CHARLESTON, S.C. - Among the new faces to the College of Charleston men's basketball team this season is 6-foot-1 freshman guard Pat Branin.
The Richmond, Va., native grew up playing tennis and basketball and is the oldest of three children of the Branin Family which includes younger sister, Carter, and younger brother, Tim, Jr. Off the court, he loves to surf which he enjoyed frequently while on family vacations in Virginia Beach. Even though he's seven hours away from home, Branin still finds time to catch waves at nearby Folly Beach when he can.
This year, he will wear No. 10, admiring the game of Jonny Flynn, who wore the same number while one of the top point guards in college basketball at Syracuse and now with the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves. "I wore No. 5 almost my entire career (worn currently by redshirt junior teammate Matt Sundberg), so I picked No. 10 since five times two equals 10 and it's a start to a new career," he said.
He currently lives on campus with fellow freshmen Trevonté Dixon and Anthony Stitt as well as Shane Rogan, a member of the CofC men's golf team. On any typical night, you can find the roommates watching The Office on Netflix or playing Call of Duty on Xbox.
"We do everything together from going to class, going to practice and going to eat," Dixon said. "Pat is always willing to help you and has become a great teammate and friend. He has a surfboard in his dorm room and I'm looking forward to him teaching me how to surf in the off-season."
While at The Steward School, Branin and host brother, Adjehi Baru, led the Spartans to an appearance in the state quarterfinals and a regular-season and conference championship title during their senior campaigns. Branin is one of only four 1,000-point career scorers in school history and holds the program's single-season record for most three-pointers made. A two-time Virginia Commonwealth First Team All-Conference selection, he started and averaged double figures all three years on the varsity team, while knocking down a career-high 29 points as a senior.
"Pat's best asset is being a good shooter," CofC Associate Head Coach Mark Byington said. "He's been working hard and is probably our hardest worker on the team. He spends many hours on his own shooting and working on his game. His best basketball is ahead of him."
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH PAT BRANIN
Q: Are you and Adjehi Baru excited to be playing together at CofC?
A: "Yes, definitely. We played together for two years in high school and now, we're here together in college playing at a different level. It's nice to have someone there to go through it all with you - someone who knows your personality, your strengths, your weaknesses and especially, someone who knows your game."
Q: You've played together a fair amount throughout high school. Do you think playing at CofC will be different?
A: "Yes, I think we will have much different roles than we did in high school. In high school, we were both relied on heavily for most everything and we were looked up to as leaders for our team. Here at CofC, Adjehi will still have a large role and will still be relied on for a lot. Still, we both will have to be ready for the learning curve of playing at the Division I level and focus on perfecting our roles on the team as the coaching staff would like them. There is a far larger focus on details in college basketball, more than what we experienced in high school and AAU. Now, along with doing well in school, basketball is our job and top priority."
Q: How have you handled the adjustment to college life and being a student-athlete?
A: "It was not as stressful as I thought it would be. My high school and my parents did a good job of preparing me. I have been managing my homework and athletics pretty well so far."
Q: How has practice been going?
A: "Practice has been going well. It is definitely more intense than high school. The level of competition is a lot higher. Everyone is working hard and getting better each day. We should be a good team this year."
Q: What are you most looking forward to this season?
A: "I am looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong this year by having a successful season with a lot of wins. Since we lost Drew (Goudelock) and two other key seniors (in Donavan Monroe and Jeremy Simmons) people think we're not going to be as good as we once were. However, we have a lot of talent, we are young and we are all working hard. I think a lot of people will see a great, new side of CofC Basketball this year."