Norman County East-UH's Broden Lien being patient with basketball recruiting process

Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal's Broden Lien throws down a dunk against Mahnomen-Waubun in a Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 quarterfinal game at The Hive in Perham on Saturday, March 7. Robert Williams / Forum News Service

FARGO — As men’s basketball recruiting goes, the scholarship opportunity Broden Lien has from Fairmount State in Fairmount, W. Va., literally came from nowhere. The junior at Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal received a message one day that soon after turned into an offer.

Lien said he was told the coaching staff got halfway through his recruiting video before assistant coach Tim Baab texted him.

“He offered just like that,” Lien said. “There was not much back and forth.”

That’s about as far as the 6-foot-8 forward has gotten with Fairmount, a successful program that went 23-7 and made a Division II regional this season. He currently holds scholarship offers from the University of North Dakota and Minnesota State Moorhead, the latter the school where his cousin Aaron Lien had a standout career.

Broden Lien went to several Dragons games including the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D., three years and MSUM’s regional game against East Central University (Okla.) in Maryville, Mo., in 2017.


Aaron Lien, a 6-4 guard from Moorhead High School, finished his MSUM career in that 2017 regional. Broden has his senior year yet to play at NCE/U-H and that couldn’t make head coach Brett Maas any happier.

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“He’s going to be pretty special next year,” Maas said.

Last season was pretty special, too. Lien averaged 24 points, 11 rebounds, 4, assists, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots. He made his biggest recruiting strides before the season during the AAU summer basketball circuit, including a tournament in Las Vegas.

Maas said that put him on the proverbial radar.

“Last summer was his breakthrough,” Maas said. “In Vegas, which was the last tournament in July, he stood out.”

Ryan James, who closely follows Minnesota recruits through his “Prep Hoops” website, took notice. James has Lien ranked the 10th best prospect in the state for the 2021 class. Will Tschetter of Stewartville, the son of former North Dakota State women’s basketball standout Kasey Morlock and Bison football player Garth Tschetter — and current holder of an NDSU offer — is ranked second.

Will Tschetter is also a 6-8 forward. He also holds reported offers from Northern Iowa, South Dakota and Wyoming among others.

Lien said UND sees him as a “stretch 4,” a technical term for a forward who can step outside and shoot the 3-pointer. The Fighting Hawks first contacted him last fall.


“I would be blessed to play even Division II,” Lien said, “but having a Division I offer is awesome, amazing.”

NDSU has also been in touch with Lien, who said he’s in no hurry to make a decision. He said he hasn’t looked into the Fairmount State offer any further and doesn’t know what’s going to happen with that.

“I have the whole summer, maybe if we have a summer,’ Lien said. “It’s not a huge deal when” he’ll make a decision.

In the meantime, he’s hanging at home doing online school but has the benefit of a weight room in his house and a hoop outside.

“I shoot when I can, when it’s not too cold or windy,” he said.

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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