the point where his name is coming up in NBA draft conversations as someone to keep an eye on.

“It’s fun, gelling with a bunch of new guys, new coaching staff and they just let me be me and play how I play,” Podziemski said. “It’s led to a successful year for both me and the team.”

The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard leads the Broncos in points (18.8), rebounds (8.0), assists (3.2) and steals (1.8). The scoring obviously stands out but Podziemski would be the first to tell you that that is the least of his concerns. First and foremost is getting his team the win. After that, he cares way more about the other stats than scoring.

Brandin Podziemski NBA Draft Santa Clara Broncos
Brandin Podziemski is beginning to be mentioned in NBA draft conversations. (Credit: Santa Clara Athletics)

“I like to do everything honestly,” Podziemski said. “I score the ball a lot but I really don’t like it as much as people make it out to be. I’d rather play make for my teammates, get rebounds, stuff like that.” 

“I really don’t care about my individual performances as much as I do the team winning.”

His rebounding is impressive. At 6-foot-5, he’s not the tallest but knows how to use his athleticism and has a great eye for the ball. It allows him to swoop in from outside the paint or getting position on his opponent to be able to get the ball. 

In fact, having this chance to show the other side of his game is one of the main reasons he wanted to transfer in the first place. Podziemski set out to prove to people that he was more than what they thought he was as a basketball player while also setting himself up for a playing career after college. 

Podziemski entered the portal and that’s when Santa Clara entered the picture. He knew Broncos forward Keyshawn Justice, who’s also from Wisconsin, and saw what Jalen Williams was able to do at Santa Clara last year. As a junior, Williams averaged 18 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, then was a lottery pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2022 NBA Draft.

“NBA scouts were coming and watching his games so it’s happened here, why can’t I do the same thing?” Podziemski asked. 

“Just talking to him (Keyshawn) and seeing what Jalen did, it kind of just made sense.”

He’s done his best to bring scouts to Santa Clara and it does seem to be working. Podziemski’s name has continued to come up as NBA draft talk becomes more frequent. His success since coming to Santa Clara is a testament to his belief in himself and Podziemski’s ability to take advantage of an opportunity. 

“It always comes down to opportunity no matter who you are,” Podziemski said. “That’s really what it comes down to is opportunity and performing when you get the opportunity. I feel like here I’m presented with the opportunity every night and I try to make the most of it.” 

Podziemski has certainly done that. He followed up his Broncos debut with a 34point game against Georgia Southern. On Jan. 28, he scored 38 points against Pacific. Through it all, he has shown his versatility as a scorer. It may not be what he cares most about but his scoring is still fun to watch. Podziemski can drive to the hoop, has a strong mid-range game and probably most impressive of all is that his three-point shot is deadly. 

The 6-foot-5 guard is not phased by a hand in his face or how far behind the arc he is; he’s going to take the shot and more often than not, make it. Podziemski has shot over 40% from three this season. His jab step or step back isn’t flashy, but it’s effective. 

Watching all of it as Podziemski tries to help Santa Clara make it to March Madness, it’s no surprise that he is being brought up in draft conversations, but he isn’t focused on that. 

“I kind of just put that aside because I can’t control that at the moment. All I can control is just helping the team win and getting to our goal, which is getting to the NCAA tournament,” Podziemski said. 

In his first year with the Broncos, Podziemski has already made a huge difference for himself and his team. He started his Santa Clara career hot, it’s continued and even though it’s not over yet, the end of his Broncos career should be just as exciting.