By Madisen Carter
Going into high school, Aidan Braccia had three goals: to win the league, division and state titles. During this past season, Braccia with Sacred Heart Prep crossed one of those goals off the list as he and the team won the Central Coast Section Division IV Championship in June.
As a junior, Braccia led Sacred Heart Prep to win its first CCS Championship since 2014 over The King’s Academy 62-48. He had 23 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
“It was a mix of being surreal while also the feeling of completing the task at hand,” Braccia said.
With a CCS Championship, the Gators finished the 2020-21 season 15-7 overall and 10-2 in league. Braccia said that he believes Sacred Heart Prep had an edge over some of the other teams this year as he and his whole team were all close friends, and the team practiced hard throughout the whole year.
“I think we drove each other to get better, to work harder, to keep learning and to keep taking our mistakes that we make in practice or in games and learn from them,” Braccia said.
Braccia finished his junior season with an impressive stat line of 474 points, 72 assists and 51 steals total. During the season he averaged 22.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
His successful season was the answer to all of his hard work he put in before the season during quarantine. He worked out with Unlimited Potential Basketball’s Coach Packie Turner multiple times a week to improve his game.
“During that time [of quarantine] I was lucky to be able to go down to [the UPB] gym, whether it be in the morning, during the day, whenever,” Braccia said. “That was really great. Being able to work on my game and work on other little things within my game multiple times a day and a lot during the week, I think [that] really helped me take a big step forward.”
He said that he and Coach Packie worked a lot on off the screens as well as multiple reads, shots, floaters, pull up threes and more. Their training also included ball handling and change speed moves.
Coach Packie said that Braccia made a big jump this year and that it shows the most in his ability to shoot and finish, giving him the ability to score from all three levels. He mentioned it is great to see how Braccia has adjusted, how he knows how to run a team and how he has rounded out his game.
“Aidan has really expanded his game and [has] really become like a true point guard, which is kind of lost in today's game,” Coach Packie said. “You know, point guards today are a lot more scoring first, and while he can score, he really can create and run an offense and set up the show, get guys going and have a good feel for what's needed.”
Braccia’s hard work continued to show throughout the season. He was selected to the All-Bay Area Team and was named to All-Bay Area News Group’s Fab 25.
Currently, Braccia has four offers to take his game to the collegiate level. He has offers from the University of Hawaii, American University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and the most recent, San Jose State.
“It sounds selfish when people say that is a goal but it is a goal, you know, to go play college [ball] and to hopefully play after, so it was very rewarding and very fulfilling to be able to get those opportunities,” Braccia said. “I love all the staff at all those schools and I'm thankful for them to take a chance on me, and you know hopefully I could do right by one of them.”
Coach Packie said any college is going to be thankful and lucky to have Braccia on their team, and that he is a good teammate that helps those around him.
“Whatever college he goes to you're going to get a kid that's going to work extremely hard and be dedicated, focused and team oriented, and you're going to get that for four years,” Coach Packie said. “He's a smart kid that takes school seriously as well as he does hoops. He's going to be just as focused on the court as he [is] off [the court] to be great.”
Until school starts, Braccia has been continuing to get better this summer with his AAU team, West Coast Elite NorCal 17U. The team traveled to Cartersville, Georgia this past weekend to play in the UAA Session I tournament, and will travel to Frisco, Texas on Friday for Session II of the tournament.
Braccia said he has been on the team for about a year and a half, and says it has been a lot of fun. He enjoys playing against other really good basketball players to help improve his game, and he appreciates the opportunity to play in front of coaches.
“My plan is to take the opportunity by the horns and just kind of do my thing and do what I can to help myself, but also primarily help the team win, because that's what I love, I love winning,” Braccia said.
As of now, the UAA tournament looks to be Braccia’s last AAU tournament ever, and then it’s back to high school ball for his final year. Braccia said one of his goals for his senior year includes winning an MVP of some sort, but his main target is crossing off that third goal on his list he had going into high school.
“[My goal] is to win a State Championship. I was able to get a League Championship my sophomore year, and I got a Section Championship this year,” Braccia said. “So the third thing on my list is a NorCal or State Championship, which I think we have the capability to do. I think we're a very good team and what we have returning is very, very bright, so I'm excited to do that.”