Killeen senior post Brian Long has signed his name plenty of times during his life. But on Friday afternoon, putting pen to paper was a bit nerve-racking.
For the 6-foot-3 lefty, taking that offer letter out of the orange folder with the University of Texas at Pan American meant making his future official.
Surrounded by family members at the Killeen gym scorer’s table with students and teachers filling the home side of the gym, Long took a black pen and signed his letter of intent to play for the UT-Pan Am Broncs next season.
“This is something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little boy,” Long said.
Long will join the NCAA Division I program that plays in the Western Athletic Conference. The Broncs are 1-2 in this young season.
During the 2012-13 season, UT-Pan Am finished with a 16-16 record and was eliminated from postseason play in the first round of the Great West Conference Tournament.
The signing came during a busy Friday, less than four hours before the Roos beat Pflugerville Connally 71-60. Long admitted that the anticipation kept him up Thursday night and during class on Friday the event remained on his mind.
“I was really nervous and I was excited that I had my friends and family coming out here to watch me sign these papers,” Long said.
Seconds after the signing, Long’s mother Yosimiena Pantoja gave her son an embrace so big that referees would have called a flagrant foul if they were in attendance.
“I’m so happy,” Pantoja said.
Long said the moment was emotional since he would be the first in his family to go to a Division I college.
Sharing in the happiness was Killeen boys basketball coach Reggie Huggins.
The coach said it was an exciting day not only for Long and himself, but for the entire school and alumni.
“That’s what our craft is and our passion is,” Huggins said. “See kids grow, go out into the world and do big things. Today, by him signing, is him going out and doing something big.”
Long said that he also considered playing for the University of Denver, San Jose State, Colorado State, Sam Houston State University and UNLV.
The future Bronc said UT-Pan Am basketball coach Dan Hipsher and the coaching staff really sold him on the program.
“They told me I was going to come in and produce a lot,” Long said. “They were honest with me and I had a good bond with the team.”
Long is a three-time all-district selection and led Killeen in scoring as a sophomore and junior averaging more than 17 points. He averaged six rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 2012-13.
The three-year starter was a District 8-5A first-team pick this year as a junior and is a two-time Killeen Daily Herald all-area first-team selection. Long said he anticipates playing shooting guard, small forward and power forward at UT-Pan Am.
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