Forward leads Bulldogs with hard-nosed attitude

Brody Koerner goes hard all the time.

Whether that's running baselines during practice or hustling to get a rebound or a loose ball during games, Koerner is constantly hustling.

"I'm always working hard," he said. "I try and be an example for everyone else."

That characteristic has set the Jay M. Robinson junior forward apart.

"He's a tireless worker," said Bulldogs' coach Joe Pike. "He has skill, but it's effort that make people pay attention to him."

Koerner's work ethic also pushes his teammates to go harder.

"He turns and looks and everybody knows they better pick it up," said Pike. "He's going to kick your tail if you don't."

While holding his fellow Bulldogs to a high standard, Koerner is also supportive of them, pushing them to work hard to get better in practice.

"I feel like we're making improvements every week," he said. "In games, we're losing by two or three (points) every week. Hopefully we can get over the hump and start winning again."

Koerner, who's averaging 12 points and six rebounds a game, explained the Bulldogs (4-9, 1-3 SPC as of Jan. 6) have to become more consistent during games.

"Some times, we have come out a little flat and it's hard to dig out of a hole," he said. "That's something we can fix."

Pike said the team, which he said excels defensively, is going through an identity crisis on the other side of the ball, having a hard time finding their tempo, style and somebody to settle the team down.

"We're either too hyped up or not hyped enough," he said. "The pieces are there... but offensively we're still struggling."

Pike has also noticed some improvement, but he hopes his team can turn the corner and go in the right direction soon.

"It's getting to the point that if you wait too much later, you're going to be missing the boat," he said.

Koerner also hopes his Bulldogs can get back on track so they can qualify for the 3A playoffs.

"I just want this team to be the best it can be at the end of the year," he said.

The Bulldogs should get a boost in the next couple of weeks, as the team's top scorer from last season, Elijah Hampton, will return to the team after being suspended for an undisclosed reason for the first part of the season.

How well Robinson does the rest of the way will have a lot to do with how Koerner does, who's also a baseball pitcher at Robinson and has already committed to play at Clemson after graduation.

Koerner has shown a big improvement since last year, when he came off the bench.

He said his shot is one of the aspects of his game that has gotten better.

"If you do the fundamentals, that's going to translate to your whole game," he said.

This is where Koerner's hard-nosed attitude again comes into play.

"With hustle, everything that you do you're going to notice some improvement," he said.

Last week, Koerner scored 21 points and 15 rebounds in a three-point loss to Central Cabarrus, which Pike said exemplifies the way the 6-foot-3 forward plays.

"It was all effort - it was him just banging away at it," said Pike.

Pike speaks highly of Koerner.

"Brody's one of the most intelligent young men I've ever met," he said. "He's got the total package."

Pike, who also taught his player as a freshman, said that both in the classroom and on the court Koerner thrives under pressure.

Regardless what happens the rest of the season and next year, Pike said he's glad to have Koerner on his team.

"He's one of those guys that when you look back at your coaching career you say, 'man, he was a privilege to coach,'" said Pike.