George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to attend college is a diffi- cult decision for any teenager, but when you're one of the most sought after athletes in Montana, the decision can be daunting. But Big Sandy's Blake Brumwell can rest as he enters his senior year of high school because he knows exactly what he'll be doing in the fall of 2010 as a collegiate freshman. On Wednesday, Brumwell announced he has verbally committed to play basketball for the Montana State Bobcats and head coach Brad Huse. "It's a great feeling making this decision," Brumwell said. "Now I can just focus on the upcoming football season and then basketball of my senior year. It's a big relief. "I just had a really good feeling about the university (MSU) and I thought long and hard about it," he added. "My family and I talked it over and it was a really tough decision, a big decision, but it's a great opportunity to go to Montana State and play Division I basketball, and I'm really excited about it." The 6-7, 245-pound Brumwell had his pick of playing basketball or football for the Bobcats, and he was coveted by a myriad of other schools to play both sports, including Montana State University-Northern and the rest of the Frontier Conference, and those factors made the decision even more difficult, especially considering Brumwell's older brother Gage played basketball for Carroll College. But in the end, the decision came down to the opportunity to play at the Division I level, and basketball became the way the Big Sandy star, who has earned Class C All-State honors in each of his three seasons for the Pioneers, wanted to go. "Basketball is a better fit for me," Brumwell said. "I love football and it's an honor that they (Bobcats) offered me to play football. But they wanted me to most likely play tackle on the offensive line and I would have had to gain about 50 pounds. I looked at life down the road and I think that would have been pretty tough on my body. Basketball just seemed the better fit for me." And having problems with his body has not been foreign to the Big Sandy star. Brumwell has already endured several injuries to a foot and a surgery to repair a broken bone in that foot. He first broke the foot during the early portion of his sophomore basketball season, but he made it back that season to help the Pioneers finish third at the Class C state tournament. However, he re injured the foot later in the year forcing him to miss all but two football games during his junior campaign. But now he says the foot is 100 percent and with injury and surgery behind him, and his collegiate decision made, he's ready to attack his senior year of high school head on. And it will be a senior year trying to fulfill what has already been a starstudded high school career. Brumwell is a three-time all-state and Northern C All-Conference player, and for his career, he has averaged almost 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Pioneers. On the football field, he plays both ways, and was named all-conference at tight end as a sophomore. He has also qualified for the Class C state meet in track and field during his illustrious prep career. Team wise, Brumwell has helped guide Big Sandy to three straight Class C basketball tournaments. The Pioneers have finished second in 2007, third in 2008 and tied for fifth in 2009. And with the decision to play for the Bobcats in tow, Brumwell will become the first Big Sandy star to play for the Bobcats since Doug Hashley was an all-Big Sky performer nearly 30 years ago, now it's all about his senior year, and then the future. "I'm really looking forward to football and basketball," he said. "This is my last chance to win a state championship in either, and with all of the talent we have in Big Sandy, I think we have a great shot to get one this year. So I'm really excited about the upcoming football season, and then the basketball season." And college. The perfect 4.0 student, Brumwell doesn't know what he'll major in at MSU, but he does know what sport he'll play, and his future with the Bobcats should be a bright one. "Being able to play at MSU, to play Division I basketball means the world to me," he said. "It's a tremendous honor. Growing up, I watched my brother play basketball and football and I just wanted to be like him. I still think he's the best basketball player in the family. But all I wanted to do is be as successful as him, and so far, it's worked out pretty well. I'm just really excited right now."