On Branch: An adept passer and playmaker as a "true" point guard ... transferred to St. John's from Texas A&M in January and will be eligible to join the Red Storm in games on Dec. 21, 2012 ... named the best high school defender in the Class of 2011 by Scout.com ... was rated as high as the No. 47 overall prospect and No. 8 point guard nationally in the Class of 2011 ... joins JaKarr Sampson, Maurice Harkless, D'Angelo Harrison, Sir'Dominic Pointer and Amir Garrett as six members of the 2011 ESPNU 100 to don the St. John's Red and White.
Steve Lavin On Branch: "Jamal is an excellent lead guard and a welcome addition to our basketball family. His ballhandling, court vision and quickness gives us backcourt depth for the 2012-13 season. Point guard play is a critical element to success in the BIG EAST Conference and Jamal will be a valuable asset as we continue to elevate our basketball program."
At Texas A&M: Played in 11 games for the Texas A&M Aggies in the fall of 2011 ... averaged 4.2 points, 2.5 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game ... fired at a 41.7 percent clip from the field and a 33.3 percent rate from beyond the arc ... dealt 28 assists with 21 total turnovers (1.3 ratio) ... dished a career-high six assists in his collegiate debut vs. Liberty (Nov. 9) ... netted a career-high 10 points vs. Mississippi State during the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer at Madison Square Garden (Nov. 17) ... playing against St. John's in the 2K Sports Classic event on Nov. 18, scored seven points with five rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes.
Before College: Originally from Kansas City, Mo., and moved to the state of Texas for his high school years ... played two seasons at Atascocita High School in Humble, Texas, before spending his final two seasons at Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington ... selected the district's most valuable player, an all-state selection and a finalist for Mr. Basketball in the state of Texas after his senior season in 2010-11 ... averaged 16.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in leading Grace Prep to the state championship as a senior ... a second team all-area selection by The Dallas Morning News in 2011 ... scored a career-high 48 points against Houston Yates as a senior ... played summer basketball for Team Texas, Houston Hoops and the Houston Swoosh ... during his high school career, he earned four letters in basketball and two in football.
Personal: Jamal Edward Branch ... born in Kansas City, Mo. ... son of Schamauda Thompson and Jerome Branch ... has two sisters, Karissa Couty (21) and Jayda Branch (12), and two brothers, William Mason (24) and Justin Branch (9) ... cousin Alec Burks, formerly played at the University of Colorado (2009-10 to 2010-11) and now is in his second season with the Utah Jazz ... cousin Marcus Denmon, who played at Missouri from 2008-09 to 2011-12, was a 2012 second round NBA Draft selection of San Antonio and now plays in Europe ... Branch and STJ teammate Harrison are longtime friends from being summer basketball competitors in Texas ... majoring in sports management.
Up Close With Jamal Branch
Favorite TV show: "Criminal Minds".
Favorite actor: Denzel Washington.
What's on my iPod/mp3 player: Drake, Owl City, The Weeknd and Frank Ocean.
Favorite food: Taco salad.
Favorite place to hang out on campus/NYC area: The gym.
Favorite class: Sports Management.
Favorite book: The bible.
Since coming to St. John's I've learned: Maturity.
Greatest athletic accomplishment: Winning the state title in Texas.
Hero/role model(s): My dad, mom and Floyd Mayweather.
Favorite athlete/sports team: Floyd Mayweather.
One word to describe me on the court: "Leader."
One word to describe me off the court: "Laid-back."
The St. John's basketball player that will surprise you this year: Marco Bourgault.
After St. John's or after basketball career I'd like to: Coach.
If I could have dinner with three people (history or today): Alicia Keys, Floyd Mayweather and Drake.
Funny superstitions/pregame rituals: Listen to Reggae, stretch and a dip in the hot tub.
The teammate that inspires me is: Max Hooper.