Brandon Winford signs with UNC Pembroke
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 10, 2011 1:47 PM
His father by his side, Charles B. Aycock basketball standout Brandon Winford signed his name on the dotted line.
The ink dried and signaled an end to a lifelong dream, but also ushered in a new era in the high school senior's playing career. Winford will take his talents to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in the fall.
"It feels like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders," Winford said during a brief ceremony in the school's media center on Monday. "Playing college basketball is something that I have always wanted to do and today I get to make that happen."
Winford averaged 16.4 points per game for first-year Golden Falcons head coach Steve Moats. While playing three different positions on the floor, Winford was also able to pull down nine rebounds and dish out three assists per outing.
Winford also anchored the Golden Falcons' defense by guarding the opposing team's best post player.
"I think his versatility is going to help him as he makes the transition to the college level," Moats said. "Brandon showed that he can play up to his size and score from the post, but he also showed the ability to step out and play a wing spot as a part of his offensive game."
After watching his older brother make his way to Eastern Washington University on a basketball scholarship, Winford and his father Kevin came up with a plan to make the most of the young player's skills.
"For me, the first thing is the education," said Kevin Winford. "Basketball is a conduit to a good education, and it is also a way for Brandon to make the most of the ability he was given."
The opportunity to earn a degree in computer science and information technology was one of the top reasons that Winford chose Pembroke. Time spent with head coach Ben Miller and several of the Braves' players sealed the deal.
"I felt like it was a perfect fit for me the first time I saw the campus and met the guys on the team," said Brandon. "I had some options, but the big thing was how comfortable I was with the coach and the players."
As graduation approaches, Winford will be working in the weight room and preparing to travel to Pembroke for summer basketball camp. Getting stronger and adding muscle to his six-foot, seven-inch frame will be priority number one as the 2011-12 season approaches.
"I am going to be getting with some of the other guys and hitting the weight room pretty hard," Winford said. "Coach Miller gave me some workouts that I can do here at (C.B. Aycock) and all of that is supposed to help me get ready for when practice starts in the fall."
UNCP finished 18-12 last season and advanced to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.