BYRON, Minn. - Following a season that saw the Byron Bears make a run to the state tournament, senior Jake Braaten has announced that he will be taking his game to the next level.
“It’s really what I’ve been going for since I was younger,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play college basketball and it’s finally coming true.”
Just after nine o’clock Sunday night, Braaten announced on social media that he will play college basketball at Southwest Minnesota State University. He says the school is a perfect fit.
“I visited there this past Friday and it just felt more like home when I was there and I felt like I fit in well with the guys when I went there and the coaches are both really great guys.”
“I’m very happy for him because I know the second he visited, I even talked to him on the way home and you could just tell he was happy,” Coach Kyle Finney said. “I think and I know it’s going to be a good fit for him.”
Jake still has one more high school game to play which is the MBCA All-Star game this weekend. Coach Finney says that even after he steps on the court for the final time this season, his impact will always be felt in Byron.
“It’s insurmountable and I’ve talked to him a little bit, but you can’t really put it into words. It’s all these little kids being able to see what Jake does for us both on and off the court, his work ethic. He’s not a very vocal guy, he just lets his game do the talking,” Finney said. “That’s the only downfall of the COVID year is that a lot of the younger kids couldn’t get in to see him, but what they know of him and what they saw of him the past two years is exactly the kind of players we’re looking for here at Byron.”
He also leaves behind a little advice for those who want to follow in his footsteps and take their game to the next level.
“Working when the lights aren’t shining on you is probably the biggest thing that I’ve done. Practicing all the time out in the road, even if I couldn’t get in the gym and working out almost every day,” Braaten said.
As far as his role at SMSU is concerned, Braaten says they are still working out the details. There are talks of potentially redshirting him during his freshman season, which is not uncommon.