Brandon Eley has one of the most decorated careers in the history of Colo-NESCO boys’ basketball.
Eley is the son of Dwight and Kristi Eley, who currently reside in Montezuma. He has one older brother, Chandler, and younger sister Madison Neundorf.
Eley played basketball for Colo-NESCO from 2008-2011. He was a three-time all-Heart of Iowa Conference pick and two-time first-team all-state selection in Class 1A.
During his time at Colo-NESCO Eley also played football and baseball and ran track. After high school Eley attended AIB, where he majored in business administration and leadership and played basketball from 2011-2015.
At AIB Eley was a four-time all-conference pick and was named third-team All-American as a senior. The school was bought out by the University of Iowa in 2016 and the athletic programs were terminated.
While he was at AIB Eley met his wife Alexyss. They are expecting their first child in October.
Eley also was an assistant coach for the Colo-NESCO boys’ basketball team under Pat Wynja from 2016-2018.
Eley decided to discuss his basketball career, how he felt to compete in the final year of athletics at AIB and what he’s been up to since graduating with the Nevada Journal.
Questions are in bold and are followed by Eley’s responses
What’s life been like since graduating from AIB?
Life has been good, I’ve been a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual for almost five years now. I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Alexyss since October of 2017. We currently live in Huxley where we have been since 2015.
How exciting is it to be expecting your first child in October?
Words can’t describe how excited we both are for the newest addition to the Eley family. October can’t get here soon enough!
Do you miss coaching basketball?
There are times I do miss coaching and being around the players but it’s been nice having winters off from basketball. I haven’t had that since around third grade! I still get my fix of basketball though as my wife is the freshman girls’ bball coach at Ames High.
What was it like coaching under Pat?
It was great, I really learned a lot not only playing under him but then also coaching with him. I felt our styles really gelled nicely together. We had a lot of fun in our three or four years together.
How about playing under him?
It was really cool to see him as my coach and then to see him as coach to coach. He definitely has a lot of passion for the game and wants to make other coaches and players better which is what you want.
Any funny stories during your coaching time?
Pat was a big talker, we would scrimmage the varsity from time to time and he was constantly running his mouth and joking around with the players. We would always beat them and he would let them know it.
What position did you play at AIB?
I played basically one through four depending on our lineups. But I was typically at shooting guard.
How did it feel to achieve so much success there?
Individual success was great, but deep down I love winning. It was a challenge being a brand new program and we struggled in the early years only winning around four games total. Luckily my senior year we figured it out and put together a winning season and fell a game short of making it to the tourney. Those years were some trying times learning about success and failure - definitely made me a better and stronger person.
Were you upset to see AIB terminated in 2016?
Of course, I felt like we had just turned the corner with basketball in 2015 and had the program headed in the right direction. Not only us, but the baseball team had just won conference in their second year and also women’s soccer won conference in their third or fourth year.
What are your favorite memories of playing at AIB?
First off, was meeting my wife, Alexyss who played on the women’s basketball team. But also the lifelong friendships you make. These people really become like family as you are with them for so much of that time. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
How did playing sports year round help prepare you for college ball?
It helped me keep in shape but also other sports like baseball, football, and track helped me become a better basketball player. You learn from other coaches and do different workouts to help in every sport, not just one.
When the Colo-NESCO baseball team was low in numbers your senior year you joined the team late. How rewarding was it to help the team out?
Baseball was always my second favorite sport so it was very rewarding going back out there with a lot of my friends enjoying the last little bit of high school I had left. Definitely a decision I won’t regret!
What did you enjoy most about playing basketball at Colo-NESCO?
I enjoyed being part of my family legacy. My dad was a great player in the 80s for NESCO, I believe he went to state multiple times and was runner up in 1984. My brother, Chandler, was an all state player in 2008, and my sister, Madison, made it to state her senior year in 2013.
What is your favorite memory of playing for the Royals?
There are a lot of good memories but it would have to be playing alongside your childhood friends and always being around them on and off the court.
How rewarding is it for you to have influenced the current senior class of boys’ basketball players at Colo-NESCO during your time as an assistant coach?
I hoped they learned a lot and I wished I would’ve gotten the chance to continue coaching them to see them through. But I followed along and attended a few games of theirs to show my support. Jack (McKinney), Francis (Bower), Brighton (Clatt), and Luke (Hill) are great young men and will go on to do big things. I’m excited to watch them grow as they move on to their next adventure!
How bad do you feel for them having to go through all they have with COVID-19 cancelling everything?
It’s obviously not something anyone saw coming, so for this to happen to such a great group of kids is what hurts the most. I know they are hurting, but hopefully they will still be able to play baseball and softball. Regardless of what the outcome is, everything happens for a reason. This is only testing them and how they respond will be something they’ll never forget.
What advice would you give the current seniors heading out into college and the real world in these uncertain times?
Just to enjoy themselves. Your college years will be the greatest and fastest years of your lives.