Anders Broman might play against smaller schools, but he's impressed some of Class 4A's biggest names.
Nobody knew much about the thinly built, quiet teenager from Duluth entering last summer's Howard Pulley summer basketball tryouts in Minneapolis.
If not for his trademark bowl cut, he might have gone mostly unnoticed to the other top players showcasing their skills -- until he shot a basketball. With each ball that slipped through the net, heads turned and word quickly spread that the mystery man was Anders Broman, the standout from the small school up north whose penchant for scoring 40 and 50 points or more in a game had established him as one of Minnesota's top career high school scorers.
"I didn't know too much about him," Park Center standout guard Quinton Hooker said. "I had never seen him play before tryouts. But he didn't back down. He definitely surprised me and a lot of people."
Along with scoring, surprising has been Broman's specialty in six seasons with Lakeview Christian Academy, which has about 75 students. He amassed nearly 1,500 points before his sophomore year, once scored 71 points in a game and has caught the attention of dozens of Division I colleges.
An impressive performance last summer on the Nike circuit added respect for him in the basketball community. But it wasn't until Dec. 27 that he could finally take a bow.
Six points separated him from Kevin Noreen's state record of 4,086 points when Lakeview Christian took the floor in a packed gym against Mesabi East in the opening round of the Hibbing Holiday tournament.
Broman scored the game's first points on a running jumper along the baseline. Points three through five were a layup-and-free-throw combination. And then, taking a pass from sophomore brother Bjorn, Anders converted a catch-and-shoot jumper, keeping his follow-through high and wrist bent as the ball hit the back rim and fell through the net.
The appreciative crowd rose to its feet, applauding the record-breaking sharpshooter. He also received a golden basketball as a memento.
"I'm glad my brother got the assist," said Broman, pushing the focus to someone other than himself as he regularly tries to do. "It's fitting since he's been a big part in getting me the ball. I'm grateful, but I'm happy to put it behind me."
Amid questions, he gets better
The 6-2 guard, who attracted more than 20 mid-major Division I scholarship offers, has been scoring ever since he picked up a basketball. Though mom and sister might not always like it, the game dominates the Broman household. Anders plans to continue his career at South Dakota State. Bjorn is only a sophomore.
His ability to see the court, anticipate and swiftly move to the basket has propelled his scoring quest. He is also more than just a scorer, with career averages of 5.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.4 steals per game, increasing his stock with college coaches.
As he has put up eye-popping numbers and approached the scoring record, Broman has been inundated with questions. What's it like to score 71 points? How many until you break the record? Does he feel worthy of such a title, given his small-school roots that allowed him to play varsity for six years?
All he cares about, he says, is winning. Last season he helped lead the Lions to their first Class 1A tournament, and this year a repeat visit is within reach.
"Each year he's come back with better skills and better ability to lead the team," coach Bob Newstrom said. "He gives us the highest percentage opportunity to win, so we're going to give him the ball."
Broman finished his freshman season, his third on varsity, with 1,402 career points. He added 1,119 as a sophomore, 1,311 as a junior and currently has 549 this season. As an upperclassman, his scoring rate has increased to 43 points per game, including his most recent 57 on Saturday against New Life Academy of Woodbury.
Keeping up with metro's best
Even his Howard Pulley teammates learned Broman was often the best option. On a roster with Class 4A standouts Hooker, Tyus Jones (Apple Valley) and Jamal Davis (Hopkins), Broman earned a regular starting job and became one of the team's biggest producers. Playing with and against arguably the nation's best talent in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, Broman averaged in double figures as one of the team's top scorers.
"He made my job a lot easier because he can shoot the ball so well," Jones said, also praising Broman's basketball IQ. "He is a great teammate, and one of the hardest workers that I've met."
Jones, Hooker and many other newfound basketball peers from around the state sent out congratulatory text messages to Broman on the night of his record-breaking performance. These gestures meant the most to him, providing more confirmation of the legitimacy of his game, which he plays against mostly small schools from outstate Minnesota.
"He still has to put the ball in the basket and make shots. No matter what level it is, you still have to make shots," Jones said.
His 71-point game, scored last February in a 114-110 loss to Melrose, was the second-most in state history.
Can't win if you don't score
Newstrom pointed out that Noreen, who set the previous scoring record with Minnesota Transitions School in Minneapolis, also competed in Class 1A.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Broman's numbers drop against higher- level competition. But he still manages to score about 20 points and finish among the leading scorers.
"I love scoring. You can't win games if you don't score," Broman said. "But I don't count how many points I had as a good game."
In two of the metro's biggest tournaments this season, Broman scored 19 and 26 points in Lakeview's games but was outscored in both. At the Timberwolves Shootout on Jan. 5, Onalaska (Wis.) standout senior Matt Thomas stole the show, scoring 43. But he had plenty of praise for Broman.
"You can tell he knows how to score," Thomas said. "He's a really good shooter."
Broman said the biggest thing he has learned through this journey is to be grateful. He also hopes he has proved himself worthy of the state scoring record. Either way, he earned it by consistently doing what he loves to do most: score.