The spice of life: Vidalia senior feeds off energy from others, provides character

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 1, 2018

Brandon Vantree’s favorite part of basketball is the people.

Traveling from game to game, the Vidalia High School senior gets the chance to taste one of his biggest goals.

“I need to explore life while I’m young,” Vantree said. “I want to experience all different places.”

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And each game, Vantree gets to meet the people that will help him get to the places he wants to go — like across the country to California and across the world to Japan.

On the court, Vantree said, his curiosity is just as helpful and makes him more aware of his surroundings.

“I like to explore people and their different mentalities,” he said. “It helps build character among our teammates.

“My body is here, but my mind is usually off in another state. I think that’s why I like to interact with people so much.”

Not only is Vantree a staple of the Vikings’ charisma, but coach Robert Sanders said he adds another valuable piece to the puzzle.

Playing center and forward, Vantree is the tallest member for Vidalia this season.

Fellow senior Shane Calihan follows close behind.

“He brings an inside presence as far as height that we don’t have otherwise,” Sanders said. “He can also shoot from the outside, so he’s not a true post but he can block shots and get rebounds. He’s definitely important.”

Vantree’s height has certainty paid off, landing him the opportunity for a handful of clutch shots this seaosn. One basket included the winning shot in a 53-51 victory over Sicily Island on Dec. 30, 2017.

Sanders is thankful, too, that he has Vantree, especially because he didn’t play last season.

“He just kept saying he wanted to wait until his senior year,” Sanders said. “Happy to have him — very much so.”

After high school. Vantree hopes to continue his spunk and love for people. He said he is planning on attending Alcorn State University in hopes of studying drama.

“I want to be an actor,” he said. “I like to play characters and different roles. I just want to get the feel for different life forms.”

Until then, Vantree is doing his best to soak in the remainder of his final campaign.

The Vikings (10-10, 4-4) will be back in action Thursday when they travel to General Trass.

“I’m going to miss the people I got attached to,” he said. “It went by really fast.”