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The Son Also Rises

All-American follows parents' lead to success on and off the court

Brady Skeens and his parents Joy and Allen

From The Ichabod - Spring 2018

Joy Skeens, bs ’85, was back on campus for her Washburn University Athletics Hall of Fame induction in 2012 when a fellow Ichabod great approached her family.

Bob Chipman, then in his 33rd year coaching the men’s basketball team, congratulated Joy and her husband, Allen, and started to introduce himself to the Skeens’ three sons.

“When were you going to tell me about this kid?” Chipman asked, his eyes moving from Joy to the Skeens’ tallest son, Brady, then a 6-foot-4 high school sophomore.

“This is a big day for me,” Joy replied. “I want to focus on the event, but feel free to talk with Allen about recruiting.”

Forward Thinking

Hall of fame inductions typically focus on past achievements, and with 1,356 career points, 806 rebounds and a .571 field goal percentage, Joy, who played at Washburn as Joy Benton, had a lot to celebrate. But Chipman didn’t rack up 800-plus wins without keeping his eyes peeled for potential power forwards.

Three years after their introduction, Brady was suiting up in a Washburn number 22 jersey, the same number Joy wore for the Lady Blues.

Like his mother, Brady’s name is now etched in Washburn’s record books. The Shawnee Mission Northwest product out of Shawnee, Kansas, ranks 12th in career points (1,229), first in field goal percentage (.688), and first in blocks (242).

Mother-Son Career Comparison

Brady Skeens
(men's WU ranking)

Joy Skeens
(women's WU ranking)

1,229 (12) Points 1,356 (7)
990 (3) Rebounds 806 (4)
.688 (1) FG pct. .571 (3) 

 

Chipman coached Brady to two MIAA defensive player of the year awards, and this year, under new Coach Brett Ballard, Brady won a third. Both coaches credit Brady’s strengths to a foundation set long before college.

“I inherited a good group of guys who have allowed me to coach them,” Ballard said. “I think it’s probably the way they’ve been raised. We’ve got a great group of parents. These guys act the right way on and off the court, and I think they’ve always respected authority.”

Parental Guidance

“I joke I got the athletic ability from my mom and the love for basketball from my dad,” Brady said.

Joy shared the skills she learned at Washburn, and Allen his experience as a player for Osawatomie High School and various AAU and city leagues.

“We weren’t a family to send him to a bunch of camps that cost lots of money,” Allen said. “You get more out of it if you’re having fun, so there were a lot of competitive games in the driveway.”

Allen used some of the same techniques from Brady’s basketball upbringing to create the Power Group, a program that helped turn players into high-level college stars. On-court instruction remains a side occupation for Allen, who works as an attorney and teaches at the Center for Advanced Professional Studies in the Blue Valley, Kansas, school district. Joy worked 30 years at Hallmark Cards before retiring in 2015. She is currently a program assistant at Kindred Healthcare.

Full-time careers never kept Allen and Joy from passing their basketball knowledge down to Brady and his brothers, Colton and Logan. But head-to-head games against the parents were less common than one might expect.

“My dad was always a lot better than me,” Brady said. “There was a point in time I started to get him, but then he said he was too old. And I was scared to play my mom because I thought she would beat me
in knockout.”

Making the Grade

Following his senior season this March, Brady was named third-team All-America by Basketball Times and honorable mention All-America by D2Bulletin. Even as the accolades poured in, there’s no question which honor Brady appreciates most.

“Individually, my favorite is getting Academic All-American two years,” he said. “I was always raised that playing basketball was a privilege. It can only take you so far in life. I was raised that school and academics come before basketball, so that’s the award that best portrays that.”

After he graduates in May with dual bachelor of business administration degrees in management and finance this spring, Brady plans to test the waters for a basketball career overseas and eventually enter graduate school.

“One of the primary things we wanted to instill was a strong work ethic,” Allen said. “So he came to understand the value of working hard, and that you get out of life what you put in, and he certainly worked to be as good at it as he could be.”

The Ichabod Spring 2018

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. Read the 2017-18 spring edition online and look for it in mailboxes in late May.

View past editions

 

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