When Montana State beat Montana for the fourth time in a row during fall 2019, the UM football players were understandably upset. But for Bozeman High graduate quarterback Kris Brown, the game meant even more.
It definitely wasn’t the homecoming I would’ve wanted-- coming back and being enemy number one, being a Griz player,” said the redshirt freshman.
UM sophomore forward Mack Anderson had a much different homecoming when the UM basketball team traveled to Bozeman his freshman year. The Bozeman native threw down an alley-oop dunk en route to an 83-78 win against the Bobcats
Both Anderson and Brown didn’t grow up in Bozeman all their lives. Brown grew up in California and Anderson got his start in Colorado. Brown moved to Montana when he was 15 while Anderson moved there before he started kindergarten.
Anderson said he wasn’t immediately drawn in by UM and Missoula. “Growing up I was like a Cats fan I guess,” he said. “I would go to football games and stuff like that, but I never really got into the whole rivalry.”
Both MSU and UM recruited Anderson in high school, but he shocked many when he became the first Bozeman High basketball player to commit to UM. Anderson also became the first Montana native to play for UM as a true freshman since 2003.
“I don’t think anyone was necessarily mad at me,” said Anderson. “Definitely a lot of jokes cracked at me for being a grizzly.”
Anderson averaged 3.3 points per game for UM during the 2019-20 season, and he made 57% of his shots. Anderson said he expects to step into a bigger role on the team in 2020 after senior forwards Jared Samuelson and Sayeed Pridgett depart.
Brown was a Class AA first-team all-state quarterback for Bozeman High in 2018, but he did not receive an offer from MSU. He redshirted for UM during the 2010-20 season.
Brown isn’t the only Bozeman High graduate to play football for the Griz. His teammate Ryan Simpson did the same. Simpson graduated in the same class as Anderson, and the two have been friends throughout their journey to Missoula.
“It really comes down to the way that UM recruits. It’s a place as a football player that you want to go to,” said Brown about Missoula.
Asher Croy, who won a state championship with Bozeman High in 2019, also committed to play football for UM in the fall.
Both Brown and Anderson are back in Bozeman preparing for the 2020 season in their respective sports. No announcement has been made regarding when practices will resume at UM.