Not many kids have the high basketball IQ like Dylan Branson, but that’s not where it stops for him. Branson is an all-around guard, who does the little things to help his team win. Branson comes from winning programs such as Mehlville and then MOKAN on the AAU circuit, so he’s built for it all and would fit seamlessly at the next level. Branson has heard from mid-majors to high-majors, all wanting to add the playmaking guard to their team at the next level. We were able to catch up with Branson recently to highlight his season and look forward at the next level.
RLH: How was the season for you at Mehlville this year?
It was a good season. Didn’t end the way we wanted, but made many strides as a team and had to overcome many obstacles. Played a really tough schedule and still had a good record.
RLH: You guys had an incredible year, how did you guys handle the pressure of being a top team?
We had to come into every game we played knowing that teams were trying to knock us off. No matter who we played we would get their best shot, so we couldn’t be lazy and take games off.
RLH: What’s it like to play with players like Davion and Lamontay?
Playing with guys like Davion, Lamontay, and King made it easier on me. It’s always a luxury knowing if the defenders help I can lob it up to a 7-footer or kick it out to a knock-down shooter.
RLH: You’re one of the leading scorers on your team, how’d you handle defenses knowing that they knew you were one of your guys’ go-to scorers?
Being the primary ball handler for my team and the leading scorer, I had to be ready for any type of strategy the opposing defense would throw at me. Many teams we played tried to press or run and jump; some teams even doubled me on the inbound so I couldn’t catch. I had to keep my composure and handle the pressure without turning it over.
RLH: You didn’t receive any postseason honors, are you using that as fuel for wherever you head next year at the next level?
I didn’t receive first team all conference (I got 2nd). Being the leading scorer and leading my team in assists on an undefeated team in conference play you would think I would be a lock. Some of the other coaches in the conference aren’t a fan of me to say the least and it goes by the coaches votes. I’m one of those guys you love to play with but you hate me when I’m on the other team.
RLH: What was it like to play for a prestigious program like MOKAN?
Playing for a prestigious program like Mokan improved my game in many ways. We had one of the best coaching staffs in the country. They ran practice like it was college practice, working us hard and holding all of us accountable. The reason behind our success was the hours of preparation. We spent more time in the gym together than any other EYBL team I guarantee that.
RLH: What’s something you learned from MOKAN & Mehlville that you believe will help you be a successful player at the next level?
During the Mokan season, my understanding for the game improved majorly. Film sessions with guys like Coach Rodney Perry breaking down college games made me realize all the plays we run with Mokan are used at the college level. Mokan really challenged us to guard and play hard defensively. At Mehlville, we played more freely with less sets. I enjoyed this having the ball in my hand most of the time and getting to create for myself and my teammates.
RLH: What was it like to win Peach Jam last summer?
Winning Peach Jam in the summer was surreal. Watching Peach Jam as a 13 year old kid, I could only dream of winning it as a 17u. It was an amazing feeling knowing that all the hard work rewarded us on the biggest stage possible.
RLH: You’re a top player in your class in the state of Missouri, what’s your case for being #1?
The state of Missouri has a loaded class of 2020. I’ve been competing against these guys since a young age. I believe that I am the most versatile player in the state. During the high school season I can play or guard 1-5. I take pride in being a vocal leader and I always bring out the best in my teammates. I am just a winner and that’s my best attribute.
RLH: If a college coach asked what are the strong parts of your game? What would you say?
The strong parts in my game are passing, three-point shooting, and help side defense. I took over 20 charges this year and I credit that to my defensive positioning.
RLH: What are you doing to improve as a basketball player?
I am trying to increase my 3pt % by just getting shots up and making sure I shoot it the same way every time. During the off-season I’m also working on my body to get as lean as possible.
RLH: Are there any updates on your college recruitment? What schools are contacting you the most? Any offers?
Recruiting is different for everyone. For me, it picked up heavy the start of my junior year. Once the bigger schools started to get involved the mid majors backed off. I stopped hearing from the high majors and was stuck in a weird spot recruiting wise. Right now, I am talking to UMKC. I took an unofficial game day visit two weeks ago. Also some other schools like SIUE and Penn have reached out recently.
RLH: If so, what messages are the coaches conveying to you?
The coaches that have spoken with me love the way that I communicate on the floor and they appreciate how I can space the floor with my 3 pt shooting. They want me to work on my body in the off-season and try to get in the best shape of my life before I go to school.
RLH: Do you have any visits lined up and a timeline when to make a decision?
No, this pandemic has limited stuff when it comes to visits. But I don’t have a timeline of when I will decide on a school.
RLH: What are you looking for in a program at the next level?
The biggest thing for me is having a good relationship with the coaching staff. I am also looking for a program where I can come in and make an impact.