Quinton Day should be familiar by now. The University of Missouri-Kansas City standout’s story has been written, as has that of his teammate, Tim Blackwell.
Now there’s freshman Dane Brumigan.
The Montgomery City native grew up watching the Tigers before hopping on board with the Kangaroos. Like a childhood home revisited years later, Mizzou Arena had that homey-yet-foreign feel Tuesday night.
It wasn’t necessarily a good feeling, as UMKC fell 60-42 to Missouri. But it was familiar, as Brumigan played 50 miles west of his home.
“This is probably the biggest game I’ve ever played in,” Brumigan said, “just crowd-wise, and the brand-new place.”
As the second half wore on and the Tigers extended their lead, the season-high-but-still-paltry attendance of 7,736 waned. The UMKC section held strong in number, if defeated in verbal spirit, buoyed by the approximately 70 fans on hand to see Brumigan.
Leading the cheers were his parents, Craig and Beverly Brumigan, alongside high school coach Butch Clark. They estimated that 40 or more classmates were on hand, with friends and family making up the other 30 in attendance for Dane.
“We’ve been able to go to the home games,” Clark Brumigan said, “but this one is exciting for us because we have about a 45-minute trip from our house, and we have a lot of his school classmates here, so it’s kind of neat. We have some extra family here that hasn’t been able to get up to Kansas City yet.”
They were a little higher up than his parents, but not so far away that they couldn’t see and yell when Brumigan’s No. 3 jersey took the floor at the 17:24 mark of the first half.
Although he was aware of the increased fan presence, Brumigan said it didn’t bother him that expectations might be higher than usual.
“I didn’t really think about it at all during the game,” Brumigan said. “I kinda saw my parents behind the bench but I didn’t see anyone else. I know that they were here, but it wasn’t something that I was thinking about or let affect me in any way.
“It was nice for them to all come out and support me, so I appreciate that.”
Brumigan, who is 6-foot-4 and generously listed at 185 pounds, disappeared behind Kevin Young as he floated at the bottom of the 1-3-1 zone UMKC employed. He didn’t exactly fill up the stat sheet. The three-point specialist missed both long-range attempts and went 0-4 from the field. His assist and three rebounds were offset by a youthful three turnovers.
Still, Brumigan played 26 minutes, right on his average through three games, as the first man off the Kangaroos’ bench.
After averaging more than 32 and 25 points in his junior and senior years of high school, Brumigan undoubtedly will find his stroke at some point. He is the only NCAA Division I player to come out of Warrenton Christian (now Liberty Christian Academy). Clark called him the best player he has worked with.
Even though he was intent on discussing his team’s tough loss and forecasting its propensity to bounce back and get better, Brumigan conceded the game, at as close to a hometown school as there is for him, was a milestone.
“It’s finally nice to be playing Division I basketball and get to do the great things like this,” he said. “It’s been a dream kinda come true. It’s nice.”
The opposing small forward, Thomas Gardner, shot his way to a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds. Jason Horton was lauded for his toughness by coach Quin Snyder, after the point guard held Day to seven points (more than 20 less than his average coming into the night).
They had been here before, however, and though they are outstanding members of the home program, the Oregon and Texas natives have a newfound affinity for the Tigers.
Brumigan grew up in Tiger country.
“I liked Missouri a lot,” Brumigan said in explanation of his boyhood preferences. “I just kind of watched whoever was on TV, I didn’t have a favorite team necessarily, but Missouri was always fun to watch because they’re right here in Columbia. And the first game I ever went to was a Mizzou game.”