NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL: RTR’s Peterson signs with Golden Bears

TYLER – Russell-Tyler-Ruthton boys basketball standout and two-time Marshall Independent Player of the Year Brett Peterson signed a national of letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic careers at Concordia University in St. Paul during a ceremony Wednesday.

Peterson, a 6-foot-4 guard who is the only player in Knights history score more than 2,000 points (2,003), averaged 27.1 points and 11.0 rebounds as a senior.

He said he felt right a home during his visits to Concordia.

“I really liked the atmosphere up there and their (associate) athletics director Brian Jamros made it very comfortable for me,” Peterson said inside the RTR library on Wednesday. “I think Concordia has some good things going for their men’s basketball program with the new coaching staff. I think they can really turn this program around and I’m looking forward to helping with that.”

Jamros said Peterson is not only a talented basketball play, but he’s also has high character. Both are qualities Jamros values greatly.

“Brett is a young man that exemplifies what we are looking for in a student-athlete at Concordia University,” Jamros said. “He has the drive, energy and passion to help our men’s basketball program be successful. On the court, Brett knows how to put the ball in the basket as his stats indicate and it is the job of our coaching staff to build upon his strengths and turn him into the best Division II basketball player he can be.”

Earlier this month, the Golden Bears, who went 8-19 overall and 5-17 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division, hired former Division I interim South Dakota head coach Joey James to be Concordia’s full-time head coach.

While James joined Concordia after serving as a head coach at South Dakota, he also has a strong Division II background prior to the Coyotes making the jump to Division I. In James’ first five seasons as a South Dakota assistant, the Coyotes reached the NCAA Division II Tournament. In his 12 total seasons as a South Dakota coach, the program produced a 225-137 (.622) record as James was involved in all aspects of the South Dakota program. He also helped lead the team to seven-straight 20-plus win along with two conference championships.

“I’m excited to work with Coach James and he will be an excellent fit at Concordia,” Peterson said. “He was a Division I coach who brings that experience to Concordia. He’s going to demand hard work every day.”

Peterson, who has decided to choose sports management as his major and coaching as his minor, believes being at Concordia and living in the Twin Cities will lead to job opportunities in his future after college.

Being in the NSIC South, Peterson is eyeing an opportunity to play against Southwest Minnesota State.

“That should be a lot of fun because a lot of my family and friends can come to see the games,” Peterson said. “It was also be a lot of fun playing against (Mountain Lake Area standout and SMSU recruit) Carter Kirk, who has been a teammate of mine in AAU games. Off the court, we’re friends. But on the court, I can see that being a competitive battle.”

Peterson plans to do summer workouts with former Knights’ player Taylor Newton.

“Making the transition is going to be the next step, but I’m preparing to spend the summer with Taylor and playing basketball,” Peterson said. “Taylor (a junior guard at Jamestown, N.D., College) has been a friend of mine for a long time. He can help me understand the college life and what it takes to play basketball at that level.”

Jamros said he and Peterson bonded over being originally from small-town Minnesota. James is a graduate of Moose Lake High School in northern Minnesota.

“My hometown has about 2,000 people,” Jamros said. “When you come from rural Minnesota, playing sports is about the pride you take when you compete for your hometown. It’s about your family and friends and a community bonding together through sports. It’s about hours of hard work and dedication, especially if you’re a great athlete who is trying to get noticed by college recruiters. In a way, you have to be special to stand out for this kind of attention. Brett Peterson is that kind of special athlete.”