NEENAH — The last time NBC 26 caught up with Neenah high school basketball guard Cal Klesmit, his team was coming off a state title. Clesmit was out all last year with a torn ACL, but head coach Lee Rabas put him in the game to run out the clock in their championship victory. He was then offered to play for UW-Green Bay.
Fast forward five months later, Klesmit has decided to stay home and play for the Phoenix after his upcoming senior year.
“When I visited them last week I just really fell in love with the place as they toured me,” Cal Klesmit said. "It’s just a great place with great people. Their coaching staff is great. I can’t just wait to get there, get to work and see what happened.”
After all, who doesn’t want to go play for the school they love?
“It’s awesome,” Klesmit said. “I’ve been going to their games since I was a little kid. Getting to stay home, playing in front of the people you love and playing for the school you love and wearing Green Bay across your chest – I can’t wait for that.”
For the Neenah guard, it was about the relationships he built with the UWGB head coach Will Ryan and the rest of the Phoenix staff. They offered him even though he didn’t technically play a game his junior year with that torn ACL.
“Throughout the whole process I just feel like they were really there for me and it was genuine,” he said. “It was person to person, not really as a basketball recruit, even though they wanted me to get there. But they really just liked me as a person and I just felt like that was really a big thing for me.”
Klesmit’s brother Max, just transferred from Wofford to play for the Wisconsin Badgers this season. With Cal’s commitment to UW-Green Bay, the two brothers have made their Division One dreams come true.
“My mom was always talking about, you guys could play together,” Klesmit said. “I was like, ‘why don’t we just play against each other, if I go to Green Bay we could play against each other.”
But without his brother’s help Cal says he wouldn’t be where he is today.
“He’s like my best friend off the court and then on the court, I don’t think I’ve ever liked him when I’ve played him. It’s just a good in-between there, but he's helped me a lot. I would not be the basketball player I am today without him. He’s just really made me the person I am today and the basketball player I am today,” Klesmit said.