Nick’s Notes: Hoops & Tweets
January 8, 2015
Not many people who read this paper will worry about what happened in the Maple Lake versus Rockford boy's basketball game, but Steve Bruce does.
The Marshall resident runs the extremely popular @mnbuckets Twitter account, which is a clearinghouse for Minnesota high school basketball information.
Twitter, a social media network that allows users to send instant 140-character "tweets", has become a necessity for disseminating information, especially in the sports world.
Bruce's account has racked up over 7,500 followers, an impressive number for someone who doesn't officially work in sports media. (I'm in the mid-400's.)
On Tuesday he tweeted a number of things to watch out for on a busy hoops night. The Breckenridge versus Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton was one to watch in section 8AA.
He mentioned a Sebeka player who scored her 1,000 point and set a state record with 33 free throw attempts in a game on December 30th. He tweeted that Prairie Seeds Academy scored a record 165 points on that day in 2012.
He also sent out a quote from legendary college coach Pete Newell. That's just a sample of the diverse information that @mnbuckets provides.
You might picture Bruce as a fast-talking tech savant who aims to climb the sports media ladder. He's not. He's a friendly and knowledgeable son of a coach who aims to keep high school basketball culture thriving in in Minnesota.
Bruce grew up watching basketball in South Dakota and southwest Minnesota. His dad, John, coached in Cottonwood and in Hayti, South Dakota in the late sixties.
The family eventually settled in Britton, South Dakota, where the elder Bruce coached team won the state basketball championship in 1972. John Bruce got elected to the South Dakota Coaches Hall of Fame last year.
Bruce would read his dad's scorebooks from the games.
"I'd be all over those like a cheap suit," he said in the conference room at the Independent office. He'd also devour the Hansen Anderson basketball books that previewed every team in the state.
A few decades later, the medium for hoops information has changed, but his passion for the game has not.
He started the Twitter account in November 2012 after his son wasn't involved in the basketball anymore.
"I was trying to figure out a way to have a part," he said. So he started the service to keep track of the basketball happenings in the North Star state.
"I do what I do to keep basketball the way I need it to be," he said. You'd probably consider his service equal parts sports information director, historian, and cheerleader for the kids and programs that don't get recognized too often.
Coincidentally, Bruce only attends about "ten to twelve" games a season. He does see a few more once tournament time rolls around. He watches most of the games online.
"It's hard for me to go to a game when I know I'm going to miss two hundred others," he said. He's usually paying attention to five games an evening and sending out information on dozens of others.
Bruce isn't able to do everything though. "I don't give girls as much coverage as I would like to," he said.
In an era where we seemingly have all the information, but actually listen to very little of it, Steve Bruce just wants to make sure we don't miss what matters to him, great basketball.