When first approached by Haskell University, Zack Bruns wasn’t sure if it was the place for him to continue playing basketball.
"I talked to the coach in January about getting me out there," the Havelock High senior said. "At first, I wasn’t sure about the college, but I started to like it more and more because of the opportunities that are out there."
Bruns, surrounded by family, coaches and school administrators, signed to play at the NAIA university in Lawrence, Kan., on Friday at Havelock High. He had also considered a college in West Virginia as well as a junior college.
"Haskell gave me a better offer," he said.
Bruns played shooting guard for the Rams but may play some point guard at Haskell after the team’s starting point guard transferred to an NCAA school.
"It’s going to be different," he said "It’s going to be weird because I’m used to shooting and scoring."
Bruns led Havelock in scoring this past season, averaging 19.3 points per game. He shot 36 percent from the 3-point stripe and 81 percent from the free throw line. He also averaged 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.4 assists for the Rams, who went 18-10 overall, finished second in the Coastal 3A Conference and reached the third round of the state playoffs.
Bruns said ending his career on the most successful Havelock team in about a decade was satisfying.
"It meant a lot," he said. "I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, D.J. (Godette) and Pharoh (Cooper). And Coach (Bill Fryczynski) really pushed us a lot."
He said a highlight for him personally was scoring his 1,000th career point on a free throw that helped seal a 62-59 victory over South Central on Feb. 5, a position he didn’t think he’d be in when he stepped on the court as a freshman to play junior varsity basketball.
"Freshman year playing basketball, I really wasn’t focused on it," he said. "It wasn’t a big part of my life, but then I realized I could go somewhere with this."
He joined a summer league, went to basketball camps and started practicing.
"I really started hitting the gym, in the mornings and at night," he said. "I would spend three hours at the gym just about every other day of the week."
Haskell competes in the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Indians went 6-23 overall and 4-13 in league play this past season.
Bruns wants to help turn that around and work his way into the starting lineup. But he also knows the school can create other opportunities.
"Hopefully, I can transfer out to an NCAA (division) school," he said. "The school is probably more of a stepping stone for me."
Though uncertain of a specific major, Bruns said he is leaning toward something in mathematics.