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St. Cloud State guard inherited a passion for basketball from his pioneering mom

By Adam Heede-Andersen as told to Brian Burnsed

Susie Heede-Andersen taught her son love and respect for family and basketball. FIBA photo

My mom played in the Danish women’s league for a long time and won championships there. My parents never forced me to play, never pushed me in that direction — our policy in the family is that we don’t like to coach our own kids because it creates a difficult dynamic.

They’ve always been really supportive, and they’ve always said if this is what you want to do, we’ll support you 100 percent. But it’s never involved making me do intense workouts or putting me through drills from an early age. That really preserved my love of the game. I’m very thankful they did it that way.

Adam Heede-Andersen. St. Cloud State University photo

In May, my mom accepted the position to be head coach of Værløse Basketball Klub, a men’s team that plays in the best Danish league. When the news came out, it was kind of a big deal — she’s the first woman in any sport in Denmark to coach a men’s team at the highest level. She was on the radio nationwide. We have two major news channels in Denmark, and she was on both of them talking about it.

She was worried about accepting the job because she knew she might end up coaching my friends that I’d grown up with and that people might be saying nasty things online — things that you can’t really control. I thought she should go for it from the start. I never had any doubts or any worries.

I’m most likely not going to make a lot of money playing basketball, but I do want to use it as a tool to travel after college and try to see if I can play a couple of places in Europe. That would be my first option if that was available. I probably wouldn’t go home and play for my mom.

Our family’s relationship around basketball is very relaxed, and I think that’s the most important thing. We don’t push each other; we respect each other. We just let our love of the game drive what we do.

Adam Heede-Andersen is a senior guard for St. Cloud State. In May, his mother, Susie Heede-Andersen, was named head coach of Denmark’s Værløse Basketball Klub, which plays in the country’s top men’s professional league.

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Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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