Prep Newsmaker: Basketball is in Barnum star's blood
Brandon Newman lives on a farm, but he was raised in a gym. Just like his older siblings that comprise the first family of Barnum's basketball community. Newman is the youngest of Rich and Corina's four children. Brother Justin and sisters Katrin...
Brandon Newman lives on a farm, but he was raised in a gym.
Just like his older siblings that comprise the first family of Barnum's basketball community.
Newman is the youngest of Rich and Corina's four children. Brother Justin and sisters Katrina and Jessica all thrived on the hardwood -- no surprise given their father's lengthy tenure coaching the Bomber boys. They were gym rats. Brandon followed suit.
"It made me want to work and come to the gym every day and shoot a bunch of shots because, growing up, they came here all the time," Brandon said before practice Wednesday. "I just tagged along."
When he wasn't airborne, that is.
His siblings got a kick out of lowering the family's adjustable hoop, squeezing young Brandon into the cylinder and letting it elevate.
"And they'd leave me up there," Brandon said. "My mom would yell at them because I wasn't heavy enough for it to fall back down."
The precocious youngster had to grow up in a hurry to keep pace on the court. Surrounded by so much talent -- Justin excelled for the Barnum boys team, while Katrina and Jessica helped the girls to a state title before continuing their careers at Minnesota Duluth -- the learning curve was steep.
"They were tough on him, but he'd always get in there and mix it up," said Rich, who is in his 16th season as Barnum's head coach.
Today, Brandon is all grown up, and he's doing a little bit of everything for the second-ranked team in Class AA. A year after averaging 19.3 points per game on a 26-win team as a sophomore, he is scoring better than 25 points per night while averaging 7.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.1 steals.
Perhaps even more impressive is Brandon's efficiency. He's making 63 percent (105 of 166) of his field goal attempts, a number most post players would kill for, let alone a player that squares up from all over the court, including behind the arc, where he's buried 34 of 97 tries (35 percent).
Despite that accuracy, Brandon rarely forces a bad shot, Rich said. He'd rather set up a teammate with a quality look. Frequently, that means Zac Carlson, another reliable scorer for the 14-1 Bombers, who have won 13 straight following a 46-33 loss to Polar League and Section 7AA rival Esko.
"I think he makes other players better on the team," Rich said when asked of Brandon's best on-court attribute. "He will make that extra pass -- he doesn't shoot just to shoot -- and he's got great vision down the court."
Barnum was bumped up to Class AA this winter after narrowly missing the Class A state tournament a year ago.
Another near-miss transpired last fall on the football field, where the Bombers lost 28-20 to Braham in the Section 7A title game. Brandon, a dual threat, quarterbacked that team to a 9-2 record.
Still, he has no trouble identifying his favorite sport.
"Basketball," he said a split-second after being asked the question.
That should come as no surprise considering his upbringing. At the team's practice Wednesday, in a gym filled with banners, Rich said: "Ever since he could be here, he's been here."