There are kids with an ability to dream big but more importantly play big. There are kids who believe in themselves when few others do. There are some kids who simply refuse to lose faith. They simply cannot surrender to those telling them to move on or find a easier road… TO SETTLE. Don’t run with the big girls and to find new dreams. There is no shame in adjusting your goals and dreams. It’s not a sign of weakness. DIVISION ONE BASKETBALL is not for everyone. It’s not a birthright. But it is reserved for those few. That percentage of kids who beat the odds. Well EMMA BRUEN has been beating the odds since the day she picked up a basketball. Last night she beat the odds again when she choose CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY over other D1 schools.

When Emma Bruen told me she was going to attend SJV as a 8th grader. I told her “you may never play there”. She then told me that she was going to outwork everyone. Quietly behind her back many smirked at her ambitions. You see kids like Emma Bruen go to other high schools not SJV. They go to these other schools and start as freshman, play lots on minutes, score lots of points and win lots of awards. But those kids don’t play against the best. They also don’t play D1 basketball. Emma Bruen wanted to play D1 basketball. So she jumped into the lion’s den at SJV. She danced with the big dogs. She learned from the best in Coach Karpell. She practiced against the true killers of high school basketball. In turn she became a killer herself. Like all SJV players she had to wait her turn. When her turn did come, she was prepared and ready. She and her teammates then put together one of the best two year runs in recent girls basketball. Emma Bruen gave SJV everything she had to offer and in turn was part of a historic run. Yesterday she was rewarded for all her sacrifices one again. Like everything for Emma Bruen, it just took a little longer for us to appreciate her greatness.

Emma Bruen was part of one of the best teams in New Jersey girls basketball history. But Emma Bruen had to keep her word and out worked everyone, to part of this historic run by SJV. In the process she became the best defensive player in New Jersey. She easily won the Defensive Player of The Year Award in the Shore Conference. When she was younger, I would yell at her and make her run for not guarding the best offensive guard at NBS. Sometimes she got taken to the cleaners and other days she would show flashes of what she has become today… DARKNESS. You see Emma Bruen is everyone’s worst nightmare. You can be a guard going to a P5 school, a A-10 school or a ALL STATE player. It simply doesn’t matter. Emma Bruen turns the lights  out on everyone. These days I turn her loose on hotshot freshman at NBS to humble them. Sometimes when I see a D1 player feeling a little sexy about themselves. I turn to Emma to humble them and get their mind. You see  Emma speaks truth to your game. She reminds a player that there is much work left to do. These days Emma Bruen has nothing left to do in high school. She has won multiple SCT’s and STATE  TITLES. Her SVJ team has been nationally ranked. She has been 1st Team All Shore  and the DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR and now she is a D1 player. She had done all this when nobody thought any of it was possible. But Emma Bruen dreams differently than most people.. she sees blue skies and rainbows…and Central Connecticut State university is the prettiest rainbow she has seen to date.

Recruiting is such a pressure cooker. The highs and Lows can break a kids will. Convince them to settle and make them believe there is nothing left to give. Emma Bruen watched kids since she was in 4th grade sign at D1 schools and get there posters at NBS. She watched 20 D1 players get a poster this year. It had to hurt that she wasn’t going to be part of that club. She had to once again was being asked to beat the odds, but these odds where different than the rest. Emma Bruen is a mega student, so some of the best academic D3 schools in the country recruited her. She wants to be a doctor one day. Go to medical school and save lives. But she also wanted the experience of playing D1 basketball. There were those who wanted her to sign at a D3 school that offered to pay her entire education. Her mother called me and said “I really think Emma should take it” I told her mother Lauren. “You don’t want her to have regrets and wondering what if”. Emma was given deadlines by colleges recruiting her and like any kid thought her dreams were slipping away. She once asked me “how are kids, I’m much better than getting offers ahead of me”. But Emma forgot she plays for Dawn Karpell. You see Dawn Karpell’s kids all shine at the next level. Coach Karpell called and told coaches that Emma was a special player from a special program. She brought light to darkness. That’s why in the end Emma Bruen had multiple D1 offers.  Something that didn’t seem possible a few weeks ago. But Dawn Karpell and Emma have been doing the impossible together for YEARS now!

The excuses were all there in place for Emma Bruen to give up on her dreams. Covid 19, no live recruiting last summer, meaning no college coaches had a chance to see her, a shorten high school season. Worst, no colleges were allowed to come watch her play during the shorten season. Then there was the new recruiting giant the transfer portal eating up opportunities. She faced it all and is overcame it all. She did so by turning her body into something that looked like it was carved out of granite. She worked on her jumper day in and day out. She played her best basketball against the best competition. She trusted her coach and accepted her role and became one of the best players in the Shore. But above all… her she had the support of her family. They stood by her and encouraged her to go for the big dream. These are the reasons Central Conn State U and other D1 schools came calling. They saw her greatness. The darkness is threw over so many opponents was rewarded with a shining bright light shining on EMMA BRUEN….Now it is she that is in the the spotlight.

So it’s over, a dream has come true. A young lady that bet on herself has won. Covid couldn’t stop her, the portal couldn’t stop her. The shorten season without college coaches couldn’t stop. The fact of the matter is nothing was ever going to stop EMMA BRUEN. Central Connecticut has been in the hunt for months with Emma.  It’s been a long process. Some schools tired to confuse Emma down the stretch, it didn’t work. One school made it difficult to call and give them the bad news because of the love they showed Emma. But in the end Central Connecticut State University and Emma had ran to many miles together. What Central Connecticut State University doesn’t know is that Emma Bruen is going to be ALL FRESHMAN IN A THE NEC next year. Coach Reeves and her staff are classy people. Emma Bruen is lucky to be part of what they are building. If you ask me CENTRAL CONNECTICUT and EMMA BRUEN have both beat the odds… CONGRATULATIONS TO EMMA BRUEN, CCSU, THE SJV FAMILY AND THE ENTIRE BRUEN FAMILY… mission accomplished 👏👏👏👏💕🏀

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