Plans change. That is exactly what happened to former Penn basketball star AJ Brodeur.
The Northborough, Mass. native is one of the most well-known Penn basketball stars of all time. Since his very first season donning the Red and Blue, he made an impact. As a freshman, he was just one of two players to start all 28 games, and averaged a team-high 30.9 minutes per contest.
He continued his success from his freshman year throughout his collegiate career, breaking into the record books on several occasions during his time with the Quakers. Brodeur finished his career ranking first all time in career points, blocked shots, field goals made, games played, and games started. On top of that, he came in second in field goal attempts, and third all time in rebounds and minutes played.
In his final season with the Red and Blue, Brodeur was again just one of two players to start in all 27 games played, and was named co-Ivy League Player of the Year. On March 10, Brodeur and the rest of the team were preparing for a matchup against Yale in Ivy Madness, when the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brodeur always knew he wanted to try and play professionally after college, but due to domestic issues with the pandemic, he took the opportunity to play overseas.
“I knew I wanted to try to play professionally after college to extend my career,” Brodeur said. “That combined with how hard the pandemic had been hitting the U.S. in particular, I knew that it would be a great opportunity to come over to Europe and play here.”
Brodeur started his journey with the Mitteldeutscher Basketball Club, playing in the Basketball Bundesliga league in Germany, and is now playing in Iceland with the Stjarnan men's basketball team. The opportunity of playing in two different countries has allowed Brodeur to extend his career while learning about new cultures.
“The main goal I have with playing professionally here in Europe is to be able to continue playing basketball for as long as I want to,“ Brodeur said. “I want to experience different cultures of the world that I wouldn’t be able to encounter otherwise. I love the idea of being able to use basketball as a way to have these experiences, while also playing basketball as a job, and making some money while I'm at it. So far I’ve definitely had several of those experiences, as I’m currently in my second country of just this season. I started off in Germany and now I’ve been playing in Iceland.”
Although this has been a new experience for him, Brodeur has had a smooth transition to professional basketball, in part due to the skills he learned while playing for the Red and Blue.
“A big thing that I took with me from Penn was how to effectively manage my time. At Penn, between school life, basketball life, and social life, there was a lot on my plate,” Brodeur said. “Now, a lot of my focus is on just basketball, which allows me to use the rest of my time to recover my body and do things that I want to do.”
While he might not be in University City anymore, Brodeur's time as a Quaker will always be with him, and Penn fans will definitely be seeing more of him in the future.