Last week 2015 point guard Nick Noskowiak picked up a scholarship offer from Marquette. Tuesday evening Buzz Williams and lead recruiter Brad Autry picked up a commitment from the 6-foot-3 sophomore. And soon enough, Noskowiak’s family will be picking up Golden Eagle attire to replace their Wisconsin Badger gear.
For Noskowiak, the floor general for the Sun Prairie (Wis.) Cardinals and Wisconsin Playground Warriors, the last month has been nothing short of a dream come true that he never realistically thought was possible.
“It’s kind of unreal, to be honest. It feels like a dream to me. I worked my butt off and I’ve been dreaming about this kind of stuff—playing in the NCAA Tournament—but I know I deserve it. But it still kind of feels like a dream.”
Noskowiak’s family has just about every Wisconsin tie possible: Almost all his relatives resides in Green Bay; both his parents, Kevin and Julie, attended St. Norbert College in De Pere; his sister, Stephanie, graduated from Whitewater University and his older brother, Jordan, was the lone traveler, playing tight end eight hours away for Division II Bemidji State in Minnesota.
But while his brother excelled on the gridiron, Nick realized at an early age his calling was on the hardwood. He had a basketball in his hands from the time he was a little kid, and he first played organized ball as a first grader playing with third graders.
Playing for Green Bay had always interested Noskowiak—right in the backyard to his relatives and his parents’ alma mater—but a successful sophomore season at Sun Prairie and a more impressive run on the AAU circuit saw those offers improve. His first offer came from Rob Jeter and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and before he made his decision Creighton, Iowa State and Northern Iowa had all inquired.
But when Marquette came calling during his sophomore season—specifically Williams and Chew—it was an eye-opener to Noskowiak on just how hard his hard work had taken him. It peaked earlier this month when he dominated at the Adidas Exclusive Run in Dallas. In attendance was Williams, who watched him four times one day over the weekend and, soon thereafter, extended the offer and an unofficial visit.
Noskowiak jumped on the opportunity, but he didn’t think he was all that close to a decision. He went through the processes of a standard visit, meeting with academic advisors, coaches and players, touring the campus, weight room and practice facilities. He even got in a 5-on-5 run with the current team.
“I had no idea,” Noskowiak said of how much he enjoyed the campus. “Before the visit, if you told me I was going to commit after I would have said you were crazy. But I just kind of fell in love with it, I knew the time was right and I felt good really good.
“I never second-guessed it. When you know, you know.”
That, combined with his proximity to home—Noskowiak’s father has never missed a game and his mother is close behind—led him to make a decision, two years before he’ll actually step on campus. He will be just one hour away and his relative—decked out in their Marquette gear—will get a chance to see him play.
Who they’ll see playing is a self-described player who says he: “Gives it my all every game. I’m not cocky, I’m just confident in my abilities. I’m really tough and I don’t take any crap from anyone. I can get to the line and hit a couple free throws at most important part of the game…I’ve been working on my shot since I was a little kid, I’m shooting constantly, getting shots up every day and working on quickness, and handle.
“What I really try to do is outwork and outhustle people, and I think my heart is what sets me apart compared to a lot of other players.”
That last part should sound like the perfect player Williams is looking for to one day lead the offense. Like Dominic James, Junior Cadougan and Derrick Wilson before him,
“My first impression of Buzz was it’s about so much more than basketball,” he said. “He’s a father figure to a lot of these guys, and he’s such a good guy, such a forthcoming, straightforward guy who will tell you the truth.”
The in-state run on prospects continues with the addition of Noskowiak, but unlike the 2013 prospects in front of him—Duane Wilson, Deonte Burton and Jameel McKay—he’s not from Milwaukee. And just as he never thought he’d see his parents switch from Badger red to Marquette blue and gold, his commitment to Marquette also makes real what was once something he only dreampt of.
“It’s really just a huge dream, and it was agoal of mine ever since I was young,” he said, “and I’ve pretty much been working on it ever since.”