How Athens Drive prepared Brandon Poggioli for college basketball

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Brandon Poggioli is a Division 1 basketball player at the College of Charleston during his time as a Jaguar.

Brandon Poggioli is a Division 1 basketball player at the College of Charleston. His journey to make this dream come true was not an easy one, but was made possible by going to Athens Drive and shaping him to deal with adversity.

He was born in Alexandria, Virginia, to Christine Dukiet and Anthony Poggioli. After being in Alexandria for a year the family moved to Cary, North Carolina, and lived there for about 16 years. He is the older brother out of two and has a younger brother named Ryan. 

Poggioli started playing basketball his 9th-grade year at Middle Creek High School and was cut from the junior varsity team. Instead of giving up he persevered and trained extremely hard in the summer and had a goal of making varsity. He worked out religiously and there was nothing that could stop him. He achieved his goal and made varsity. It was not everything he hoped it to be and thought that he needed to go somewhere else to help take his game to the next level. He applied for a transfer right when school started and was accepted to attend Athens Drive Magnet High School.

When he got to Athens he was astonished to find out that Athens was not this bad school that everybody made it out to be, but a place where they ensure you to do your best and help you out in every way possible. 

“I was surprised to see how wrong people were about Athens. This place is way better than everybody ought it to be,” said Poggioli.

The first person Poggioli met when walking into the school was the current principal Mr. Mares. He gave Poggioli a tour of the whole school and he met his coach St. John. They talked for a while and everything sounded good but he had to see it for his own eyes. When he started going to the workouts he saw a lot of talent and was looking forward to being able to play with Athens.

Brandon came off the bench his junior year as the 6th man and contributed very well on defense. He played tenacious defense and was not worried about the offense because he had the star players on the team DJ Robertson averaging 23 points and AJ Thompson 14 points. Brandon did not expect the team to be this good and eventually won the conference making it to the state playoffs but losing in the first round. His senior year he was a starter and averaged about 10 points but was still a lockdown defender. They did not win the conference like they did the year before but became closer with kids on the team and had the time of his life playing that year. One of Poggioli’s best friends Jonah Milchuk who was the center on the team was the one kid Poggioli really became close with.

“Right when I met Brandon I first thought who was this kid but then realized he was a hard worker and very disciplined and cared very much about basketball. After working out with him for a bit we just became closer and closer and he is somebody I can talk to any time and I will know he is there for me,” said Milchuk.

During the whole season, though, he was not expecting the treatment he would get compared to his other school. Athens treated him very well not only by the students but teachers as well because they understood what he was going through and the challenges that go through playing basketball in the middle of the school year.

The way Athens made sure Poggioli was doing well in all of his classes, all of the teachers giving him lifelong lessons, and made some of his lifelong friends, he has nothing but good things to say about Athens. The school really helped prepare him for college by showing him how hard you have to work if you want to be great not only in the classroom but in basketball also. St. John was the reason that he was able to go to the College of Charleston but not only in the gym but because he was a role model for everybody including Poggioli.

Not in his wildest dreams did he ever think that he would be going to attend Athens because he never grew up in Raleigh but right outside of it in Cary. Poggioli now cannot imagine his life without going to Athens and meeting everybody that helped him on the way and the friends he made.

“There is no other place I would have rather been my last 2 years of high school and very grateful I got a chance to go here. I cannot thank this place enough” said Poggioli.