Love of the game drives senior to success
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Love of the game drives senior to success

See #32 Bryce Tesdahl play just once and you will feel the passion he brings to the basketball court each and every day. The lone four-year senior from Crosby, Minn. has been vital to the development of the Bemidji State men’s basketball program under sixth year head coach Matt Bowen. A relatively mild-mannered student-athlete off the floor, Bryce is a different person when those basketball shoes are laced-up and the ball goes up for the opening tip-off.

“Being on the floor is what I love to do,” Bryce said. “There is nothing more in life that I want to do. Knowing that I only have one year left and my games are limited, I just love to be out there, love my teammates and I’m going to show it whether you like it or not.   

“If you’re not going to be energetic, love and have a passion for what you do, then why are you really doing it? I think that is what I am all about and will be as a person no matter if it’s basketball, future job or being a family man.”     

That love of the game can typically be seen on the court with Bryce tilting his head back and giving a scream to the rafters, clapping his hands as the team prepares to play defense or hollering ‘Let’s Go!’ On top of his enthusiasm for the game you will most likely notice Bryce’s interesting shooting mechanics. Although unorthodox his quick release is effective and his timely buckets throughout his four years at BSU have been game changing on multiple occasions.

“There’s been many people that have looked at me and said, ‘How do you shoot the basketball like that?’ I just laugh because ever since I was young I was shooting way too far than I should have and that is how I developed bad habits, but it just seemed to always go in so I never thought why should I change. Throughout the years my family has dug me in the gym, put me in a shooting strap, teach me to keep my elbow in but I never took anything away from it because every time I would get more and more frustrated.”     

“It’s almost like a convulsion,” Bowen said. “When I watched him shoot I was a little bit frightened and couldn’t believe he was able to score that many points. Obviously he has tremendous aim. It’s not how you do it, it’s the results you get.”   

The 6-foot-3-inch, 195 pound senior is a bit over-sized for his point guard position, but it creates miss-matches on both offense and defense. His versatility and court vision is what makes him so successful, especially in the assist category. It took just two and a half years for Bryce to become BSU’s all-time assists leader as he dished his 315th assist Jan. 15. The average fan can notice his passion, shot and size on the court, but what they don’t always see is his leadership abilities off the court. The 2011-12 captain has not only been a leader to his teammates but is active in volunteering at local elementary schools in the Bemidji area.

“Bryce has a tremendous amount of leadership ability and toughness,” Bowen said. “He’s charismatic to be around, people enjoy playing with him and he’s a perfect fit for our offense. He brings such a leadership quality of - this is how you behave on and off the floor – that people really respond to.”    

“When I was younger, people were in my life, being a role model and it has really characterized who I am today,” Bryce said. “Any time I have the opportunity to affect someone’s life younger than me and show them what life can be about I’m going to take it.”    

In Bryce’s life, basketball is a close second to his family, and often, the two go hand in hand. To say Bryce grew up in a basketball family would be an understatement. His grandpa, Bob McDonald, is the winningest coach in Minnesota High School basketball history. Bryce’s dad, Neil, coached Bryce at Crosby-Ironton High School and is currently the assistant for the Rangers boy’s team. Bryce also has uncles that are coaches, cousins that play, but more importantly, he has his little brother Brock on the team this season.   

“It means a lot for me and our family to have him on the team” Bryce said. “I know the guys really enjoy him. It just means a lot for me, enjoying my senior year with him. Family is most important to me. I’ve been blessed to be in a family like I have. Basketball is everywhere I go and a big part of me and my family. My grandpa McDonald has had a dramatic impact on my life on and off the floor, teaching life lessons and how life should be.”

Basketball is in his blood, so naturally staying in the game is what Bryce wants to do once his time is done as a student-athlete at Bemidji State.  

“My biggest dream is to be a college coach. I want to get in that field and I love working with kids. I’ve talked to coach Bowen and other coaches about it and I know it’s a journey and a process, but I can’t see myself doing anything else.”   

But the physical education major isn’t done being a Beaver quite yet. Bryce and BSU are off to their best start under Bowen and have some work to do before the season and the four-year career of the passionate, hard-working and dedicated student-athlete come to an end.

“You have to make the most of what you have every single day. If I have that attitude from now until when we are done in March then I won’t have any regrets and that is what this season is all about, not having any regrets.”