ELON, N.C. – The Elon University Department of Athletics will honor the late former men’s basketball standout Jesse Branson on Friday night, Nov. 14, when the Phoenix takes on Florida Atlantic at 8 p.m. in Alumni Gym.
The first 1,000 fans will receive a free Jesse Branson throwback t-shirt jersey and special game programs will be given out to everyone in attendance. Prior to the game, Elon will honor Branson’s career with a special video board tribute, as well.
Branson is the all-time leading scorer of the men’s basketball program with 2,241 career points. His 20.0 points per game average is the best in program history and his 44-point performance against Wofford in 1964 still ranks as the most points in a single game in school history. Branson was also a skilled rebounder for Elon, as his 1,689 career boards rank first in school history. In 1965, he hauled down 27 rebounds against Loyola – a program record. Branson earned NAIA All-American honors in 1964 and 1965 and earned Carolinas Conference MVP accolades in 1965. Branson was a four-time All-Carolinas Conference selection and was inducted into the Elon Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. During his Hall of Fame speech, Branson credited his teammates with helping him achieve his accomplishments.
“To me, there was always too much emphasis on the ‘MVP,'” Branson said in 2009. “No basketball player can do it by himself. He can’t beat five guys by himself. I couldn’t have done it without the guys around me.”
After graduating from Elon, Branson was selected in the second round of the 1965 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He made his NBA debut on Oct. 16, 1965, playing alongside NBA great Wilt Chamberlain. After one season with the 76ers, Branson signed with the ABA’s New Orleans Buccaneers for one season in 1967-68.
Branson joined Tommy Cole ’72 as the first Elon basketball players to ever have their jerseys retired. That moment took place during a men’s basketball halftime ceremony in 2009 to celebrate the 100th year of Elon’s basketball program.
Tickets to the game are on sale now through the Elon Athletics Ticket Office. Order online at elonphoenix.com or call 336-278-6750.