MP LaBranche

Jonah LaBranche, a 6-foot-7 senior wing on Mountain Pointe’s basketball team, has committed to play at Phoenix College. He will be coached by Duane Eason, who was coach of the Pride LaBranche’s junior year.

Mountain Pointe basketball wing Jonah LaBranche is going to be reunited with former Pride coach Duane Eason at Phoenix College.

LaBranche has committed to play basketball for the Bears under Eason.

LaBranche contributed to Mountain Pointe’s 6A state runner-up team as a junior in 2018 – Eason’s lone season coaching the Pride –and was a starter for the Pride team that was ranked near the top 10 in the U.S. early this season.

LaBranche called Phoenix College a “cool opportunity” with a coach who knows his strengths. He then hopes to move on from the community college to a four-year school, preferably in Division 1.

“The campus is pretty nice. It’s in Phoenix, so close by, which I like. I know Coach Eason can help me and I know I can keep getting better there,” LaBranche said.

Eason, who became PC head coach last summer, describes the 6-foot- 7 LaBranche as a “glue guy” who does a little bit of everything. An athletic player with long arms, he plays with effort and can defend a variety of positions.

LaBranche was the eighth-highest scorer on this year’s Mountain Pointe team, averaging 4.5 points, often deferring to talented teammates. Eason hopes his pass-first mentality and all-around floor play will garner more interest from scouts at the next level for LaBranche.

“He’s not going to score 20 points a game, but he does more than that. He’ll be someone who gets like five rebounds, six assists and gets a couple of steals or blocked shots and just do the things he’s needed to,” Eason said.

LaBranche is excited to keep growing as a player at Phoenix College.

“Some people have asked me, ‘What’s the chance you get out? How many people go on to bigger schools after PC?,’ But really, it’s not about that. It’s about me putting the work in and I know I’m going to do that,” LaBranche said.

Have an interesting story? Contact Eric Newman at enewman@timespublications.com and follow him on Twitter @enewmanwrites.

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