TWIN BRIDGES — Bryce Nye is a third-generation athlete in the Twin Bridges community. Both his father and grandfather played for the Falcons, and his dad even played briefly at Carroll College.
Now, Bryce is the latest in the Nye family to excel on the hardwood.
“I think people in the community follow people they recognize, the last names,” Twin Bridges assistant coach Andy Nye said of his son Bryce. “So it’s been fun for them to see Bryce and his grandparents and talk about the game and during the week and how the games went through the weekend, so those are important times, especially for communities that are smaller like this. It means a lot.”
“It’s kind of hard because the whole community comes and watches us and they’re all expecting me to do well, because my father did, he played at Carroll, and my Grandpa played well. It’s just hard. But once you get going, it gets easier and easier as it goes on,” Bryce said.
But Nye isn’t the only Falcons player with family history between the lines. Teammates Charlie and Daniel Kruer have quite the lineage themselves. Their father, Curtis, who grew up in Florida, played on the 1969-70 NCAA runner-up Jacksonville University team that defeated the likes of Iowa, St. Bonaventure and blue-blood Kentucky on its way to the title game. The Dolphins featured Artis Gilmore, who averaged 26.5 points and 22.2 rebounds per game that season and would spend 17 seasons between the ABA and NBA.
“We were well-known for being a Cinderella team,” Curtis said of his Dolphins team. “Talent-wise, we belonged with the big boys. But Jacksonville University that year had an enrollment of 2,500 students. We’re by far the smallest college to ever play in that game for the national championship.”
Curtis has spent the better part of the past 50 years involved in basketball in one way or another, and Charlie and Daniel haven’t been shy to pick his brain.
“Just hard work mainly. You’ve got to know what works best for you and stick to it,” Charlie said. “Mid-range jumpers were huge back then. Finishing high, just a bunch of stuff that worked back then, and it works pretty good now.”
“He comes and watches every game, no matter where we are,” Daniel added. “He always has something to say and we always take it to heart, we always know what to do. We try to go back and forth with him. Most of the time he knows what’s best, so we always try to listen to him.”
For Curtis and Andy, watching their kids grow together on the court has been a joy. After leaving their own mark on basketball in their respective communities, they’ve had a first-hand look at the impact Bryce and the Kruer brothers have made.
“It’s hard to compare players, but definitely he’s at the top of his game that we’ve seen in Twin Bridges High School, and that’s a great moment for me to see him and it’s exciting to watch,” Andy said.
Twin Bridges (18-0 overall, 12-0 conference) faces Sheridan (1-17, 1-11) in the first round of the District 12C tournament on Thursday.