Braden Jenkins has committed to playing college basketball at Luther College. (Courtesy photo | John Blasco)

Braden Jenkins has committed to playing college basketball at Luther College. (Courtesy photo | John Blasco)

Thunder Mountain trio signs to play college basketball

The last time three players signed in one year was 2014.

Three members of Thunder Mountain’s boys basketball team have committed to play college basketball as they head on in the fall.

Brady Carandang, Bryson Echiverri and Braden Jenkins have all been signed to play their next semester across three colleges in the Lower 48.

“I think the last time this happened for us was our 2013-2014 season,” said THMS boy’s coach John Blasco in a phone interview. “These don’t just happen. These are teams that are built over many years. It’s very exciting and rewarding as a coach to see them continue to play a game they love.”

Carandang committed to Edmonds Community College near Seattle, Echiverri is heading to Spokane Community College, and Jenkins is heading to Luther College, a private school in Decorah, Iowa.

“It’s incredibly hard to make that next jump, especially coming out of Alaska, being the small school that we are,” Blasco said. “It can be done. It just takes commitment and hard work and these three guys are perfect examples of that. The hours that they put in paid off. I couldn’t be more proud and excited for them.”

Courtesy photos | John Blasco                                 Brady Carandang is heading for Edmonds Community College.

Courtesy photos | John Blasco Brady Carandang is heading for Edmonds Community College.

Carandang said he’s looking forward to fitting in with the atmosphere of his new team, the Sasquatches.

“I’m pretty excited about it. It’s kind of a new chapter in my life,” said Carandang in a phone interview Monday. “New competition, more playing against new schools, meeting my new teammates, playing with a new squad.”

Bryson Echiverri has committed to playing college basketball at Spokane Community College.

Bryson Echiverri has committed to playing college basketball at Spokane Community College.

Echiverri said he’s excited to play the game at the next level of skill and physicality with the Tritons.

“The coach made it really feel — he coaches the way I like to play. I’m big on family, and he really showed that they’re a family over there. I felt I would be comfortable there and I would succeed there and hopefully get to another level,” Echiverri said in a phone interview Monday. “I’m excited to see what the next level is. I know it’s a lot faster paced and a lot more physical. I hope I get stronger. I’m just excited for the future, to see what college ball can make of me, physically and mentally.”

Braden Jenkins has committed to playing college basketball at Luther College.

Braden Jenkins has committed to playing college basketball at Luther College.

And Jenkins, heading the furthest afield to play for the Norse, said he’s as excited for the academics as the athletics.

“They (Luther College) reached out to me at the start of the season and talking to the coaches and looking at it, it seemed like a good fit for me. Seems like a good academic school,” Jenkins said in a phone interview Monday. “I’m looking forward to that fresh start. I’m going to be at the bottom of the totem pole and I’ll have to work my way up. I’m pretty excited for that.”

While all three have concerns about being able to train and prepare independently with social distancing guidelines in place — especially after quarantine measures canceled the state basketball tournament — they’re optimistic that the virus outbreak will be dealt with by the time it’s basketball season again.

“I really don’t think it’ll go that far but you never know,” Echiverri said. “I really hope it does not lead into next year. I can’t miss another basketball season. I’m looking forward to next year.”

Blasco was effusive in his congratulations for their selection and the hard work they put in to get there.

“I couldn’t be more proud for these three guys in our program. I think it exemplifies the example of how hard work pays off,” Blasco said. “These guys have put in a ton of hours over their seasons.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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