OGDEN — Back in September, Weber State basketball coach Randy Rahe joked about center Zach Braxton returning for, “what is this, his 10th season?” during media day interviews.
Indeed, after redshirting one year, Braxton has anchored Weber State’s front line for four straight seasons. Despite an ankle injury that knocked him out for three games in February, Braxton will leave the program as one of the players to put on the purple and white the most times as a Wildcat.
Entering the final weekend of the regular season, home games against Idaho (Thursday) and Eastern Washington (Saturday, senior night) would take the native of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, to 125 games, good for fifth all-time at WSU.
“Since he’s been here, he’s invested his heart and soul into our program,” Rahe said. “He’s as a good a teammate as you’ll ever find, and he cares a lot. He’s made really good improvements on the court since he’s been here, worked really hard in the offseason to improve. He’s a Weber State type of guy.”
For his senior season, he’s averaging just more than 10 points and seven rebounds per game, as well as at least one dunk.
For his career, he needs two more blocks to move into fifth all-time to tie Darin Mahoney at 100. He also needs 13 rebounds to move into a tie for fifth all-time at the school.
As good as his on-court contributions are, Braxton’s time might be remembered just as much off it. He’s known as an amiable, respectful part of the community who remembers people’s names and takes an interest in their lives.
“I think it was all about the people I met and the relationships I made,” Braxton said. “Basketball is awesome and I love it. But I met a bunch of really awesome people through school, through basketball, through the community and it’s been really special to have that. Especially teammates I’ll talk to for the rest of my life.
“I got to meet Dusty’s (Baker) son for the first time when we were in Sacramento (on Feb. 21). That’s a family for the rest of my life, we’re going to be close friends. It’s important to me to have friends like that, that’s been special.”
Braxton is known that way on the team, too.
“If he’s not scoring the ball because he gets double-teamed or things aren’t going well, he still gives you the effort. He gives you the leadership and all those kinds of things. That’s what I’ll always remember, no matter what’s going on with him, he’s still invested in the team and trying to help the team in other ways,” Rahe said.
Braxton holds a degree in public relations and advertising, and began a second bachelors program in professional sales. He hopes to find places to play professionally before hanging up the sneakers, then perhaps finish his second degree.
“He comes in, he plays hard, he’s a good teammate, he’s a great kid. He’s going to walk out of here with his degree and he’s going to be really successful for the rest of his life. That’s what I’m excited about,” Rahe said. “He’s made incredible progress in every area of his life since he’s been here and I’m really proud of him for that.”
Braxton cited 2016’s NCAA Tournament bid, and Jeremy Senglin’s wild microwave performance at the end of that year’s Big Sky semifinal win over North Dakota, as moments he’ll always remember — for now.
“I don’t think I’m done yet,” he said. “We’ve got a little bit left. We’ve got some unfinished business to take care of in the next few days, next few weeks. I’m excited to see what happens.”