I have this belief that North Dakota State University fans don’t understand what they are watching when they attend a men’s basketball game. I don’t think they understand how good Taylor Braun really is.
As spectators, and I include myself in this sentence, we knew what we were watching when Ben Woodside would play. We were watching the greatest player in NDSU history demonstrate how easy it was for him to dissect opposing defenses. Last year’s national champions? Here, let me drop 37 on you guys like nothing.
But, with Braun, it seems that people don’t really get it. The guy is going to end up being one of the greatest basketball players in Bison history and certainly one of the top five greatest Bison players in the Division I era.
A few things come to mind as to why Braun may be less appreciated. One is the fact that he plays on a better all-around team. The 2013-14 version has a true back-to-the-basket player in Marshall Bjorklund and overall is much better defensively.
You also have the fact that Braun scores within the flow of the game. With Woodside, you would have these games where he would just take over. You knew that his point total was high by the end of it.
Braun’s point totals seem to sneak up on you. Two points here, a couple back-to-back baskets there and next thing you know he has 25 points and you are wondering where that came from.
Another factor is that Braun is much better defensively than Woodside. Woodside liked to score and wasn’t too bothered about playing defense. Braun, however, has the length and quick lateral movement to be a successful defender.
Finally, and this one has nothing to do with either player’s on court ability, the attention being given to this year’s team is not as great as the attention that was given to Woodside’s team. Back in 2008-09, the football team was not good. People became interested in a good product, which was the men’s basketball team.
Obviously, we know what the NDSU football team has done the past three seasons. There is no doubt that it has cut into the attention being given to the basketball team and Braun. Fans are just now starting to get around to paying attention to this team.
The reason I bring these facts up, facts that I have talked about before and will continue to bring up, are that fans sometimes miss out on what is happening right in front of them.
I could give you more reasons why I think Braun and his game is not given its fair share but I will leave you with this stat instead. Braun leads his team in points, rebounds, steals and assists. He is one of only three players in the nation that can claim this. That is pretty good if you ask me.
You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.