by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Ever since Maple Grove senior point guard Brycen Wojta was introduced to basketball at age 5, his hands and a basketball are almost inseparable.
“I instantly fell in love with the sport and my hands had a ball in them at all times,” Wojta said.
So it is natural that Wojta plays point guard, a role that requires constant ball handling and running the team’s offense. After four years excelling that role for the Maple Grove Crimson, Wojta has established himself as the most prolific offensive player in school history. He broke Greg Martin’s all-time career scoring record against Champlin Park Jan. 29. The old record was 1,203. Wojta is now at 1,321 points with two games still to play. He also tied Martin’s most assists record for a single game (13) and is very close to setting the school single season record for assists. Entering this week’s final two regular season games, Wojta has 180 assists, just 14 behind Martin’s record.
Wojta is honored that he achieved these milestones.
“It means a lot to me. I have known and met so many great players who have walked the halls of MGSH and I respect them greatly,” he said. “All of them are smart, hard working players that I feel honored to be mentioned with them for the history of Maple Grove’s basketball.”
Talking to the humble and unassuming Wojta, one gets the impression that he is the person least responsible for setting all these school records.
“My success has come directly from the players that I have played with over my past four years,” he said. “My scoring comes from opponents respecting other players on my team which gives me more opportunities to drive and shoot, while my assists come from my teammates being able to hit the open shots at a high percentage. Also, my coaches have been great role models for me and have taught me many lessons in basketball that apply to life. Without any of them, I wouldn’t be half the player and person I am today.”
Crimson coach Nick Schroeder said Wojta is a special player blessed with great basketball IQ, athletic skills and court vision that allows him to make decisions on whether to shoot, drive or dish.
“Brycen sees the floor better than anyone I have ever coached,” Schroeder said. “He has the ability to recognize angles and gaps and the basketball IQ to know when and how to attack them.”
Wojta,a 6-foot speedster, has a wide arsenal of offensive weapons. He is an excellent jump shooter and free throw shooter and passer. While not big in stature, Wojta is a standout in football where he was a three-year starter, an all-conference wide receiver and the conference’s special team player of the year. He uses his football quickness and toughness to frequently take the ball to the rim when he sees an opening.
“Brycen makes up for his lack of heights with his heart,” Osseo coach Tim Theisen said. “He is a true competitor.”
Wojta’s basketball IQ and athletic skills quickly earned him a spot on the Crimson varsity. He made the junior varsity/varsity team as a ninth grader. He was placed on JV for the first couple of games and was given the opportunity to play in his first varsity game at Hopkins.
From there on out, Wojta became a fixture in the Maple Grove’s starting line-up. In the past four years, Wojta consistently put up impressive numbers and is rewarded with many awards. He earned all-conference, all metro and all-state honorable mentions in his sophomore and junior seasons. In his senior year, he reached the 1,000-point milestone, broke the school scoring record and is on the verge of breaking the single season assist record.
Wojta’s success is not limited to athletics. He is in the National Honor Society, has made the Straight “A” Honor Roll, is honored For Academic Excellence and is an Academic Letter Earner. He is also a member of Link Crew and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“I have been blessed as a coach to be able to work with Brycen for the last four years,” Schroeder said. “His commitment and work ethic both on the floor and in the classroom are second to none.”
The individual achievements are nice but Wojta said the most rewarding experience as a Crimson came in his sophomore season when the Crimson won the section championship and played in the state tournament at Target Center
”It was a true testament on how much better our team had gotten as a whole and how good everyone was on the team,” he said. “I think it put a little recognition into the Maple Grove basketball program throughout the state and I hope to get back there this year.”
Wojta and the Crimson will seek another trip to state when they open section play next week. As his brilliant high school is nearing the end, Wojta again thanks all who are responsible for his success.
“First, I would like to give all my thanks to God. With him everything is possible and he has given me the ability to be able to play the way I have through my life,” he said. “Second, I would like to say the two persons most responsible for my success are my parents, Randy and Tracy. They have stuck with me through the good and the bad times and have supported me through all of my decisions. Lastly, I would like to thank all of my coaches growing up through the years. Everyone from my traveling coach, Gary Lapalme, to my current high school coaches for both basketball, Nick Schroeder, and football, Matt Lombardi. Every single coach has influenced my game and me as a person. I just say thanks to everyone for being a positive influence in my life.”
There will be more basketball in the future for Wojta, who has decided to play basketball instead of football in college.
“I think it was just a personal decision I had to make,” he said. “I compared the pros and cons of both sports on the next level and I feel I would be better suited to pursue basketball. I was given the opportunity to be able to play both sports in college, but I think I would rather focus my efforts on just basketball and excel in the sport to the best of my ability.”
Contact Bob San at [email protected]