“Mr. Basketball – My Brother, Brett Coreno”
A story about North Olmsted High School Boys Basketball’s All-Time Leading Scorer, told by his brother, Brad Coreno.
I was just a little kid at the time…
I can still remember all the hype surrounding my older brother.
All the excitement, all the people chanting his name and all the reporters interviewing him.
He would block shots like Hakeem, rebound like Barkley and splash fade aways like Dirk.
He could post you up, hit the turn around jumper and knock down threes.
He was an incredible jumper, so much so, that future NBA star Chris Webber, who in 1991 was ranked the #1 high school basketball player in the country, told my brother after playing against him in a tournament that he “never saw a white boy who could jump like that.”
He was also one of the most highly touted high school basketball players in the state of Ohio and he was the pride & joy of North Olmsted.
Growing up as Brett Coreno’s younger brother was nothing short of feeling like you were invincible. As my big brother, he was the closest thing to a superhero in my life.
I cherished every moment back then.
HIS LOVE OF BASKETBALL….
My brothers love for the game started as a young child.
He would constantly shoot hoops outside, even if it was raining or snowing.
Brett practiced every single day and poured a lot of sweat, blood and tears into our driveway.
He worked his ass off to mold his game into what it would later become.
After a while, I started figuring out that my brother was not just your average athlete; he was special at what he did.
But it wasn’t just the sport of basketball that my brother was good at; he had the ability to play tight end in football and was recruited by a few local high schools to join their football programs, but he respectfully declined.
He was also phenomenal high school baseball pitcher. So good, that a few of the local Cleveland news stations did stories on him his senior year. He consistently threw in the high 80’s and low 90’s and had a devastating curveball.
His high school catcher, who just happened to be his best friend, Brett Muche, once said that he had good enough stuff to make it to the majors. (And that’s not a statement to be overlooked by Muche, who himself went on to play many years in the Minor League’s of the MLB and was once considered one of the best defensive catchers in all of the minors.)
But football and baseball weren’t my brothers true love.
Basketball was his true love.
And he made sure he perfected that love.
I CAN REMEMBER….
During my brother’s high school career on game days, my parents would dress me up in a #14 North Olmsted High School replica jersey with “Little Coreno” on the back.
I’d walk into the gymnasium and all the cheerleaders would walk over and give me hugs.
Brett’s good friends would high-five me and ask my mom if I could sit with them in the student section.
People from North Olmsted would be chanting “LITTLE CORENO!” as I walked up the bleachers with my parents.
I was only seven years old yet I felt like a movie star.
NORTH OLMSTED HIGH SCHOOL CAREER….
During Brett’s high school playing days, the opposing teams would be systematically plotting to stop him from scoring on them…but in most cases, it didn’t work.
Box in ones, double teams, you name it, my brother would beat it.
He scored 41 points in multiple games and was being interviewed by local TV stations on an almost weekly basis.
My brother ended up having a sensational basketball career at North Olmsted High School.
It began by him winning numerous conference and state awards during his Sophomore and Junior years, including:
- All Southwestern Conference second team his Sophomore year
- All Southwestern Conference first team his Junior year
- Akron Beacon Journal first team his Junior year
- Plain Dealer first team his Junior Year
- Honorable mention All State in Ohio his Junior year
As a Senior, he became one of the most accomplished players in the state of Ohio taking home the following honors along the way:
- Southwestern Conference Most Valuable Player
- North Olmsted High School’s all time leading scorer
- Co-Player of the year in Northeastern Ohio
- Leading scorer in the city of Cleveland (Averaged 31 points per game)
- Second team All State in Ohio
- Akron Beacon Journal First team
- Chronicle First Team
- Named as one of the top 10 players in the city of Cleveland
He also set numerous basketball records at North Olmsted High School, including:
- Most Career points (1350)
- Most free throws made in a single game (19)
- Most free throws made in a season (115)
- And most free throws made in a career (224)
He is still one of the all-time leading scorers in boys basketball history in the state of Ohio along with the likes of Jimmy Jackson, Clark Kellogg and LeBron James.
He was inducted into the North Olmsted Athletic Hall Of Fame in May of 2004.
If you ask my brother about all of his high school success, he would credit his teammates and coaches. Guys like Mike Yanak, Scott Dress, Shannon Wadas and coach Dave Borish along with many others helped my brother mature as a basketball player and as a person.
After a wildly successful high school career, it was now time for my brother to choose one of the dozens of colleges and universities vying for his talents.
THE COLLEGE YEARS….
He was recruited by many major colleges including Tom Davis’ Iowa program and local Ohio programs such as Bowling Green and Cleveland State, to name a few.
He ended up choosing a smaller, lesser known college in the beautiful foothills of Southern Ohio: The University of Rio Grande.
Most people always ask, “Why didn’t he go to a bigger school?”
Well, for anyone that knows my brother, he is one of the most laid back, modest people on the entire planet. In fact, he HATES attention. The big city/big school vibe was just not his thing.
Rio Grande is located down in the southeastern portion of the state, not too far from Athens. It’s the home of the first ever Bob Evans Farm & Restaurant, so it has a small town feel that my brother loved.
