Over the next 27 week days, Bearcats Blog is counting down the top 30 modern Bearcats. So far most of the players that have been discussed have been liked and respected by opposing fans. This next player had the opposite reaction. One of the images in the image search for him is titled "Bobby Brannen Epic Asshole." Loved by Bearcat fans, especially the females, and hated by opposing fans, the next Bearcat on the countdown is Bobby Brannen.
Bobby Brannen is one of the best local products to come to UC. He went to Moeller and dominated. He was a highly sought after recruit who decided to stay home. It was a very smart move for Bobby. I have no doubt if he decided to go to somewhere like Louisville or Marquette or Xavier even, he would be one of the most hated opposing players on all of our lists. By the way, I remember every Bobby Brannen shot looking like that.
Brannen's first season was with the 1994-95 Bearcats. He played 30 of the 34 games of the 23-11 squad. He was stuck behind some solid Bearcat bigs his freshman year, Danny Fortson, Art Long, Curtis Bostic, John Jacobs and Keith Gregor. Brannen made an impact on this team though. He was a dead eye shooter when he put the ball up. He hit 27-52, 52%, 23-34 at the stripe, 68%, for 2.6 points a game. One thing Bobby always did as a Bearcat was rebound. He pulled in 53 boards, 1.8 a game. That Bearcat team got at the boards, and Brannen kept that up off the bench. He had 16 assists, which shows he did not pass a ton. Brannen had 7 steals and 2 blocks.
It was with the elite 8 team of 95-96 that Bobby Brannen became an every game rotation player. Brannen continued to grow his game, but had some growing pains his sophomore season. Offensively, he declined very hard. He made 24-64, 37.5%, just 11-20, 55% from the foul line. That was good for 1.8 points a game. Brannen continued to rebound hard while on the floor. He pulled in 89, 2.7 a game. That was 5th on the team. He had just 15 assists. He picked up the steals to 9 and blocked 2 shots.
The Bobby Brannen we all know and love started emerging his junior season. Brannen started the year off putting up 8-6 and continued to pull in about 6 boards a game the first 9 games. His scoring was in the 5 point range. It was mostly 1 or 2 field goals and a trio of free throws. Brannen exploded against Missouri State. He scored 13 points on 5-9, 3-4 at the line, with 12 rebounds and 3 assists. I believe it was his first double double. He wasn't consistent with his offensive game though, and scored 0 the next game and just 14 the next 4 games following that. But he did hit 8 rebounds twice.
Brannen started C-USA play off by being a 14-18 minute player. He ended the non-con by playing just 9 minutes in a blowout win over Arkansas. He put up 2-1, 4-4, 4-4 before playing 27 minutes against DePaul. In those 27 minutes, Brannen scored 10 points with 8 rebounds. That was followed by a 0-0 in 10 minutes. After 2 games of not doing much of anything, Brannen turned it around. He put up 7-7-2 assists, 7-6-3 assists, 8-3, and 5-6. His scoring dropped off again, but BB pulled in at least 4 rebounds in 6 of the last 7 games. Brannen closed the regular season on a down note, but stepped up his game in tournament play. In a loss to Marquette in the C-USA tournament, Brannen went for 10-4 in 15 minutes. In the opening game of the NCAA tournament against Butler, Brannen put up his second double double of the season with 12-10. He was 3-5, 6-6 at the line and he had 6 offensive rebounds. Brannen played 28 minutes in the Iowa State game. He scored 14 points on 7-10 to go with 5 rebounds. It was those last 3 games that set the stage for what was to come.
On the year, Brannen averaged 5 points and 5.1 rebounds. He was 60-120, 50%, from the field. He hit 44-59, 75% from the foul line. He pulled in 168 rebounds, which was third on the team. Brannen had 24 assists, 0.7 a game. He had 23 steals and he blocked 10 shots.
Bobby Brannen was not playing around to start his senior season. In the first game against Detroit, he set a career high with 24 points, 5-12, 14-17 FTs, to go with a career high 15 rebounds. He played 39 minutes. In the surprising preseason NIT loss to Arizona St, BB had 19, 7-14, 5-5, and 12, 7 offensive. The double double trend continued with a 14-10. It ended with a 19 point, 5 rebound game, but Brannen bounced back with a new career high 28 points and 13 rebounds. Brannen hit 9-13 in both of those games, but went 10-11 at the foul line in the second. Unfortunately, Brannen's worst performance of the year came in the Shootout. He scored 5 with 3 boards in the Xavier ass kicking.
