SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – It’s been a thrilling countdown towards our 2023 SportsZone Boys Basketball Player of the Year award, featuring a tough list of nominees to choose from. But at the end of the day, Dakota Valley’s Isaac Bruns was the premier pick. A senior guard who could dictate a game, with a shooting touch that was pivotal in the Panthers’ historic run.

“I figured I would be one of the main team leaders my last two years,” Dakota Valley senior guard Isaac Bruns said. “Obviously the year before that we had my older brother and a couple of others guys that were the main team leaders, but going into my junior season and especially my senior season I knew that I’d have a key role.”

There were great players, and then there was Isaac Bruns. Winning the Gatorade South Dakota Player of the Year and South Dakota Coaches’ Association Class A Player of the Year back-to-back seasons, the senior sharpshooter blew away Siouxland competition. Torching the net and defenses to lead the State with 683 points behind 258 field goals made, 144 free throws off an 84 percent clip, and the second most rebounds at 239. His 12 double-doubles tied the most in Class A… proving his dynamic play would stand the test of the season.

“He’s just a great player knows when the make the right play,” Dakota Valley senior guard Randy Rosenquist Jr. said. “Whether it’s him taking a shot or swinging it to the next person, he knows where to be at the right time and where the right play is. Just knowing we have a guy we can go to no matter what time in the game or any possession to get a bucket for us anytime… he’s a great player.”

A focal point in the Panthers’ record-breaking 53 game win streak and back-to-back State championships, Bruns left more than a mark on DV. He left a legacy. Scoring a school-record 46 points over Elk Point-Jefferson, later becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,309 career points. Surpassing school legends, including previous record holder, and older brother, Paul Bruns.

“He was happy for me and so were the rest of the guys. It was pretty cool to get both those records from my older brother,” Bruns said.

“His stats came because he was doing all the right things and he’s blessed with great teammates as well,” Dakota Valley head coach Jason Kleis said. “That always goes hand-in-hand with great teams and great players. He found a great blend and propelled us to victory.”

A major screw in DV’s well-oiled machine, Bruns was the playmaker and winner he set out to become. But it’s the memories he made with his team he’ll remember the most, going down as one of the best squads in South Dakota history. It’s a feat that didn’t happen by accident, with Bruns reminding future Panthers to do the work in the dark, for it to be seen in light.

“The work that you put in when no one is watching or the things that you do when no one is looking, they’ll come back around you’ll get rewarded for those things. Hard work when no one is looking pays off,” Bruns said.

An incredible career for arguably the Panthers all-time greatest player, and it’ll extend to Vermillion next fall. Beginning a new chapter in his basketball journey at South Dakota, reuniting on the court with his brother Paul. Congratulations once again to Isaac Bruns on winning this year’s SportsZone Boys Basketball Player of the Year award.