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What's all the Fuss about at Blackhawk?
By Paul Paterra

It's not surprising that the Blackhawk Cougars have the Class AAA basketball team with the best record in the WPIAL.

It's also not surprising that this team is led by perhaps the best point guard in the entire WPIAL.

You see, Blackhawk teams always seem to be successful and always seem to be blessed with a talented point guard.

This year's Blackhawk team enters the week with a 12-0 record. This year's model of the talented point guard is 6-0 junior Brandon Fuss-Cheatham.

Fuss-Cheatham has the keys to one of the top offenses in the WPIAL and he always seems to know just what to do with that power. Shoot the ball. He can do that as he is averaging around 20 points a game. Pass the ball. That's not a problem as he averages around five-six assists a game. Steal the ball. He also does that well with four steals a game.

"The nicest thing about him is that he's there for the team," said Blackhawk coach John Miller. "He probably could be scoring a lot more than he's scoring. We're developing him to run the team. He's maturing to be a guy who makes the other four guys better."

That is something he has done extremely well. Each member of the Cougars' starting lineup is averaging in double figures on the score sheet.

"I think our team is really clicking right now," Fuss-Cheatham said. "We're coming together and jelling, not just on the court. That's what's really helped us. The point guard is the one who starts it out, but our whole team is made up of leaders. It's not just one guy stepping up."

Fuss-Cheatham has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember. His earliest recollections of the game come from picking up the ball and shooting at the hoop as a precocious three-year old.

"My dad always had me (shooting)," Fuss-Cheatham remembered. "He got me started young and then he kept on working with me and still does now." That passion for the game finds him shooting some 500 shots a day to improve his shooter's touch. But Fuss-Cheatham has instincts for the game that can't be taught.

"He has a lot of savvy," Miller explained. "He knows how to play and has a great attitude. He's just slowly progressing up the ladder."

That ladder should find him at a Division I college some day. "That's been my biggest goal since I was young. I wanted to get a scholarship to play basketball," Fuss-Cheatham admitted.

Among the colleges that have already expressed interest in some day having Fuss-Cheatham run their offense are West Virginia, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Clemson, North Carolina State, Duquesne and the University of Pittsburgh. If this season is like most others at Blackhawk, the Cougars will play deep into the postseason. last year's team copped both the WPIAL and PIAA titles. This year's team hopes to do the same.

"Our seniors set goals and they're the goals for all of us," Fuss-Cheatham said. "We want to win the tournaments we're in, then we want to win our section, then we want to win the WPIAL championship and then we want to win states. We always start low and get bigger."

And there's always a point guard like Fuss-Cheatham to get them there.