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Division I calls on a different Broman

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Bjorn Broman took a phone call late Monday afternoon from Mark Prosser with Winthrop University of Rock Hill, S.C.

Prosser, the Eagles men’s basketball associate head coach, was calling to offer the Lakeview Christian Academy star an NCAA Division I basketball scholarship.

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Broman has received other scholarship offers, including from Division II Minnesota Duluth this spring, but Monday was the first of what the point guard hopes are more DI offers.

“I’m super excited. It just feels so good,” Broman said. “My goal has always been to go Division I. I’m just really excited to get that first one out of the way and hopefully more will continue to come.”

After receiving the news, the first person Broman called was his older brother, Anders.

“He was super excited, too,” Bjorn Broman said. “It’s a relief.”

Anders Broman knows a thing or two about the recruiting game. Minnesota’s all-time leading basketball scorer was offered between 15 and 20 Division I offers before choosing South Dakota State in Brookings, S.D., where he averaged 4 points and 14 minutes per game as a freshman last season.

“Anders got some Division I offers in the spring,” Bjorn Broman said. “It’s getting toward the end of summer, and other people had gotten some offers, and I was getting a little frustrated. But now that it came, I’m just so happy and excited. It was definitely worth the wait.”

The younger Broman was always a gifted offensive catalyst, but with his brother no longer the focal point of Lakeview’s offense last year, Bjorn emerged as the scorer. Averaging 41 points per game, he had the distinction of leading the nation in scoring one year after brother accomplished the same feat.

“My brother is a great player and is always the first to congratulate me, but after he moved on, I tried to establish who I am,” Bjorn Broman said. “A lot of people knew me just as Anders’ brother. Now I’m trying to make a name for myself.”

Bjorn Broman suffered a high ankle sprain in the Lions’ 62-56 playoff loss to Wrenshall on Feb. 27, something he said took nearly two months to fully recover from.

That slowed his progress with the Twin Cities-based Howard Pulley AAU team this spring and summer. Broman is in his third year with the team and eventually worked his way back into a starting role.

At 5-foot-11, Broman is a little undersized for Division I, but there is a little less of a premium for height at the point guard position.

“Bjorn has always had the ability to ignite a great fast break, and his ability to handle the ball has been his calling card for years,” Lakeview Christian coach Bob Newstrom said. “The big question coming into this summer was if Bjorn could defend the Division I point guard, but he has done a really nice job of containing those guys this summer. He’s tough and he’s crafty.

“Whoever gets him is going to be very fortunate. He and his brother are the types of young men you’d hope to have. When you look at the amount of attention they’ve received, and the way they’ve handle it with humbleness and grace, and remembering who they are, they’re hard not to root for. They’re inspiring to watch.”

Howard Pulley struggled against elite competition this past week, going 1-4 at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., the final event of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League season. Broman, however, played some of his best basketball of the summer, averaging about eight points and six assists.

“The Nike league is incredible,” Broman said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s a huge accomplishment just to make it to the Peach Jam. I feel like I’m back to playing the way I was.”

Howard Pulley will attempt to defend its national title at the season-ending AAU Super Showcase starting Thursday in Louisville, Ky.

Another strong showing could lead to more offers for Broman, but until then, he’ll cherish his offer from Winthrop, which went 20-13 overall last season and 10-5 in the Big South Conference.

“I’m hoping to take some more visits and find the right school for me,” Broman said. “I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Winthrop University, but at the same time, I want to have options. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep working out — working on my game trying to get better.”

ILLIKAINEN GETS ANOTHER OFFER

Broman’s AAU teammate, 6-foot-9 forward Alex Illikainen of Grand Rapids, has a scholarship offer from Iowa, Brewster Academy coach Jason Smith announced Monday via Twitter.

Illikainen averaged 25.6 points and 15.2 rebounds per game as a junior en route to becoming Grand Rapids’ all-time leader in both categories. He will play his final high school season at Brewster, a boarding school and prep power in Wolfeboro, N.H.

Iowa is the latest DI program to offer Illikainen a basketball scholarship, including Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa State, Nebraska, Providence, Cal and Creighton, among others.

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Jon Nowacki
(218) 723-5305
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