In the movie “High School Musical,” lead character Troy Bolton, played by Zac Efron, has to balance playing on his school basketball team with starring in the school’s musical. Though Bolton manages to pull it off, he is a character in a movie.
But Yale men’s basketball forward Brandon Sherrod ’15 accomplished an even more impressive feat in real life this week, when he was named a member of the Whiffenpoofs class of 2014-’15.
“I’m definitely stoked,” Sherrod said. “It’s an amazing experience, and not many people get this chance. I’m nervous for a new chapter in my life, but excited at the same time.”
Many Whiffenpoofs choose to take a year off from Yale and travel with the group instead of attending school. When asked whether he would continue to play basketball next year or take a gap year, Sherrod declined to comment.
Sherrod started 13 games this season before transitioning into his new role as sixth man for the second-place team in the Ivy League. Head coach James Jones said his new role is to be a spark plug off the bench for the team, both offensively and defensively.
His contributions off the bench have been invaluable for the Elis. He averages 7.5 points per game, while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field.
“Brandon is a tremendous part of our team,” said head coach James Jones. “When he plays well, it’s hard for us to lose a basketball game. We have a great deal of confidence in him.”
Guard Javier Duren ’15, the team’s second-leading scorer, agreed with Jones, saying that Sherrod is an important leader and that his locker room presence is essential to the team.
Though basketball takes up about 25-30 hours per week, Sherrod has been able to carve out another six to eight hours for music, whether singing or playing the drums. He was part of Living Water, a Christian a cappella group, during his first semester of freshman year, but he no longer sings with the group.
“Academics and basketball are a priority because I was recruited to play at Yale, and I chose Yale so that I could get a great education,” Sherrod said in an email. “That being said, I try to find as much time for music as I can.”
Sherrod got his start in music at a young age. Growing up, he sung in the church choir, and had his first solo with his children’s choir when he was about nine years old.
Gabe Nathans ’16, who is in a musical group formerly known as The Notorious K.J.B., which features Sherrod on the drums, said that Sherrod has good musical sense.
“He has a lot of raw talent,” Nathans said. “He’s really creative and has an excellent feel for rhythm.”
Jones, who has coached the Bulldogs for 15 years, said Sherrod will be his first player on the Whiffenpoofs during his time at Yale.
The Whiffenpoofs perform at venues across the globe, which Sherrod said he is excited about as he has never traveled outside the United States.
“He’s very musically inclined and I do think that’s part of who he was [when he was being recruited],” Jones said. “I’m glad that he’s had an opportunity to find a place where it works for him.”
Founded in 1909, the Whiffenpoofs are the oldest collegiate a cappella group in America.