ROCK HILL, SC (March 13, 2017) – Anders and Bjorn Broman grew up playing basketball in their driveway in Duluth, Minnesota, during halftime of many NCAA tournament games and pretended they were playing on the big stage. On Thursday those dreams will come true as the brothers, who play together for the Winthrop University Eagles, will take on Butler University in the opening round at 2:30 p.m. (Central) in Milwaukee.
Michael Orris, another Covenanter in the tournament, plays for number 16 seed South Dakota State (18-16), which will open against West Region top-seed Gonzaga (32-1)
The Bromans, whose family attends Lakeview Covenant Church in Duluth, broke school and Minnesota state scoring records when they attended Lakeview Christian Academy, a small Christian school. The school and church are not connected.
By the time Anders graduated in 2013, he had scored 5,119 points, a state record that still stands. Bjorn holds the second highest prep total of 4,130 points. The brothers individually often scored at least 50 points a game.
Bjorn, a sophomore guard, had signed a letter of intent to play at Winthrop in 2015 and talked his older brother into joining him. Anders, a junior guard, was playing for South Dakota State at the time but was already looking to transfer. Because he transferred between Division 1 schools, he had to sit out one season.
Bjorn told local TV station WDIO that the brothers had thought they would never play together again after high school, “but God works in amazing ways.”
Winthrop played its way into the tournament by winning the South Conference Tournament. The Eagles (26-6) and seeded number 13 in the South region, will face a huge challenge when they take on Butler (23-8), which is seeded fourth. Butler twice beat Villanova, the tournament’s number 1 overall seed and defending national champion.
The Eagles have beaten some higher profile teams this year and are excited to play “just another game, on a bigger stage with a lot more people watching,” Anders said.
Anders said growing up in a strong Christian home and attending a Christian school helps him keep perspective on what is really important as a student athlete. He can still recite his high basketball team’s purpose he had to remember years ago. His dad always taught them that the big games will make memories, but if you aren’t living the right way the wins are meaningless.
The brothers come by their athletic talent naturally—their father, John, was an Olympic ski jumper. Their mother, Jill, is a Lakeview Covenant staff member.
Orris and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits will attempt to make NCAA tournament history and become the first-ever number 16 seed to topple a number 1 seed.
Orris, senior transfer point guard, told the Argus-Leader, “To be in position to be the first (16 seed to win)—I wouldn’t want it any other way. A lot of us have that chip on our shoulder of wanting to prove people wrong. None of us are thinking it’s too tall of a task. The NCAA tournament has shown that at the end of the day you throw the records out because anything can happen.”
That game will start at 1 p.m. (Pacific) in Salt Lake City.