HPCA’s Masten signs with Brevard

Jun. 11, 2014 @ 06:19 PM

Brayden Masten knew his road to playing college basketball wouldn’t be easy.

He knew he’d have to become a better player. And to become a better player, he’d have to compete at a higher level. Now, after two years at High Point Christian that challenged him, Masten has signed with Brevard College to continue playing at the NCAA Division II level.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” says Masten, the son of Terri and Robert of Winston-Salem. “To have the opportunity to play college basketball, I’m just blessed. And knowing my parents don’t have to pay for my college is something that means a lot to them and means a lot to me.”
Masten played a number of sports, like soccer and baseball, while he was growing up in Winston-Salem. He also enjoyed basketball, and he was always taller than his peers. So, he started focusing more and more on basketball as he got older.
“I love sports,” he says. “My grandfather’s always played basketball, and he used to play with me in my backyard. That’s something I always loved and could enjoy with him. The dream of playing college basketball was something I wanted to make come true for him.
“And I’m really competitive. I love playing, and I hate losing. Plus, it’s a team game. I love being with my teammates, my friends. It’s something I can enjoy with them while hopefully winning.”
Masten played basketball through middle school at Wiley Middle and joined Team Winston for AAU. He had the talent to play and the drive to compete. So, as he got into high school at R.J. Reynolds, he started getting looks from schools.
But through three years at Reynolds, he knew he needed a change, despite contributing well. So, looking to compete with the best in the area, he transferred to High Point Christian, which has grown into one of the area’s top teams in recent years.
The Cougars, however, had a number of very talented, more experienced players in front of him. So, he went from being a starter to a substitute at a new position, moving from guard to post. But he knew that if he worked hard to improve, then his time would eventually come.
“It was hard, but I knew that coming in,” he says. “I knew there were six seniors and four guys going DI. That was probably going to happen, and Coach Clifford told me that. And I was happy for those guys.
“I just knew I was getting better. I was getting better playing with those guys. Even though I wasn’t starting, I knew that playing against tough competition was helping me get better. And my family, my coaches helped me stay positive.”
As he continued to gain strength and learn his position, he started to see more time. Particularly as a senior, he was called upon to have a much more prominent role. In his two years, the Cougars went 48-13 and reached the NCISAA 3A semifinals both years.
“Brayden came to us as a kid who kind of needed to get stronger, grow as a player and a student. It’s been an up-and-down two years for him,” coach Brandon Clifford says. “But, in the end, he came on for us and he’s worked hard to get where he is now. And we’re proud of him.
“When you’re playing at a scholarship level that means you’ve accomplished something. So, our hope for him is that he’s equipped with what he needs to be successful, both in getting a degree and on the basketball court.”
As he looked at colleges, which also included Chowan, Masten continued to go back to Brevard, which had started looking at him when he was at Reynolds. So, in August, head coach Lee Burgess talked with him about playing for the Tornadoes, and he accepted.
“Brevard has always been there for me. They made me feel comfortable, and I felt like I was in the right spot,” says Masten, who wants to study sports management. “It was really my relationship with Coach Burgess.
“He was the first to contact me. He checked in with me every week, came to two or three of my games and practices. It just felt like the right fit.”
mlindsay@hpe.com
888-3526
@HPEmichael