by Josh Decker
The preseason is underway for Cedarville men’s basketball, and with the new season comes new faces. Among those joining the Yellow Jackets this year is junior transfer Brandon Redendo.
The 6-foot-1-inch guard from Stormville, New York spent his first two years of college basketball at the New York Institute of Technology. In March, he entered the transfer portal and began to look for a new school.
“I entered the portal and just, a lot of different schools reached out to me. I was kind of reaching out to some schools I was interested in,” said Redendo.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Redendo was forced to take virtual tours of campuses and facilities, which meant a very different transfer process than normal.
Redendo stated that his intention was to go to a better team, as his previous school was not winning many games.
“I kind of wanted to go to a winning program,” he said.
That is when Coach Pat Estepp and the Yellow Jackets came calling midway through the transfer process. Once the Yellow Jackets reached out, Redendo said he thought it was a great fit.
“I heard a lot about them… it looked like [Cedarville] was heading in the right direction.”
Regardless of the circumstances, Redendo believed Cedarville to be the best fit for him. After narrowing his schools down, Cedarville was right at the top of Redendo’s list with two other schools.
But the junior said that he was most comfortable with the Yellow Jackets, and believed a lot in the program and the team. He ended up officially committing to the Yellow Jackets on May 20.
Being a smaller school, Redendo said he had never heard of Cedarville University prior to the Yellow Jackets reaching out. However, when he began to check the school out, everything from the campus to the facilities, he was sold.
“Everything just looked beautiful from what I saw.” Redendo stated.
The transfer process amidst COVID-19 did pose some challenges though. Redendo was not able to visit campus in-person before committing, and all communication with the coaching staff was done over Zoom, text, or phone calls. In fact, the first time he stepped foot on campus was a couple days before classes began.
A couple factors played a pivotal role in Redendo choosing the Yellow Jackets in the end.
The positional need was there, as Cedarville only had one point guard on its roster — junior star Branden Maughmer. Coach Estepp and his staff identified another talented guard as a key offseason target, and so when the opportunity to bring in Redendo presented itself, the Yellow Jackets were quick to make him an offer.
“We knew that [point guard] was our thinnest position, and we needed some experience to back up Maughmer at the point, as well as to allow us to move Branden [Maughmer] to the 2 at times,” said head coach Pat Estepp. The addition of Redendo now gives Cedarville more flexibility with the guards, as well as valuable experience in the backcourt.
Cedarville can now run Maughmer and Redendo as a tandem on the floor at the same time, or use the depth to move players around positionally, and create better matchups and opportunities for the team to win.
Redendo also said that the coaching staff influenced his decision to come to Cedarville.
“Coach Futrell and Coach Estepp, just like talking to them, never meeting them in person, but talking to them on Zoom and phone calls… I just liked how they spoke.”
Redendo thought the fit was great, and the coaching staff was always available for any questions he had about the campus or the program.
Looking forward to this upcoming season, Redendo is focused on winning basketball games. He said he is willing to do, “whatever I need to do to win.” Depending on the game, he can provide scoring, he can pass the ball, or he can push the ball in transition — which is a key focus for Coach Estepp and the Yellow Jackets’ style of play.
The duo of Maughmer and Redendo in the backcourt is sure to pose issues for opponents, as the Yellow Jackets now have even more options at their disposal to run their offense. Whether it is facilitating passes and scoring opportunities, or being ready to give Maughmer a break at point guard, Redendo is ready for the challenge.
Even though he has only been on campus a few short weeks, Redendo has enjoyed his time at Cedarville so far.
“It’s definitely what I was expecting,” he said. “The team is really close.”
In the midst of uncertainty regarding the upcoming season, Redendo and the rest of the Cedarville men’s basketball team continue to prepare for the 2020-2021 campaign, with aspirations of another successful season.
Josh Decker is a junior Sport Business Management major, and a sports reporter for Cedars. He loves playing sports with friends, and spends much of his free time as a student assistant for the Cedarville men’s basketball team.