Flandreau's Dylan LeBrun - 26 points, 11 boards, 4 assists, SCHOLARSHIP to Augustana
In about three weeks every high school student in South Dakota will be out of school and enjoying the freedom that so many teenagers enjoy during their time off.
No school, no structure, no problem, but for those that aspire to play college basketball, the real question is what are you going to do to get better? How bad to you want it, and what is the price you’re willing to pay to hear a phone call, from a college coach, wanting them to be part of their program?
Flandreau senior Dylan LeBrun got his call on June 15, 2017 as the Augustana coaching staff called on the first day they legally could to offer the 6-foot-6, Flier, an opportunity to play basketball while getting his education paid for as a Viking.
So, how did a kid who lives on a farm, seven miles south of Flandreau, who come from a program whose last state title came in 1997, turn himself into one of the best players in South Dakota?
He worked his butt off….
What it takes – The Dylan LeBrun story
LeBrun showed some early promise, getting pulled up to the varsity as an 8th-grader. Having grown from 5-foot-6 to 6-foot-1, LeBrun’s 8th-grade experience was one of necessity, but one that painted an immediate picture that LeBrun needed to get stronger.
Fortunately the LeBrun’s have a neighbor living about two miles away, Bob Erickson, who owns a gym. In that facility, LeBrun spent Monday’s Wednesday’s and Friday’s, 90-minutes per workout, under the direction of someone who demanded the work be put in, for four solid years.
“Every Flandreau state wrestling champion works out with this guy,” LeBrun said. “Once you are in the gym, he doesn’t follow you around but he expects you to put the work in.
And so, after a warm-up of jump-roping, LeBrun hits the bench with a steady diet of arms, benching, push-ups and pull-ups and all of the Olympic lifts, arm machines and the butterfly machines.
“At the end of every workout we would box and then run a mile after every workout,” LeBrun said. And so, with bigger, faster and stronger in the works, LeBrun went to work on his game.
His father John played at Flandreau (1992), mom, Tricia played at Sioux Falls Christian (1992), and later at Augustana. One day, Tricia came home and told her son he needed to meet this fella named Allan Bertram, who had recently relocated to Flandreau.
Bertram had been working with LeBrun’s younger brothers and so, the summer following his sophomore year, LeBrun was introduced to a man, the first man, that gave him honest feedback about his game.
“His feet were not good,” Bertram said. “The first thing I noticed was getting into his shot was slow, soft and lazy.”
While that kind of feedback might send some to the showers, LeBrun embraced the truth and went to work.
Sometimes 60-90 minutes at a time, doing nothing but working on a deficiency, hearing feedback and being told to do it again, only better.
With two hoops at the LeBrun farm, Dylan and younger brother, Conner used to race home from school to practice with the shooting machine installed in the shed.
Hours upon hours, day after day, into the wee hours of the morning, LeBrun shot, and shot, all the while working on his feet and improving his abilities.
With his strength training on track and still working on the deficiencies in his game, LeBrun had one more arena to conquer.
An improved mentality!
“The biggest thing was getting out of his shell,” Bertram said. “He wasn’t uber-aggressive and he didn’t realize how good he could be.”
While LeBrun thought he was playing hard, Bertram challenged him to play harder.
“Just getting him to be tougher, mentally and physically and take that next jump to playing hard on every play,” Bertram said.
LeBrun credits a lot of his improvement coming from his high school coach, Brendan Sheppard, who put in a lot of extra work, and time.
“Coach Shep has that Allan mentality,” LeBrun said. “He’s not shy, he’s really focused on defense and playing hard with effort. He would open the gym after morning workouts and then put on his shoes and play with us.”
How all the work paid off
A two-time, first-team all-stater, LeBrun, and his Flandreau Flier got better, and better.
Senior year, LeBrun posted some monster numbers, (25.6 ppg, 11 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.6 spg). Despite averaging a double-double, LeBrun describes his game as ‘Nothing Flashy’, a point Sacred Hoops’ Bertram agrees with, sort of.
“Some kids are great shooters, some kids are great low post players, Dylan can do everything,” Bertram said. “He is the epitome of a true scorer and good at so many facets of the game.”
Bertram called LeBrun one of the state’s best all-around players, a guy who could throw down a HAMMER-dunk or just as easily find an open teammate. While LeBrun’s Fliers lost to Sioux Valley, 65-63 in the Region 2 semi-finals, when they did get to play on the big stage, LeBrun was an assassin.
On Jan. 20, in the Corn Palace in Mitchell, the Fliers beat Class A state runner-up, Tea Area, 68-67 with LeBrun having 35 points and 14 rebounds.
While LeBrun calls his 11 rebounds per game, a product of coach Sheppard playing him down low on defense, Bertram calls it something more, recalling how well LeBrun rebounded on the national circuit.
“He’s got great length and he’s tenacious and reads the ball really well,” Bertram said. “A lot of kids are reactors but Dylan is thinking about where the ball is going and he’ just got a natural instinct. He’ll be a great rebounder at Augustana.”
The mark of a great player can often be seen by how good they make their teammates. Each year the Fliers got better, and so did the kids around LeBrun.
“He could have shot the ball 35 times a game but he shot when he needed to,” Bertram said. “When I watched this year, some of those kids that had worked hard have gotten significantly better.”
LeBrun plans on studying business at Augustana. LeBrun and fellow Class A first-teamers, Vermillion’s AJ Plitzuweit and Sioux Valley’s Trevor Hanson all signed with the Vikings and start their collegiate journey together this fall.
LeBrun has three younger brothers, Conner, Chase and Maverick!