Don Brkovich was a basketball forward who played for W. D. Lowe High School, Michigan State University, and New Mexico State University. He memorably won the Big Ten Conference and NCAA Basketball Championships in 1978 with Michigan State. He and his brother Mike were the second set of brothers in history to play on an NCAA Championship team.
Brkovich was born in Windsor on June 24, 1959.
At W. D. Lowe High School, Brkovich teamed up with his brother Mike to lead their team to two consecutive “AAA” Ontario high school championships (1976 and ’77) under coach Gerry Brumpton, a WECSHOF inductee himself. In 1977, Don set a scoring record for the prestigious University of Windsor Christmas Invitational while dominating the future NBA star Leo Autins.
In 1978, Brkovich followed his brother to Michigan State University on a full-ride basketball scholarship. There, he would play for Jud Heathcote, another renowned coach. As a freshman, he was a member of the Spartans’ Big Ten Championship and NCAA Championship teams. Brkovich played in three of Michigan State’s five NCAA games, including the semifinal against Penn. The Spartans defeated Larry Bird’s Indiana State team in the 1979 NCAA Final. At the time of Brkovich’s induction, it was still the most watched basketball game – college or professional – in history.
Three of his teammates would go on to lengthy NBA careers: Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Greg Kelser, and Jay Vincent.
After his sophomore season at Michigan State, Brkovich transferred to the University of New Mexico. He was a starting forward during both of his seasons with the Lobos. As a junior, he was the team’s second leading scorer and the 12th leading scorer in the Western Athletic Conference. He managed 12.0 points per game in an era with no shot clock or three-point arc. Known for his long-range shooting, Brkovich quickly became a crowd favourite. He scored in double figures in 19 out of 27 games, including 26 points in the season finale against Brigham Young. For his career as a Lobo, Brkovich shot 50% from the field, averaged 9.7 points per game, and scored 541 total points.