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Living the D-One dream Former Eagle Brossman walks on to Boston University basketball team
TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
, Staff Writer
The odds were definitely stacked against him. But that didn’t stop Dylan Brossman from chasing down his dream.
Coming out of Cocalico High School in 2011, it’s safe to say the former Eagle point guard could have played at any Division Three school of his choosing, and possibly been a four-year starter at that level.
Brossman, who stands at 5-9, certainly had the goods, despite his lack of size. He could shoot, was a gifted passer and was a terrific defender, all the skills needed to play the point, and he helped lead Cocalico to a 17-7 season and a District Three playoff appearance.
Any D-Three school would have loved to welcome him into their program, but Brossman had bigger plans.
He wanted to go to Boston University, a Division One school that would provide a great education but would seemingly have little use for a 5-9 point guard from Lancaster County.
He was prepared to give up the game and become a full-time student at a major university.
And he was OK with it.
"I just really liked the city aspect of it," Brossman said recently. "I just wanted to get out of Lancaster County and do something new. I had only been to the city a few times, but I really liked Boston and the campus is right in the heart of the city…And obviously the academics are top notch as well. I just kind of made up my mind. I came to a big school like this and turned down any opportunity to play Division Three basketball because I wanted to go to BU, regardless of whether I was going to play or not."
So off he went, but it didn’t take long for him to get the itch to play, however. And he began to inquire if the team had any openings or possible tryouts set up for "walk-ons."
"It was pretty tough to even find out the date (of tryouts) or anything about it," he said. "It wasn’t really advertised, but I finally found out what I needed to do. I then went to the tryout and there were five of us who tried out. We just played for about an hour in front of the coaches, and afterward they told us none of us made the team. It was pretty quick and they didn’t seem too interested in any of us."
But, with his competitive juices now fully flowing, Brossman was undeterred.
"I then decided to e-mail one of the assistants who was at the tryouts and just asked if there was anything else I could do because I told him I wanted to stay involved with the team," he said. "And that’s when they offered me to be a student-manager for the year. I ended up doing that for all of my freshman year, just helping out with the team."
While his duties weren’t very glamorous, it was a way to get his foot in the door. And he remained persistent.
He spent his freshman year around the squad, but was not allowed to practice or play with the team. So, in the down time between classes and his managerial duties, he went to the student gym where he worked on his own game.
Following the season, he made the decision that his days as a student manager were over.
"It was just too much time commitment for not getting a whole lot out of it," he said.
However, being around the guys, he became friends with some of the players, and was being asked to play in some open gyms.
That, as it turns out, was the break he needed.
"I was friends with all of the players so they kept inviting me to play," Brossman said. "Then, they started to get after the coach about me. They kept telling him that they think I can play. Well, he finally listened and decided to give me an individual workout."
The workout consisted of a one-on-one game against one of the guards who is on scholarship.
"The coach just kind of threw me in on the spot, and I wasn’t really ready for that," Brossman said. "But I ended up playing him pretty tough. I think he beat me on like the last shot, but I think the coach was pretty impressed that I held my own against him."
Following his impressive showing, Brossman was invited back for another workout, where he more than held his own again.
After that, Coach Joe Jones summoned Brossman to his office the next day.
"I had no idea going in there what he was going to say, but I figured it was either yes or no," Brossman said. "It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life, but I went in there and he told me he decided to let me play as a walk-on."
"It was just kind of surreal," he continued. "He told me it wasn’t just a one-year thing. He wanted a three-year commitment out of me and really was asking a lot out of me. It wasn’t just going to be a free ride, and I wasn’t just going to tag along at the end of the bench. He wanted me to really contribute in practice and work on getting the guys better."
And just like that, Brossman was officially a Division One basketball player.
This past season, Brossman’s first, the Terriers went 17-13 overall and were 11-5 in America East Conference play. While most of Brossman’s time was spent helping players get better in practice, the Economics major from Denver did appear in four games.
He totaled six minutes of floor time with appearances at home against Coastal Carolina and Binghamton and with trips to Stony Brook and Binghamton. Brossman attempted just three shots, including two from behind the arc, but did not register a point.
Still, he recalls vividly, the first time he was told to head into the game.
"It was kind of surreal at first," he said. "It was against Coastal Carolina and a bunch of my friends were there. I probably had 20 guys there who I played (pick-up) with during my freshman year who were there chanting my name because once we got up big they knew there was a pretty good chance I was going in. And when I actually got in there, I was running the point. I got the ball and the coach told me to run a pick-and-roll up top. I came off the screen and took a contested three but it went in and out. Still, it was definitely a memorable moment for me."
A little different than what he was used to during his L-L League days.
"The general speed of the game is tough to compare to high school," he said. "Really, everything about it is different. The decision-making is quicker, the bigs are quicker and everyone is just a better player all-around."
Still, as he had done when he got his first opportunity tryout for the team, Brossman held his own. And now, already assured of his spot on the team, he has set bigger goals heading into his junior season.
"I’m definitely not satisfied with just being on the team," he said. "It’s a huge time commitment to just be satisfied with that. I’m definitely working toward getting some minutes next year. It’s definitely not going to be easy because our two best players are both small guards, so there is not a whole lot of time to go around. But for this upcoming season I’d like to be in a spot where the coach feels he can put me in and not really lose a whole lot. Maybe a few minutes a game, here and there…That’s my goal for next season."
"We had a player last year who was similar to me," he continued. "He was a senior, a 5-9 kid who actually started. He was a really good player and was kind of the leader of the team. He was vocal, the hardest worker on the team, and I think Coach Jones kind of envisions me filling a similar-type role…Just keeping the guys positive and being a vocal leader eventually. I think he really values me as a player. I don’t know what it’s like at another school but I would imagine other walk-ons don’t get the type of respect that I do here."
And Brossman said there is a chance he could earn some scholarship money as well. Each Division One men’s program has 13 scholarships available, and at this point 12 of them are accounted for at BU.
"That’s definitely what I’m going for because it’s not a cheap school," he said. "I do think they are trying to fill that one free scholarship with a transfer. I already talked to the head coach about it and he said if we don’t bring anyone else in he could possibly give me at least a partial scholarship. I’m kind of hoping we keep it at 12."
Scholarship or not, Brossman certainly has no regrets of the decision he made out of high school, and has certainly made the most of his amazing opportunity.
"I just love the school in general, and I’m pretty good friends with all of the guys on the team," he said. "I really wanted to play basketball but I also realized that if I didn’t make the team I did everything I could and I think I would have still been happy at BU without playing basketball. It was kind of a no-lose situation for me."
More BROSSMAN, page B-3