LOGAN – Less than a month after Ridgeline’s Jaxon Brenchley led his team to the 3A state championship, more recognition started pouring in. The 6-foot-5 University of Utah commit was named the Utah Gatorade Player of the Year one day, and Utah’s Mr. Basketball the next. Each award is given to just one basketball player annually.
On KVNU’s Full Court Press program Wednesday, Brenchley said the experience was “surreal.”
“When I first found out, I was so emotional,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was in tears and felt so blessed. It’s a great tribute to my teammates and coaches and family. There is no way I’d be there without them and the community.”
Brenchley averaged 19.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.8 steals per game. He was the first Cache Valley high schooler to be named Mr. Basketball since Mountain Crest’s Tony Brown received the honor in 1998 and the first to be named the Utah Gatorade Player of the Year since Sky View’s Nate Harris in 2001.
He described his game as “making the right play to win.”
“My mentality is to win,” he said. “If that is scoring 40 or if that is me getting like five points and dishing out to people that are hot.”
Brenchley had offers from Utah State, BYU, Utah Valley, Oregon State, Cornell, Yale, Harvard, Penn and UC Davis, but in the end, chose Utah.
“I really fell in love with it there,” he said. “The atmosphere, the facilities, the coaches – I think they can really make me better. Not that Utah State can’t, but I feel like it’s a better opportunity for me there.”
Before Brenchley takes the floor in Salt Lake, he will be leaving the country to serve a two-year mission for the LDS church in Taichung, Taiwan, but the culture won’t be completely foreign to him. He lived in Shanghai, China from the time he was five years old until he was 10.
“I learned a little bit of Chinese there, but I forgot it all,” he said. “My dad served in Taipei, Taiwan. I’m in the other mission as him, so we’ll be able to speak Mandarin to each other.”
Brenchley did receive another award for basketball. During halftime of the state championship game he was named to the Academic All-State team. According to the Utah High Schools Activities Association, it is the “most prestigious honor the UHSAA presents to senior students.”
“I worked really hard for that,” he said. “I’m really glad I got that achievement. Basketball won’t last forever. I need to have something in my brain besides Xs and Os.”
Brenchley plans on studying medicine or business when he returns from Taiwan and enrolls at Utah.