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Tesdahl brothers come from basketball family, play at Bemidji State

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For some families, basketball is in the blood. One could say that Brock and Bryce Tesdahl come from one of those families.

Robert McDonald, the head coach at Chisholm High School who is in his 57th year of coaching at the high school level, is the proud grandfather of the Tesdahl brothers.

McDonald is the winningest coach in Minnesota high school history with 972 wins.

"I guess I have been an influence," McDonald said with a laugh. "I have been around for a long time. I have 17 grandkids and all of them either are or will be basketball players. Brock and Bryce come from a long lineage of sport-minded people."

This year Bryce, a senior guard for the Bemidji State men's basketball team, welcomed his younger brother Brock, a freshman, onto the team with open arms.

"I really enjoy having him here on and off the floor," Bryce said. "We live together and we obviously spend a lot of time on the floor together. It means a lot not only to have Brock on the team, but for everybody else to be so comfortable with having him here as well."

Although the brothers do live together, BSU head coach Matt Bowen says that it is not the most typical brother relationship.

"It is a relationship that is probably unlike what people would assume it to be," Bowen said. "Brock has his own little world and Bryce has his. They operate more like friends, you don't really see them sitting together on the bus or doing anything that would suggest they are brothers or are always together."

Bryce enters his senior season as BSU's all-time leader in assists - a mark he set last January.

"Bryce has been phenomenal," Bowen said. "He has been everything I could have asked for. He's been great in the community, a great student and, obviously, he's been a pretty good basketball player for us."

Bryce Tesdahl has seen improvements in the program over the last three years and is hoping to see many more in his senior year.

"We have a lot of goals." Bryce said. Obviously we want to win every game, but looking at the big picture, we want to put ourselves in position to get into the conference tournament. Eventually we want to get to the NCAA tournament, but to do that we have to win the small battles first."

Brock says he looks up to his older brother because of his work ethic.

"I try to get to his level," Brock said. "It is pretty hard to do since he is such a hard-worker. He motivates people so well, too. If I am having a bad day or not giving full effort, he gets on me right away."

Brock, a transfer from North Dakota State, did not come to Bemidji State to play basketball.

"Last year I spent a semester at NDSU and didn't like it as much as I thought I would," Brock said. "So I came here second semester and every day after class I would go down and shoot for a half or so just to kill some time. One day the team was in there and I talked to coach for a while and joked around with him. Two days later I got a call from Bryce asking if I would want to be on the team. It was an opportunity that I jumped on right away."

Although Brock is a freshman and is not used regularly in games, Bowen still speaks highly of his new guard.

"Brock is a great teammate," Bowen said. "He never complains, knows his role and works extremely hard. He is so energetic and very supportive of his teammates. He really fit his role as a young guy coming on the team."

The Tesdahls come from Crosby-Ironton High School where Bryce set the school record in scoring and assists.

Brock also showcased his talents there. In his senior year he averaged 11.9 points and 4.7 rebounds as he guided his team to the section final, where it was defeated by New London-Spicer.

Although their grandfather is not able to attend their games because of his coaching schedule, Brock and Bryce both attribute success to the legendary coach.

"He probably has had the most influence of anyone in my life on and off the floor," Bryce said. "He taught me about values and how to be a leader. There are many little things that lead up to big things. He has been a big influence in my life and will continue to do that, whether it is basketball, school or anything else."

Brock remembers his grandpa pushing him harder than most grandparents do.

"Every Christmas we would go up there and he would work on our shots," Brock recalled. "He would always make us shoot jump shots when we were shooting set shots. He always wanted us to strive for the best. Looking back at it now, I'm glad he did that. I gained so much learning from him."

Despite the praise from his grandchildren, McDonald isn't one to take the credit for the success.

"I can't toot my own horn too much," McDonald said. "They are extremely hard-working kids and they are the ones that got to where they are. They are pretty successful at it, but most of all they seem really happy and that is what is truly most important."

With McDonald's teaching and the tutoring of his older brothers, one might not be surprised to see Brady Tesdahl, a freshman on the Crosby-Ironton varsity basketball team, on a college roster someday.