The road to playing Division I college basketball for valley product Josh Braun has had more than it’s share of bumps.
The former Boulder Creek and Westwind Prep standout was one of the top AZ basketball prospects for the 2013 class but was having trouble staying on the floor. In his junior year at Boulder Creek, he suffered a torn ACL.
“I didn’t know I tore it at first, I thought I was going to go back in,” Braun recalled. “They looked at it and it first they didn’t know for sure. Come to find out later that it was an ACL injury. That was real crazy and a little shocking and was a big hit at the time.”
Braun rehabbed battled back onto the floor but then adversity struck again during his senior season now playing for Westwind Prep, as he tore his other ACL.
“The second one was a huge blow,” he stated. “That one was real tough. I was in a dark place at the time. I just really had to rely on my faith and seek out God throughout the whole thing and man he saw me though.”
Contact from college coaches was beginning to lesson and scholarship offers were dwindling away. However one school that maintained contact was Grand Canyon University. Russ Pennell and his staff were high on him and even after the coaching change to Dan Majerle, the interest stayed the same.
“We recruited him because he was a really good player,” said GCU Head Coach Dan Majerle. “He had the knee surgeries but we were going to ride with him when he got here.”
But this unfortunate trend continued even after Braun first arrived on the GCU campus. While practicing with the team he tore the meniscus of one of his already surgically repaired knees forcing him to sit out another season and take a redshirt. Giving up on basketball was creeping into the back of his mind.
“Of course all of those thoughts kind of go through your mind,” stated Braun. “I ended up having four knee surgeries through it all especially right before this season. So I didn’t have a full year to train or stuff like that.”
“He hurt it again and ended up having to have another knee surgery,” added Majerle. “He is such a good kid and you could see the pain in his face.”
But Braun has stuck with it and his hard work and focus is paying off. He was working his way into the Lopes’ rotation to start the year with his excellent shooting and energy. The team needed help in the post at the power forward position so Majerle approached him about starting in that role. Braun had no problem with it as that was the role he played all through high school. As a result, Braun through 17 games is now first on the team in rebounds and second in scoring.
“We moved him to the four and he really took off from there,” mentioned Majerle. “He is playing like he always has. He gives it all, 100% effort, doesn’t play scared. I couldn’t be happier for him because I know what he went through. I’ve been through it myself when you go through so many injuries, it’s hard to keep coming back. But he’s done that and it’s paying off.”
“It His word, it says by His stripes I am healed,” stated Braun. “So I just hold on to that and know that He will see me through no matter what.”