AJ Brodeur is 103 points away from history, but he has bigger goals on his mind right now.
The senior forward for Penn men’s basketball is close to wrapping up his illustrious career as a Quaker, and with just six regular-season games remaining, he would need to average 17.2 points per game to become the program’s all-time leading scorer. With his team currently sitting in a tie for third place in the Ivy League, however, Brodeur is currently focused on doing anything he can to propel his team to an Ivy League title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
“[The record] is definitely in my head, but I don’t really change the way I play for anything,” Brodeur said. “I would be doing my team and myself a disservice if I kept these things in mind, but it’s definitely a cool thing to work towards.”
Brodeur is no stranger to breaking records. In his team’s upset win over Yale on Saturday, he became Penn’s all-time leader in field goals made with 705, breaking a 67-year record held by Ernie Beck, who also currently holds the all-time scoring record with 1,827 points.
Brodeur also scored the 1724th point of his career during that game, putting him in third place all-time ahead of Zack Rosen, who played for Penn from 2008-12.
"Climbing the all-time scoring list is obviously exciting and a tremendous individual accomplishment,” Rosen said when reached for comment. “[However], the main thing is to focus on the team, the larger goals of the team, and to just glue your headspace to contributing to those goals. The points will continue to pile up, but that can't be what you're thinking about."
Brodeur has focused on his team for his entire career at Penn and has never labeled himself as a scorer. Even though he is close to being the program's all-time leading scorer, he has never even finished in the top-10 of single-season scoring in program history.
“He’s arguably the most complete basketball player I’ve ever coached," coach Steve Donahue said. "There have probably been better scorers, but someone that does so many different things to help your team win, I’ve never had a player like that."
Brodeur has managed to climb up the list mainly by staying healthy and being consistent. He has started all of the 113 games he has played in a Red and Blue uniform, averaging 15.3 points per game for his career.
His ascension to the top is markedly different than Beck’s, who only played less than three seasons at Penn but was a scoring machine. During his 1952-53 campaign, he averaged an astounding 25.9 points per game. After that season, Beck was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors, where he played seven seasons and won an NBA Championship.
When Brodeur arrived at Penn as a freshman, the team was far from its glory days, not having won the Ivy League in nearly a decade. Since he began playing, he has led them to an Ivy League title, been a unanimous first team All-Ivy selection twice, and taken home numerous other awards and accolades.
Brodeur has a decent chance at breaking the record during the regular season as he is currently averaging right around the 17.2 points per game that are needed for the record. However, if the Quakers can make a deep postseason run and he stays healthy, his chances to become the all-time scoring leader will increase significantly.
If Brodeur is able to take the top spot, it would be an outstanding accomplishment. To have scored more points than any player in the history of a program that has existed for over 120 years, won 26 Ivy League titles, and appeared in the Final Four, it would be a feat that would certainly enter him into discussion as one of the best athletes to ever don the Red and Blue.
Regardless of if he breaks the record or not, Brodeur's impact on the team and program is undeniable.
“He’s a kid at heart, and that’s what we like about him,” Donahue said. “He doesn’t take himself too seriously. The only time he’s real serious is when we get between the blue lines.”
With only two more games to play at the Palestra, Brodeur's career is almost over, but there's still plenty of history to be made.