MBK: Elite All-American status bestowed on Branson

Athlete of the Week

Preston Branson

Westmont’ s Preston Branson has been honored as a 2013 NAIA Men’s Basketball All-American first team selection. Branson, who earned second team All-American honors last year, averaged 15.8 points per game while shooting 45.6 percent from the floor (169 of 371).

“It’s a great accomplishment for him and for our program,” said Westmont head coach John Moore. “I think he has been one of the finest guards to ever play here at Westmont and put on a Warrior uniform. His work ethic is extremely high. Every time we have a shoot around, Preston is in the gym early getting shots up. That tells you about his dedication to the game. He is hyper-competitive.”

The senior guard from Dallas, Texas is the fourth Warrior to be named to the first team and the first since Brian Gomes in 1999. The other two are Dave Schultz in 1984 and Fred DeVaughn in 1973. He is also the fourth Warrior to twice earn All-American honors. In addition to Branson, Gomes and Schultz, Chris Clark earned All-American honors in 2002 and 2003.

“He had some challenges this year, which makes receiving this honor even more rewarding,” said Moore.

He missed a couple of games this year – once with a punctured lung and once with a hamstring injury. He recovers fairly quickly and always seems to be ready to play at the most opportune times.”

Branson finished his career with 1,598 points, fourth on the Westmont career scoring list. John Crew (1950-54) leads the list with 1,679 points. Mark Miller (1973-77) is in second with 1,671 points. Clark is third on the list, one point ahead of Branson with 1,599 points.

Branson finished second in career made free throws with 478. Crew also heads that list at 499.

“Preston had big games at the times that we needed him. I think he has hit as many big shots in key situations as any player I have ever coached.”

Jordan Sachs of La Habra, who posted 11.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, received honorable mention recognition.

“Jordan is a prime example of playing your best in your senior season,” noted Moore. “I would say he was our true team leader this year. He ranked seventh in rebounding in the Golden State Athletic Conference and third in defensive rebounds even though he is more of a wing than a post player.”

Sachs also finished the conference sixth in assists (3.39 per game), fifth in free throw percentage (.812) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.56).

Branson was fourth in scoring in the GSAC and seventh in free throw percentage (.778)

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