Former Tiger Brenton Petty tears into Terrapin territory


Courtesy of Brenton Petty

Noam Jacobovitz

Five years ago today, Brenton Petty was getting ready for his senior season and hoping to lead Wilson basketball to its first DCIAA title in decades. Now, Petty is working with some of the best college players in the country as a graduate assistant at the University of Maryland. Petty’s path to a highly coveted position with one of the best basketball programs in the country, which includes getting his master’s degree in business and management paid for, was never easy.

Brenton Petty graduated from Wilson in 2014. “I liked Wilson a whole lot. It was a great school—great academics, I made good friends. I had an opportunity to play basketball all four years,” Petty says.

Petty fondly remembers playing basketball at Wilson, and recalls building a tight relationship with then-JV Head Coach and Varsity Assistant Angelo Hernandez. Petty says, “I owe a lot of my success to him (Coach Hernandez)…from things like 6 am pool workouts he really instilled a lot of the hard work and dedication I put towards the game and my life today.”

Petty enrolled at Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia, an NCAA Division II school, for his freshman year of college. After one week he knew, “it wasn’t the fit” for him so he decided to return to DC. Petty finished his freshman year at Catholic University but knew it wasn’t going to work out because of a desire to get out of DC. Petty says that he used that year as a redshirt to figure out what his next move was. After making a few calls, and through College and Career Coordinator Patrice Arrington’s help, he was able to attend Fordham University the next year.

That summer, Petty was given the opportunity to coach the 15U team in the Fab Phenoms program, Hernandez’s AAU basketball program. A lot of Wilson players were also a part of the Fab Phenoms program. “I started to fall in love with coaching and realized I really wanted to be around the game,” Petty says about the summer he coached.

When he arrived at Fordham, Petty “wasn’t really on the [basketball] team,” but still stayed around the NCAA Division I program as a manager. “That’s not what I wanted to do,” Petty said. Despite not knowing anyone when he arrived, in just four months, Petty worked his way up to becoming an official Fordham player. “One day at practice at Fordham, somebody went down with an injury and they needed somebody on the scout team.” Petty knew this was his chance and that his performance “surprised” the coaches. “The coaches didn’t realize I was so fast and that good.” After around a month on the scout team (players practicing with the team but not part of their main roster), Petty was asked to join the regular team. Petty played three seasons at Fordham.

Going into his senior year, Petty told his coaches that he wanted to either work as a graduate assistant at a Division I program or work as an NBA intern in video coordinating or player development. “I would help him (Assistant Coach Mike DePoli) with scouting reports, breaking down film, and just helping him with the little things in the office so I could get familiar with how D1 programs run,” Petty says. In return, his coaches gave him their contacts at other schools. Petty says it was a stressful time where he, “was probably emailing 20 coaches a week.” Petty then got in contact with the coaches at Maryland and was interviewed for a graduate position in their program. Petty describes receiving the job offer as a “blessing.”

Petty is getting his master’s degree in business and management over the next two years at Maryland. As a graduate assistant, Petty says he mails letters to recruits, makes graphics, works out players, and breaks down film. “I do whatever needs to be done around the office.” Petty also now gets to coach Ricky Lindo Jr., former Wilson basketball star, at Maryland for the second time—Lindo was a part of the Fab Phenoms 15U team Petty coached. Petty describes coaching Lindo again as “really cool” since he coached the former Tiger when “nobody knew about him.”

Petty says his ultimate goal is working full time for an NCAA Division I program. Knowing how hard Brenton Petty has worked to get where he is now, nothing should be put past him.