BEMIDJI, Minn. – College athletics provides an opportunity for young men and women to grow and develop both on and off the playing field. Fans who have followed Bemidji State University men’s basketball in the last four years have seen that transformation in senior forward Maxie Rosenbloom on the hardwood, while his teammates have witnessed a role player turn into a leader.
“It’s been kind of crazy,” Rosenbloom said about his new responsibilities on the squad. “You go from following somebody, not being responsible for every little action and getting away with things here and there. Now you are under the microscope. Being the leader, you are a guy people look to for direction and motivation.
“I never realized how much of a responsibility it was, I think I’m starting to get a couple of gray hairs from all the young guys on the squad. It’s been an interesting experience and I’m enjoying every last second of it.”
With 10 newcomers on the BSU roster this season, Rosenbloom and the other four-year seniors, Jake Schalow and Zach Noreen, have their work cut out for them. Luckily the trio are close on and off the court, and have had some strong leaders as mentors.
“It’s actually been pretty easy,” Noreen commented. “Pat Cassidy (current assistant coach), Bryce Tesdahl, Lance Rongstad and Mason Walters prepared us really well. Maxie and Jake are really smart, down to earth guys. They have made the transition a lot easier for us as a team.”
“It was their turn and I think they all know and understand that,” said head coach Mike Boschee. “It’s not screwing around time anymore. It’s their last go-around. They don’t want underclassmen to shortchange their effort and the things they are trying to do to be successful as senior basketball players. I think those guys understand it and have been doing a good job so far and hopefully they continue to grow as a leaders throughout the year.”
On the court it has been easy to see the transformation from a defensive stopper off the bench to a mature and solid starter that can produce on both ends of the floor. His freshman season, Rosenbloom averaged 6.2 minutes per game, totaled 19 rebounds and 17 points. His playing time has increased each year and last season he posted 19.7 minutes per game and totaled 152 points and 118 rebounds.
After averaging 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his first three seasons, anyone would be surprised that in 2013-14, Rosenbloom leads the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and stands 27th nationally in rebounding (9.8 rebounds per game), is first in the league in field goal percentage (66.0%) and sits 24th in the NSIC in scoring (12.1 points per game). One person not taken aback by Rosenbloom’s success is Noreen.
“I knew it was only a matter of time with him,” he said. “He is six-feet-five-inches, almost six-feet-six-inches and has ridiculously long arms. Seeing how the ball is attracted to him in practice, I just knew it was a matter of time before he would breakout for a good game.
“It makes me mad because one-on-one I still can’t get the rebound, but Maxie has three people around him and he magically pulls it down.”
That inevitable big game came Dec. 6 in a victory against St. Cloud State University. By halftime, Rosenbloom totaled 13 points and 15 rebounds, en route to 21 points and 24 rebounds. The monster numbers not only set BSU’s record for rebounds in a game and established the first-ever 20-point, 20-rebound effort in program history, but earned the senior NSIC Player of the Week honors.
“He is still the same energetic, hard-nosed, tough player on the defensive end, so nothing has changed there,” Boschee said. “He has blossomed offensively and proven he can score with his back to the basket, is shooting a high percentage and is a very efficient player on the offensive end now. He is intelligent and a pleasure to coach.”
Reminiscing, Rosenbloom credits the players that came through the program before him to his success now.
“I remember my first open gym and getting tossed around by guys like Pat Cassidy, Mason Walters and Lance Rongstad. I felt like I was being thrown to the dogs,” Rosenbloom said. “You go from being the top guy at high school, to coming in here and you are back at the bottom again. It was definitely humbling. It has helped me come along as a player. I have learned so much from those guys and the coaching staff.”
It would be easy to say transformation complete for this senior, but with at least 17 games remaining, who knows what the ceiling is for Rosenbloom.
“He has been rebounding like crazy for us this season and that is certainly an important part of his role,” Boschee said. “We need him to continue to be someone that can score against anybody and score from the block. Off the court he needs to continue to be an example of what Bemidji State basketball is all about; hard work, toughness and players improving.”
“It’s been exciting to see everything come full circle,” Rosenbloom said. “Coming out of high school 18 years old thinking I have time in front of me, then I blinked and (the end) is here. It’s definitely a surreal feeling. I have a lot of planning to do in the next couple of months. Bemidji State has been awesome and excellent in every single way to help me achieve my goals and become the person I am today.”
Bemidji State takes to the road Jan. 10-11 as it travels to Augustana College and Wayne State College for a pair of NSIC South matchups.
For more information on the Bemidji State men’s basketball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUHoops or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/Bemidji-State-Basketball or facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).