Brandon Leaks could tell everyone who his cousin is.
Instead, after watching his game, they can probably figure it out.
Leaks is a senior combo guard at Franklin Towne Charter High School, and for the second year in a row, he’s mostly running the offense half the time, and serving as a top scorer the other half.
He also plays killer defense.
Not only are those qualities you’ll see in Leaks, they’re qualities you’ll see on Lawncrest native and Atlanta Hawks guard De’Andre Hunter. That’s not a coincidence. Leaks and Hunter are cousins, but it’s not something Leaks will tell you when you meet him.
“A lot of people don’t really know because I don’t tell people,” said Leaks, who lives in Frankford. “No pressure, I like to make my own name, I don’t want to live off other people’s hype.
“We’re getting close, I train with him, his trainer trained me. I’ve been going to a couple games. My favorite team has to be the Sixers. My favorite player is Damian Lillard. I emulate my game more after him. My cousin plays a lot of defense. I like to play defense, at least I try. But I want to be known for me.”
If Leaks keeps doing what he’s doing, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
The Warriors are 8-3 overall, and even better, 6-1 in Public League play. A lot of that success is thanks to Leaks, who is fitting in quite well as the new designated scorer for Franklin Towne.
“My role is to score this year, but I like to get my teammates more involved,” Leaks said. “When we play together, everyone’s confidence grows. Everyone has their own role. We’re a small team, we play position-less basketball, but everyone has a role. My cousin Jayden Corley is the point guard. We have a connection, we’ve been playing for a long time, our chemistry is set in stone.”
It helps to have chemistry with his backcourt mate, but according to Leaks, the entire team has quite the bond.
The chemistry started coming together three years ago when he got there and every year, the team takes another step toward growing into a cohesive unit.
This year, that bond is stronger than ever.
“It’s good, we have the same team forever now, all three years, it’s the same guys,” Leaks said. “When I got here, me and my cousin came off the bench together. It makes things easier, I always know he has my back from the start. But it’s not just him.
“Now it’s the team. We’re like a family. We’ve been through a lot. Blowouts, losing in the playoffs. All that made a bigger bond grow stronger. Everything we’ve done until this point got us ready for this point.”
Leaks knows individually, the Warriors boast a lot of talent. But talent alone won’t win.
The way for Franklin Towne to be successful is for all of the players to work together.
“Everyone commits, brings effort and listens to our coaches,” Leaks said. “Our coaches have great basketball minds, and they motivate us. They’ll do good cop, bad cop. One is chill, the other gets on us. But they have the same type of talk. We all understand what we need to do. They just work to help us get that, and the reason we’re doing so well this year is because of our coaches.”
Leaks has also done his part.
It doesn’t matter what role they give him, he’s happy to do it if it leads to more wins for the Warriors.
Leaks knows that when he has the ball, he has to do what’s best for the team, not what’s best for his statistics. And he’s happy with whatever is asked of him.
“As a ballhandler, you have to set up the plays,” said Leaks, who leads the Warriors with about 10 points per game, 2.5 steals per game and has drained 17 three pointers on the year. “You can’t do your own things. You do that, it creates chaos on the court. You need to have everyone touch the ball, get everyone involved. If only one guy is doing everything, it’s pretty easy to stop that. We’re best when everyone is playing well.”
Leaks takes care of business away from basketball, too. He maintains a 3.9 grade point average, gets first honors and takes his role as a student very seriously. And he’s in love with his school.
“I knew the academics are so good here, so that’s why I’m here,” Leaks said. “It’s vital. My parents always had strict rules about straight A’s, so that was a top priority. Straight A’s, of course. You’re a student before athlete. You can’t play basketball and not have good grades.
“That mainly came from my dad, but my coaches also. Colleges won’t take you if academics aren’t right. They’ll take a high GPA over athletic skills. It’s more of a commitment and effort. Anyone can train and be good, but if you don’t work in the classroom, it won’t happen.”
Dad’s words of wisdom help. In fact, everything Leaks does with his family is important.
He’s a great leader for the Warriors, that’s something that started at home.
“Family is really important to me, always has been,” he said. “I have a little brother and sister, my sister loves animals. We take care of dogs and cats. We have a big family. I like them, but I do it mainly for my sister because they make her happy. My brother is a gamer, but he’ll play basketball with me. He looks up to me and might work out here and there.
“I want people to know how important my family is, and how hard we’re working at Franklin Towne. That’s pretty much the biggest things I have going on.”