Bobby bounced back with a vengeance. He put up 20-9 on 1-6, 18-20 FTs (insane) before running off another string of double doubles. He put up 20-13 against EKU. He played 42 minutes, scored 32 points on 9-22, 14-18, with 12 rebounds, 5 offensive, against UMass. That was his 3rd career high in just over a month. Brannen went for 14 and 15, with 7 offensive boards, to close the streak. In the first 10 games of the season, Bobby Brannen had 7 double doubles.
Conference play started with Brannen playing all 40 minutes, scoring 20 points with 7 rebounds, 6 offensive, against Houston. He scored the 20 on just 5-17 shooting, but 10-11 at the line. BB put up 9-5, 7-8 FTs, in a 61-54 win against Memphis before getting back into double digits. Brannen had 15-9 against Marquette. He had 24 on 5-9, 14-14, with 4 boards and 4 assists against Southern Miss, before putting up another double double, 12-10, against Louisville. It was at this point Brannen started a good offense, bad offense trend. 5 points followed by 18 points, 7 points followed by 14. His rebounding was still strong, 9, 8 (7 offensive), 6 and 6. He had a couple near double doubles, 14-9, 10-9, in a pair of games UC split. Brannen had his second worst stat game of the season against St Louis, 6-2, but UC won by 27 points. Brannen picked it up the next 2 games. He had 15, 2-7, 11-12, and 7 against USF and 16-12-4 assists against UAB. The last 3 games of the regular season, Brannen couldn't buy a bucket, 2-5, 1-5, 1-4, for 4, 4 and 6 to go with 7, 6, 5 on the glass.
Tournament play didn't start off well for Brannen either. He put up just 4-5 against Louisville. He didn't make a field goal and had 2 boards against UAB, but did hit 11 free throws. Brannen picked it up in the tournament final against Charlotte. He scored 16 on 4-6, 8-9, with 5 boards and 4 assists. UC won. He played 38 minutes. Brannen played 39 minutes in the NCAA tournament opener against Northern Arizona. He went for 24 points on 8-14, 8-12, with 12 rebounds and 2 assists. That gave him 10 double doubles on the season. Brannen went all 40 against Iowa State. He had 13 on 6-11 with 9 rebounds in the Bearcats final game.
Bobby Brannen was the second leading scorer on the 98 squad with 14.3 points a game. He went 137-302, 45.4% from the field. He hit 197-243 from the foul line. That's 84% for you non-math majors. The 197 was the 5th most made free throws in the nation. 114 of his 268 rebounds were offensive. That was 23rd in the country and 1st in the conference. Brannen averaged 8.1 boards a game, second on the team behind some sophomore named Kenyon. Brannen had 33 assists, 1 a game. He had 33 steals, 1 a game. He blocked 11 shots. Brannen's 14.1, 8.1, 1, 1 got him named to the first team All-Conference USA. Brannen was also the Bearcats MVP in 1998.
Why He Made the List
When you think of Bobby Brannen, what do you think of? My memories are of him diving on the floor, jumping into 4 people for a rebound and of course the barb wire tattoo. The pictures tell the same story.
Bobby Brannen face totally should have been a bigger thing in 1998. Seriously, that's hilarious. Brannen even tackled his own teammate.
Pretty sure everyone in that picture is telling Michael Horton to make a fucking free throw.
Pictures can say a lot. In the case of Bobby Brannen, they say it all. Everyone plays hard, but Bobby Brannen went the extra crazy percent. He wasn't as talented as the players around him, and he was very talented, so he worked that much harder. The fact he dyed his hair, had that tattoo, got the line a lot, and was probably an annoying player is why people hate him. Those are all the reasons that we loved him. Bobby Brannen wasn't the leading scorer, he wasn't the leading rebounder, but he was the heart of the team. How many people do you see with the captain C's on their uniforms these days? Bobby Brannen had one.
What He's Doing Now
From what I can gather, after a career of playing in Europe, Brannen lives in the Cincinnati area as a personal trainer. He may be a basketball instructor as well.