Owls' Bunce cited as B.C.'s top player
It doesn't take the sting out of failing to win a provincial high school basketball championship over two outstanding seasons at Kelowna Secondary School but standout KSS Owls player Braxston Bunce has been recognized as the best high school basketball player in B.C.
Bunce, a 6-foot-11 centre, was named Basketball B.C.'s Outstanding High School Boys Player this week, capping a stellar high school career with one of the biggest individual awards in the sport.
"It's a nice way to cap off my senior year after not winning provincials. I feel like any three of us could have won it," said Bunce of his fellow nominees which included KSS guard Mitch Goodwin. "They are great players so it's pretty humbling. But it really doesn't take any sting away. I would trade an individual award any day for getting the gold medal at provincials."
Bunce and Goodwin are arguably the top basketball tandem to wear Owls colours. It's rare to have not one, but two players up for a provincial award in basketball. The pair led KSS to two solid years where they were amongst the top basketball teams in B.C. They are now preparing to move on to play more hoops south of the border and possibly for Team Canada. The two have been invited to attend a tryout camp for Team Canada's Under-18 basketball team on the May long weekend in Toronto. It's a team Bunce played on last year and he's hoping for a return to the national program.
"I feel very fortunate I was able to represent my country last year and make the team," he said. "It was a pretty special experience. As long as I keep working hard I think I will get some more opportunities to represent Canada in the next few years. There's no way I would ever say no to playing for my country."
Like Goodwin, Bunce's development is going to continue in the USA. But while Goodwin is going to play in the American prep school system, Bunce is jumping into college, as he will start a NCAA career at Ivy league school Cornell in the fall.
"I'm very excited to head down there, it's going to be a big jump for me with the learning curve," he said. "Once I get down there I just want to soak up as much as I can and feed off the older players. I'll need to adjust to playing with older and stronger players. It's going to be a big jump."
Bunce will graduate from KSS with a straight A average in school and due to his basketball prowess, had several choices of where he wanted to attend college or university. Choosing an Ivy league school was a way to lock down his future after basketball. He says education was the biggest reason he chose Cornell, located in Ithica, New York.
"I definitely made my decision based on the education package Cornell brought to me," he said. "It was pretty unbelievable. It was hard to turn down. I'm going to work hard to get my degree and set myself up for the rest of my life. It's a head up on the competition when you have an Ivy league degree. The education is very important to me and I feel fortunate that basketball was able to get me an opportunity like that."