This past Monday in GCU’s game against Robert Morris, Josh Braun became the Antelopes all time leader in 3 point field goals made with 199 for his career. “It’s an honor. It’s a great thing, but I think it’s just me trying to do my job. They want me to make shots, so I do my best to make shots when I can.” the senior guard said.
There was a time during Braun’s high school playing days where he went from being a sure shot to a long shot. He went from being a highly sought after recruit, to a player who couldn’t stay healthy. “It went from tearing my right ACL the summer going into my senior year, and then my senior year going into college I tore the other ACL. After the first one, I lost a bunch of scholarships. I got healthy and earned them all back, and then when I tore the second ACL I lost a bunch of them again. I was really struggling, really had a tough time, especially after the second time. It was kind of hard to figure out what to do. Am I going to be able to continue to play, is it going to be a continuous thing? What is the deal here? I had three main offers left, New Mexico State, GCU, and Drake.”
Josh, who wished to play for a Division 1 program, says he didn’t see himself going to Las Cruces, and then a couple of days before he was ready to commit to Drake, the coaching staff got fired. The last remaining offer was GCU, which was not a Division 1 program at that time. Braun, who grew up in Anthem, a community about 30 miles north of Phoenix, was ready to settle on GCU, with the opportunity to play in front of family and friends. But before Braun committed to the Antelopes, the coaching staff was let go. At that point, Braun didn’t know what to do.
Then, in March of 2013, GCU hired Dan Majerle as its new head coach, and Majerle quickly reached out to the player looking for a team. “Out of the blue, Coach Majerle gave me a call and said hey, we’ve seen you play. He hadn’t seen me play in person, just on tape. It was a blessing he would even give me an opportunity. I appreciate him. I owe him a whole lot. I am thankful he took a chance on me.” Braun said. GCU head coach Dan Majerle adds, “This is his fifth year, he redshirted, my first recruit. He’s been here through the good times and the bad times. He has had a lot of surgeries, fought through it, really worked on his game, so I am proud of him.”
.@paulcoro: Josh Braun set the GCU record for career 3-point makes and was a key part of a 26-5 first-half run in a Lopes win.
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— GCU Men’s Basketball (@GCU_MBB) November 14, 2017
Braun’s perseverance has paid off. He’s a 2 time academic All American (who will earn a master’s degree in Business Administration this spring), a 2 time WAC 1st team selection, and was chosen as this year’s pre-season conference player of the year. “He deserves it. He is everything a college athlete should be. Just his character on and off the floor. How he represents himself, this university, not only how he plays, he set the culture for everybody these last four years.” Majerle said.
GCU Junior guard Gerard Martin adds, “He epitomizes GCU. His character, you’ll never meet a nicer guy than Josh. On the court he brings it every day. He comes in here and gets better, and then he goes out and gives (opposing) teams 20 or 30 points, and he will be nice about it after the game. He will be nice to them (opposing team) and I will be like Josh, you just gave them 30, you can’t be nice to them. He’s an unbelievable guy, great teammate.”
Braun is held in high regard around campus as well. Last year he was named “Mr. GCU” based on his popularity and friendliness. Part of the process involved performing a skit in front of classmates. “It was one of those things that you have to throw all pride and dignity to the side, and kind of go out there and let everybody have a laugh at you. I did a Peyton Manning Saturday Night Live skit where Peyton went into the locker room and he was yelling and screaming. He was talking to the guys and saying we are down by 30, they were getting killed, and he was like let’s just sneak out the back door. So I kind of spun it into a GCU halftime. I had a friend of mine play Coach Majerle and had some fun.”
The 6’4″ 205 pound guard, who has lost 25 pounds since last season and feels quicker and lighter on his feet, is hoping to perform on a bigger stage come March in the NCAA Tournament.“For a guy to stick with us this long during the transition, knowing he could not get to the tournament until his senior year is big. He has had a terrific career, hopefully we can cap it off for him.” Majerle said. Braun adds, “More than anything, I just want to enjoy this last season. Play my heart out and have a blast. I would love to go to the tournament. That’s the big thing. That’s always been the goal for me for a long time, since I was a kid. It would be huge. I would have fun with these guys and what a way to end the story.”