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'Blessed' to be here: Waupun family enjoying son's 'March Madness' run

In the first round, Waupun native Marcus Domask posted just the tenth triple double in NCAA Tournament history. Now, he leads Illinois into its first Sweet 16 since 2005.
Posted at 6:03 PM, Mar 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-28 19:03:44-04

BOSTON (NBC 26) — Marcus Domask is giving his family and his hometown the ride of a lifetime.

The Waupun native has helped key Illinois' first Sweet 16 appearance since 2005, posting a triple double in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament and scoring 22 points in round two.

  • With 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in Illinois' first-round win over Morehead State, Domask became just the eighth player in NCAA Tournament history to post a triple double. He joined the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and Draymond Green.
  • He scored 22 points in the Fighting Illini's victory over Duquesne in the second-round, helping push the school to its first Sweet 16 since 2005.
  • Domask played for his father, Dan, at Waupun High School. He won a WIAA state championship as a freshman in 2016 and was named Wisconsin's Mr. Basketball as a senior in 2019.
  • Domask spent his first four college seasons at Southern Illinois before transferring to Illinois for his fifth and final year.
  • He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection this season, averaging 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Marcus Domask has become a March Madness darling, and he knows where it all started.

"I give my dad a lot of credit," Domask said Wednesday, ahead of Illinois' Sweet 16 showdown with Iowa State. "My dad coached me ever since I was super young."

Marcus and his father, Dan, won a state title together at Waupun in 2016.

Right away, Dan could tell his youngest son had the "it factor."

"From an early age he showed me signs of his ability to understand the game at the next level," Dan Domask said.

He told a story of a game in which a teenaged Marcus started giving defensive instructions in the team huddle.

"He came up with some very simple and astute observations to solve the problem," Dan said. "Better than I could at that point."

"I just kind of said to my assistant, 'Yeah, he just kind of gets this game, doesn't he?'" Dan said, smiling.

Marcus is enjoying the final year of his college career on the biggest stage, and it seems no one is having more fun than his family.

"We're a basketball family and we value the situation that we're currently blessed to be in," Dan said.

Dan and company are in Boston for the Sweet 16. Meanwhile, many more are watching back home in Waupun.

"Our community hasn't had anybody that I'm aware of ever be a part of the NCAA Tournament," Dan said. "It's always cool when you know somebody. And they know somebody and they are embracing it as well."

With most even setting aside their allegiances to cheer him on.

"A lot of my friends they say that sometimes it burns their skin a little bit to put on the Illinois jersey," Dan laughed.

"Two of my family members are Wisconsin grads," he added. "We have a one year ban on any red in the house. But the (Wisconsin) red will reappear soon."

Illinois takes on Iowa State in the Sweet 16 Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:09 p.m. from T.D. Garden in Boston.

Back in the coaching game

After stepping away from the Waupun coaching job after Marcus graduated in 2019, Dan Domask is returning to high school coaching.

He recently accepted the head coaching job at Lomira, in Dodge County, and said he is excited to take over a program that is "ready to win."