BELLINGHAM, Wash. — For the first time in three seasons, the Western Washington University men’s basketball team will not be competing at the NCAA Division II Elite Eight after winning a national title in 2012 and reaching the semifinals in 2013.
But the Vikings will be represented as senior center Austin Bragg has been selected by the National Association of Basketball Coaches to play in the 2014 Reese’s Division II College All-Star Game on Friday, March 28 at 7 p.m. EDT at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind.
The contest will be played during the NCAA II Elite Eight on the day between the semifinals and championship games.
The game will have two teams of 10 seniors. Two student-athletes are selected from each of the eight regions in NCAA II with the four remaining selections made at-large.
Bragg is the third WWU player to be selected. The others were Ryan Diggs in 2006, and Ira Graham in 2009. Diggs was the game’s co-MVP.
Bragg was recently named a first-team NABC DII West District all-star. He also was picked to the Daktronics West Region second team and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference first team.
Bragg, a senior from Longview, averaged 17.3 points on 58.7 percent (178-of-303) field-goal shooting and 8.8 rebounds, and blocked 49 shots, all team-leading figures for the Vikings. Those numbers all ranked among the top five in the GNAC.
Bragg had just the second triple-double in school history and only the third in GNAC history on Feb. 1 in a 99-76 victory over Alaska Anchorage, finishing with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
The 6-foot-9 Bragg topped the GNAC in double-doubles with 11 and scored double-figure points in 26 games. He twice earned GNAC Player of the Week honors, earning one for having 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in a 72-69 win over nationally No.1-ranked Metro State on Nov. 30.
Bragg scored a career-high 32 points in a 94-91 triumph over Central Washington on Feb. 22, and had 30 points and a career-high 17 rebounds against Simon Fraser in an 82-69 victory on Jan. 11.
Last season, Bragg helped WWU to a school-record tying 31 wins, a West Regional title and the national semifinals. His two-year career totals were 791 points on 56.5 percent (297-of-526) floor accuracy, 494 rebounds and 92 blocks.
Bragg, a graduate of Mark Morris High School, transferred to WWU from Clark CC.
WWU finished 20-8 overall this winter, placed second in the GNAC regular-season standings at 13-5, and reached the championship game of the GNAC Tournament. Upsets in two other conference tournaments kept the Vikings from making a third straight trip to regionals.