OSHKOSH, Wis. (NBC 26) — If you take a peek at the UW-Oshkosh basketball roster, you're sure to see plenty of names - and towns - you recognize.
More than half of the Titans' roster hails from northeastern Wisconsin. In other words: UWO is a homegrown national powerhouse.
“The Fox Valley is truly one of the best regions in the state for basketball," Titans head coach Matt Lewis said. "If you go to a high school game you’re going to see Oshkosh there (recruiting), likely. But you’re going to see a lot of other colleges there, too.
"People want kids from this area," Lewis said. "They’re incredibly well-coached. A lot of them have one a lot. So our recruiting base is we’ve got to get the best kids in this area and keep them home.”
Fittingly, the two leading scorers on this Titans team are from right up the road. Big man Levi Borchert is a Kimberly native and point guard Hunter Plamann led Xavier to a WIAA state title in 2017.
Even though they grew up in neighboring cities, the two didn't know each other until they arrived at Oshkosh.
“I mean I knew of Levi, but we never really had a relationship in high school at all,” Plamann said.
“I knew of Hunter but we didn’t really talk,” Borchert added.
Now, they're the top two players on one of the nation's best Division III basketball teams. And the relationship goes beyond basketball. Plamann said the two spend time together off the court, including playing the video game "Fortnite" together.
PLAMANN'S PATH BACK HOME
Borchert was a senior at Kimberly when Oshkosh won the DIII national championship in 2019. Plamann, meanwhile, was a college freshman at Minnesota-Duluth.
A few years later he decided to transfer, and home was calling.
“(Oshkosh's location) played a big role just with the local support and being close to home and my family," Plamann said. "It’s definitely a huge part because it’s more fun to play in front of people that you know and people that care about you."
The transition, Lewis said, was seamless.
“As soon as he said 'yes,' it felt like he had been here," Lewis added. "And I think that just speaks to the type of kid he is. (He and Borchert are) both incredibly selfless and they just do whatever we ask. And a lot of things beyond what we ask.”
“We’re fortunate we have had those guys for several years and I’m thankful we have them for a few more weeks," Lewis said. Hopefully we can earn more. But those two guys are phenomenal.”
FINISHING ON A HIGH NOTE
Both players are two-time All-WIAC selections, and Borchert was the conference player of the year last season.
But with their careers winding down, more individual accolades aren't the focus.
“I feel like one big goal is a conference championship, obviously," Borchert said. "That would get us an automatic bid into the the national tournament. Every team’s goal is a national championship.”
“I would say mine would just be to give it my all and try to get as many people as we can to just do our best every day," Plamann added, citing the team's "day-by-day" approach.
Halfway through the conference season, Oshkosh is 7-1 in WIAC play and currently holds a one-game lead over UW-La Crosse.
The Titans hit the road to take on UW-Stout this weekend before returning home to play Platteville on Wednesday, January 25.