Rio is also the college of legendary basketball player Bevo Francis, who set the mens college basketball scoring record with 113 points in a single game back in the 1954.
The decision to go to Rio would end up shaping my brother’s life in many other ways, namely because he met his future wife, Michele, while he was a sophomore there.
They have been happily married for almost twenty years and have two boys, Bryce and Brady.
Brett couldn’t have asked for a better wife, as Michele not only loves sports, but is a coach herself (former volleyball, and now boys cross-country). Her Piketon High School Boys Cross Country team just finished 5th in State of Ohio in Division II.
My brother and Michele hold a special bond when it comes to teaching and coaching, and it’s one of the many reasons I believe they were destined for each other.
HIS PLAYING DAYS AT RIO GRANDE…
The MVP that took over North Olmsted High School during the previous four years had to sit on the bench and learn his Freshman year at Rio.
He was playing behind many other talented players and had to wait his turn. He didn’t get big minutes that year, but that was about to change…
His Sophomore year he began to see more and more playing time, and by his Junior year, he was the best player in the entire conference.
In one particular game during his Junior year, Brett was matched up against 7 foot 4 inch future NBA center, Priest Lauderdale of Central State. Brett was a nervous wreck the days leading up to the game. “How am I going to guard a guy almost an entire FOOT taller than me?” The answer surprised even Brett…
He ended up dominating Lauderdale by shooting three’s and running him up and down the court, eventually tiring out the big fella.
That was one of the many moments in college when he would outsmart a bigger, stronger player.
MID OHIO CONFERENCE MVP AWARDS…
Brett took his play to a whole new level in both his Junior and Senior years, and ended up winning back to back Conference MVP’s.
He is still the only player in Mid-Ohio Conference history to win back to back MVP’s.
Quite an accomplishment for the skinny kid from North Olmsted, Ohio.
In both of those years, Rio Grande was a powerhouse and a perennial playoff team in the NAIA tournament. They won a total of 98 games in Brett’s four years at Rio, an incredible run.
They had many talented players on those squads including: Jeff Brown, Walter Stephens, Matt Powell (Also in the Rio Hall of Fame and the second all-time leading scorer in school history), Jack Morgan, The Caudill Brothers and Jeff Hoeppner, to name a few.
Rio Grande featured a tremendous coaching staff in those days led by head coach John Lawhorn and assistant coaches Earl Thomas and Jeff Lanham. Brett wouldn’t have accomplished what he did without them and to this day talks about how those coaches helped shape him as a man.
At one of my brothers games during his senior year, a few NBA scouts from the Golden State Warriors and the now defunct Seattle Supersonics came to watch one of the opposing players.
After the game was over, the scouts wanted to know who this Brett Coreno character was that put on a clinic against said opposing player. One scout had said that if my brother was three or four inches taller, he would be a draft pick in the NBA.
My brother was a 6’5 center and the average center in the NBA runs about 6’11, so you could see the disparity. And my brother was not very mobile, so he wouldn’t be able guard smaller, quicker NBA guards. But many are still convinced my brother could’ve walked on as the 12th man on an NBA team.
He got offers to play for teams overseas, but he choose to pursue his teaching and coaching career after graduation instead.
After coaching as an assistant at Oak Hill High School and student teaching at Avon Lake High School in the mid 1990’s, my brother eventually landed the head coaching job at Piketon High School near Chillicothe, Ohio.
He coached the boys basketball team from 1999-2004 and won district coach of the year honors in 2004.
He is currently head coach of the Piketon girls basketball team and has led them to some surprising winning seasons.
Last year, exactly ten years after winning coach of the year for the boys team, he won coach of the year in his district for the girls team.
He is the only coach in school history to win district coach of the year for both the boys and the girls basketball teams.
COLLEGE INDUCTION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF RIO GRANDE…
On Saturday, November 15th, 2014, my brother was inducted into the University of Rio Grande Athletic Hall of Fame, capping off an incredible basketball career.
But if you were ask the people at Rio or anywhere my brother has played or coached, they would all tell you that he is a better person than basketball player or basketball coach.
As for me, I’ve been fortunate enough to know Brett Coreno my entire life. He is the most modest of people, continuing to shrug off any praise he gets for his basketball accolades. Brett is the ultimate big brother & role model and the kind of brother that leads by example, never showy nor egotistical.
He’s a no BS kinda guy.
He’s played an instrumental role in my life and continues to be a major positive influence on my development as a human being.
If I had to go back and choose anyone to have as a brother, there wouldn’t be a single person I would’ve chosen over Brett Coreno.
So whenever I reflect on those days as a little kid watching my big brother play basketball, I can’t help but smile. Those were some of the first memories of my entire life and ones that I will cherish forever.
Looking back at his career to this point, Brett has won numerous MVP awards, multiple coach of the year honors, broke many records and was inducted into both his high school athletic hall of fame and college athletic hall of fame.
Truly a remarkable career for a remarkable guy.
Congrats on everything you’ve been able to accomplish Brett, your little brother couldn’t be prouder.
You can also find the story at https://bradcoreno311.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/mr-basketball-my-brother-brett-coreno/
For all of Brad Coreno’s stories, go to https://bradcoreno311.wordpress.com/?ref=spelling