Nuggets guard brings enthusiasm to Cats camp

BOZEMAN — There was a moment Wednesday evening when Montana State’s first-year men’s basketball coach knew that bringing former University of Oregon All-America and current Denver Nugget Aaron Brooks to Bozeman was a good decision.

“When he flew in last night and walked into the gym the games stopped,” Fish said. “Everybody started looking, everyone started asking, is that Aaron, is that Aaron? You could see an immediate change in the kids.”

A former University of Oregon star, Brooks passed through the Ducks program before Fish arrived with head coach Dana Altman in 2010. But he was a college teammate of current MSU assistant coach Brandon Lincoln, and he and Fish have become friends in subsequent years. “He’s one of those guys that after one day you feel like you know him, and he’s the type of person you want around your program.”

In interacting with current Bobcats players, Brooks preached not just the virtues of hard work, Fish said, but also its possibilities. “Our guys get to hear the story that nothing was given to him,” Fish said. “Aaron worked his way up from nothing to McDonald’s All-American, back to the bottom of the totem pole (at Oregon) to Elite 8 his senior year, to the 26th pick (in the NBA Draft). It lets guys know not to quit, that you don’t have to seven foot (tall) to make it, and it lets them know that they can do this. But it’s not given. You have to work.”

All in all, Fish was pleased with a week that included visits to Bozeman by CBS college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb and Brooks. “People are talking about basketball and the Bobcats in the summer,” he says with infectious enthusiasm. “That’s just great.”

 — MSU Sports Information

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