SMNW’s Brenni Rose, Raytown’s Cody Buford and Future Soldier Jarrell Lee Brown selected as U.S. Army High School Top Performers


FEBRUARY 2015 – Each month Kansas City Sports & Fitness Magazine teams up with the U.S. Army to honor High School Top Performers. This month we visited Shawnee Mission Northwest, Raytown High School and the Independence Recruiting Center to honor three Top Performers in the Kansas City metro.

Brenni Rose, Shawnee Mission NW, Student/Athlete

Brenni Rose has been an impact player for Shawnee Mission Northwest the past two seasons. She was an all-state performer as a sophomore.

But this season, despite adjusting to a new coach, Tyler Stewart, Rose has taken her game to another level.

“I think things have gone really well this year,” Rose said. “With us having to learn a completely new offense and adjust to new coaches, I felt like we’ve all bought in. (Coach Stewart) knows his stuff and that makes it more fun and exciting.”
Stewart credits Rose with improving her defense and leadership last offseason, but she is one of the top players in the metro because of her offense. She poured in a season-high 29 points against Lee’s Summit North and is always a tough match-up for opponents.

“She’s such a tough person to guard because she’s 6-foot-1, she can post you up or take you outside,” Stewart said. “The games she’s filled it up are the ones she’s mixed it up inside and outside and it’s hard for other teams to defend her.”

The Cougars advanced to the state tournament last year but bowed out after one game.“The main goal is get back to state but we’d like to stay and compete for a state championship that second day,” Rose said.

Even though she is a junior, Rose has committed to Drake.

“I’ve been going to camps there for a few years now so I’ve built relationships with the coaches and the girls there,” she said. “I love the offense they run. When you know, you know.”

Cody Buford, Raytown High School, Boys Basketball Coach

Raytown boys coach Cody Buford knew going into the season his team had a difficult early schedule, but when the Blue Jays went winless through five games he was surprised.

TP-cody-buford-raytown“I didn’t think necessarily we’d be 5-0 but I didn’t expect 0-5,” he said.

It would be natural to worry about the confidence of your players after such a difficult opening to the season, but Buford’s team never panicked. The Blue Jays are riding a nine-game winning streak and have won 11 of 12 overall after losing their first five.

“To the kids’ credit, they’ve stayed the course and been real resilient and continued to work hard,” Buford said. “We’ve righted the ship.”

Raytown’s perfect January earned Buford U.S. Army Coach of the Month honors.

“I’m truly blessed to get the award,” he said. “We wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for the assistant coaches and obviously the kids.”

“It’s real good playing for coach Buford,” said senior forward Jailen Gill. “He’s a great man and a great coach. We started off rough this year but coach Buford has got us back into it.”

When presenting the award to Buford in front of his team, Army Staff Sgt. DeLeon spoke of Army values and discipline, words the coach took to heart.

“We like our kids to be well-disciplined,” Buford said. “Kids will never tell you they like the structure or the discipline but they respond well to it. Those Army values, they’re values you’ll find in any great family or team or company. Yes, we’re basketball coaches and it’s about basketball, but it’s more about getting these kids ready for the real world and ready for life.”

Jarrell Lee Brown, Raytown High School, Future Soldier

Jarrell Lee Brown has wanted to be in the Army a long time. This month’s Top Performer Future Soldier enlisted days after his 17th birthday.

TP-jarrell-brown“My grandfather, he actually worked in leadership for the Army,” Brown said. “He always said glowing things about it so that was a big influence (on my decision to join). And another student from my school last year enlisted and spoke highly of it. I was actually her referral so she got promoted off of me.”

A senior at Raytown High School, Brown has lived in Raytown most of his life. Other than a brief stint as a wrestler, he did not participate in athletics despite getting heavily recruited in the hallways by coaches.

“Yeah, that happened all the time,” Brown said. “I just really don’t like sports.”
Instead, he discovered a love of music, playing the baritone saxophone in the school band since middle school.

He also enjoys an activity very popular among youth, but with a different spin.

“I like to play video games,” Brown said. “But I’m trying to break the stereotype of guys in their mom’s basement. I like to play Call of Duty and then bust out some push-ups during breaks.”

Brown is enlisted as a private in the infantry. He is interested in possibly going to Airborne School and eventually law enforcement after his military career. He begins basic training in June.

Article by Nick McCabe

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