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CHS grad determined to prove doubters wrong
Brett Sayad always envisioned playing basketball for a four-year college right out of high school.

The 2008 Ceres High graduate didn't receive a single scholarship offer despite averaging 21.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game as a senior.

One local collegiate coach even questioned Sayad's toughness.

"It definitely drives me," Brett said. "I want to show them what type of player they lost."

Forced to take the community-college route, Brett hasn't disappointed.

Sayad's currently the top scorer for the Modesto Junior College men's basketball team. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound freshman forward ranks in the top eight in the Big 8 Conference with a 14.4-point average for the Pirates (16-14 overall, 7-5 league). He's pulling down 5.9 rebounds per contest. Brett's also buried 30 3-pointers.

"At the beginning of the year, I was just a shooter," Sayad said. "Now, I'm the do-everything player."

Brett's role changed after top scorer Sammy Yeager was dismissed from the team during the latter part of the regular season.

"He (coach Paul Brogan) didn't have to tell me anything," Sayad said. "I just kind of knew. I don't mind taking the big shot, knowing my team has confidence in me. I like be the go-to-guy in crunch time."

Brett had a dunk, three treys and a career-high 23 points in a 72-62 loss to Diablo Valley College on Feb. 10 in Pleasant Hill.

"I got hot early," said Sayad, who had a big night during the Pirates' second game without Yeager. "It's definitely a confidence booster."

He totaled 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds during the Pirates' 72-68 triumph over second-place Cosumnes River on Thursday in Sacramento.

Sayad knew midway through his senior season at Ceres High that he was destined for Modesto JC. Brett has relished the opportunity to compete close to home in front of his family and friends.

"It's different playing with a lot of new guys, but I really enjoy it," he said. "Everyone's quicker. Everyone's faster. Everyone can play. It's challenging."

Brett increased his work ethic prior to the start of his collegiate career. He hit the weight room during the offseason and continues to lift twice a week with his teammates.

"I need to get stronger and quicker, and work on my defense," said Sayad, who's trying to earn a scholarship to the University of the Pacific. "I want to keep making myself better so I can keep competing. I can't slack off because I want to prove all the doubters wrong."