High School Sports


Midland Roundtable AOY: Billings West big man Braden Zimmer heavy on grocery bill

Braden Zimmer AOY.png
Posted at 2:24 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 17:00:15-04

(Editor's note: MTN Sports is featuring a Midland Roundtable Athlete of the Year finalist nightly leading into this year's awards banquet Wednesday, May 15, at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. Ten graduating seniors (five boys, five girls) in the Billings area are nominated annually by coaches and activities directors before Roundtable members, a group of longtime sports enthusiasts in Billings, vote on one male and one female winner. In rare instances, the award has been shared.)

BILLINGS — Braden Zimmer recalls always being one of the tallest kids his age. And that certainly hasn’t changed.

“(I) haven’t been measured in a while, but 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8 … somewhere in there,” is where the Billings West big man estimates his current height.

Who knows if he’s done growing. But Zimmer's ’s size and notable skill set appealed to multiple NCAA Division I schools before he ultimately signed with Montana State to play football. His parents are thrilled they won’t have to drive far to watch him, but Zimmer says they didn’t drive his decision one way or another.

“They wanted me to do whatever I wanted to do to be happy, and I wanted to get out of Billings but not too far,” said the soft-spoken senior.

Not only is Zimmer a Class AA all-state football selection, but he matched it in basketball. In fact, he was selected to Montana’s roster for next month’s Midland Roundtable All-Star series with Wyoming, but he’ll instead play in the Shrine All-Star football game, which happens to fall on the same weekend.

That certainly doesn’t mean he didn’t love throwing his size around on the court. In particular, "just being able to dominate them and be one of the biggest leaders in how our team did at the tournaments," he said.

Zimmer and the Bears won this year’s Eastern AA divisional tournament before placing third at state.

But now he’s on the college football path and will no doubt have to gain weight — meaning a kid has to eat — which begs the question, how much does he run up his parents' grocery bill?

“They complain about it a lot more than it is, but it’s still pretty high,” he admitted with a laugh.

At least that meal tab falls on the Bobcats starting a couple months from now.

Midland Roundtable Athlete of the Year

2024 Female finalists: Kourtney Grossman (West), Halle Haber (West), Torie Jamieson (Senior), Piper Jette (Senior), Breanna Williams (Skyview).

2024 Male finalists: Maclain Burckley (Senior), Tyce Casterline (Lockwood), Keyan Hernandez (West), Kyler Northrop (Central), Braden Zimmer (West).