How a new head coach led Braddock High to a record-breaking season

The beginning of an era for the G. Holmes Braddock Senior High basketball program started with expectations set by its new head coach, Adam Graham, and ended with the team smashing school records. 

In his first year at Braddock, Graham’s team set a new school record in wins and reached the district championship finale. 

“It was a special moment to break the school record in wins,” said Graham. “It helped players see the goals we were trying to achieve for the year and was a way for the seniors to be remembered. It laid the foundation for the kids following in the program.”

Braddock finished the season 19-8 with multiple victories over teams ranked in the top 100 in Florida. The team broke its win record when it defeated Doral Academy in the district semifinals, 53-43.

Braddock’s record run ended in the district finals when they lost to Hialeah Gardens, 72-66.

“What I remember the most from this team is that we had six seniors who accepted a brand new way of playing and expectations with open arms,” said the coach. “They welcomed the coaching and demands put on them and appreciated the care we put into them.”

The principal of Braddock, Allen Breeding, said Graham brought changes as soon as he took over the program.

“He brought a new vibe to the team, and the results have shown,’’ Breeding said. “Coach Graham was a great hire, and I am proud of what he has done in his first year with the program.”

The team’s success gives seniors some bragging rights. They will graduate with the school record in wins and claim a season sweep over their fierce rival, John A. Ferguson High. It was the first time since 2015 that the Bulldogs swept the Falcons in a season (2-0).

One of those seniors is Markus Zenck, who led the team all season with his play. 

“Even though we came up short in the district championship game, I’m grateful we were able to get the record,” Zenck said.

Zenck averaged over 16 points per game and nine rebounds. He recorded 10 double-doubles (double digits in points and rebounds) and was in the top eight for triple-doubles in the country.

“It means a lot because we worked all summer and season with our coaches to get the record and make history,” he shared.

According to Coach Graham, Zenck is receiving interest from multiple Division II and Division III schools.

Aden Aguilar is another senior drawing interest from colleges, according to Graham. He credited his coach with leading the team toward success. 

“We started something new, which Coach Graham and the rest of the players at Braddock will carry on, and that’s winning games,” Aguilar said. “We wanted to be different and finally change the program. Coach Graham definitely made that happen.”

Aguilar was third in 3-pointers made in Florida Class 7A before missing games due to an injury at the end of the year. 

Point guard Jonathan Hernandez spoke highly of Coach Graham and the season they had together.

“I’ve never met someone like coach, who brings energy and excitement to every practice and game and shows his love for the game,” said Hernandez. “I learned under Coach Graham that I don’t need to score big numbers to contribute to the team.”

Hernandez led the team with over four assists per game and two steals. He also added nine points and four rebounds per game. Colleges have shown interest in the point guard.

“Making school history means the world to me since I did it with the people I first met my freshman year, who I see now as family,” he said. “We always dreamed about this moment in our senior year, and for us to break the school record feels unreal.”

Guard Alejandro Lopez will also remember a lot about his senior year at Braddock with Coach Graham. 

“I will mainly remember the team celebrating as a family after winning some games that no one believed we could win,” Lopez said. “Under Coach Graham, I learned that everything good in life, you have to earn, and nothing is given. And, with a good mentor and motivator, you can go farther than what you think.”

The team will be returning a handful of players next season, including guards Angel Lara, Ray Estay, and Nick Barzaga. 

“Moving forward, I expect to have a team that will work hard and challenge each other in every practice or workout,” closed Graham. “A team that will set goals and do what it takes to get there, a team that other coaches will compliment and will want to take from.”

Jordan Lopez is a Cuban-American digital journalism student who intends to pursue a career as a sports journalist and writer, combining his passions for sports and writing. Lopez currently writes for FanSided’s Predominantly Orange (Denver Broncos) and VerdictMMA (UFC). He hopes his writing informs fans and South Florida residents about their favorite sports teams.