Metro hoops hops down under for talent

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Metro senior forward Paul Brotherson, freshman center Nicholas Kay, and redshirt freshman Mitch McCarron grew up and played basketball in Australia, then came to Denver to play ball for Metro


 
Three students from Australia suit up for the Roadrunners

There is a recruiting pipeline at Metro, invisible to the eye and yet solid in structure, which runs from Auraria to Australia.

This season’s men’s basketball team features three players born a-half-a-world away. Senior forward Paul Brotherson, freshman center Nicholas Kay and redshirt freshman guard Mitch McCarron all grew up playing ball in Australia.

It should come as no shock that the Roadrunners’ squad has recruited from so far away.

When former men’s basketball head coach Mike Dunlap was hired to lead the program in 1997, he chose to place an emphasis on getting top talent from Australia. It has produced players for Metro ever since.

“Coach Dunlap established that pipeline to Australia and we’ve just continued it,” Metro head coach Derrick Clark said. “We have great resources to be able to be competitive in terms of recruiting.”

The success of Australian Metro basketball alumni, which includes Australian Olympic-teammates Mark Worthington and Luke Kindle, has lead to the Roadrunner program becoming highly regarded by Australian ballplayers.

“We knew about the Australian tradition that Metro State has,” said Brotherson, who is now a senior captain after having transferred from Central Wyoming College. “We strived to come here. I would rather go to this college than any other college in the world.”

Kay arrived at Metro after his coach in Australia, Damian Cotter, recommended him to Clark. In a January game against Colorado Christian, the freshman flashed his potential with a 24-point, 11-rebound performance. Kay hopes to continue to improve throughout his career at Metro, and appreciates all of the support he and his teammates have been getting.

Amongst the Metro supporters is Danny Miller, a freshman at Metro, who waves an Australian flag proudly at games to show support for Brotherson, who is from Sidney, and Kay, who is from Tamworth.

“That’s my boy Danny. He’s just the No. 1 dedicated fan,” said McCarron, who is from Alice Springs, Australia. “He is out every game with the flag.”

The trio of Australians hope to help build on Metro’s tradition of excellence, which includes two Division II national titles. Last season, the team made it to the semi-finals of the NCAA Central Region Tournament.

“We have a very strong, competitive, talented team this year,” Brotherson said. “We had it last year, but I think we have a little bit more talent this year. We’re looking to take it a little further than where we did last year.”

As they do, the Australian basketball world will have its gaze on Colorado and the pipeline will continue to flow.

Author: Josh Gaines

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