Three of a kind
Area hoops players enjoying time at Michigan Tech
By Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – When the Michigan Tech men’s basketball team played Green Bay on Nov. 3, it was a homecoming for three area athletes.
Sophomores Logan Geissler and Dawson Nordgaard along with freshman Marcus Tomashek got to play in front of dozens of family and friends.
It’s a great experience for Michigan Tech, which is a Division II program, to play against a Division I-caliber opponent. The Huskies kept it a close game, falling 72-66 in an exhibition game at the Kress Center.
“You spend so much time far away from home, it’s really good to come back down and see some familiar faces — some friends and family,” said Nordgaard, who graduated from West De Pere in 2021.
“It was a good exhibition game playing against an athletic team,” said Tomashek, a 2022 Ashwaubenon graduate. “It’s going to set us up well for our league.”
This game wasn’t just any game for Nordgaard and Tomashek, it was their first collegiate contest.
Nordgaard redshirted his first season, but Tomashek stepped right in at the next level just seven months removed from playing in high school.
“Got the jitters out a little bit, so it feels good,” Tomashek said.
Geissler — a sophomore who is in his third season due to the NCAA granting athletes another season due to COVID — got some extended time on the court in Green Bay. The 2020 Bay Port graduate averaged 1.4 points per game last season.
“I would say my forte is defense,” Geissler said. “I was recruited here for my defensive ability. I would say take shots when they’re open for sure, though.”
Even though Geissler is a defensive stopper, he knows he’ll need to chip in a little more scoring off the bench this year along with the role of being a leader.
“It’s my third year, so I think just bringing some vocal leadership,” said Geissler, who averaged 14.5 points per game as a high school senior. “We’ve got a lot of young guys and I feel like I know the system as well as anybody, so just bringing that vocal leadership to them.”
Geissler, a point guard, played in just 11 games last season. He’s looking forward to more opportunities this year.
“Like I said, the seniors left, so just filling that role,” Geissler said. “We’re a young team, so I’m just really excited to grow with this team and see how we pan out this year.”
Geissler feels like playing Division II basketball is a good fit for him.
“I would say it suits me really well,” Geissler said. “Michigan Tech, we’re just a really fundamental, gritty team and I feel that suits my play style very well.”
Nordgaard, a late bloomer on the court, had a breakout senior season at West De Pere, averaging 16 points and seven rebounds a game.
He had a productive year redshirting as a freshman at Michigan Tech and earned the Bob Olson Award for outstanding newcomer.
Nordgaard, who is the tallest player on the Huskies roster at 6-foot-10, felt comfortable getting into his first collegiate game.
“They’re a lot bigger, stronger, more athletic, but once I got in there, it just felt normal,” Nordgaard said.
He enjoyed having about 20 family and friends at the Green Bay game.
“My parents were always really great fans of me, so it’s good to have them there,” Nordgaard said.
Early in the regular season, Nordgaard played in two of his team’s first three games, averaging two points and two rebounds per game in just six minutes on the court.
Nordgaard — whose dad, Jeff, played at Green Bay before a lengthy professional career — is progressing every time he hits the court.
“I would say I’ve improved a lot just from high school to college,” said Nordgaard, who seeks advice from his dad after games. “That’s going to be what happens with anyone when you go up to the next level.”
Coming off the bench at center, Nordgaard wants to make an impact when he’s on the court. He’s hoping he can chip in some points on a regular basis.
“They’re always telling me to be aggressive offensively, post up all that stuff,” Nordgaard said. “But I think personally, right now at least, my strength lies more defensively.”
Tomashek made a seemingly smooth transition from the high school game to college.
The Fox River Classic Conference player of the year as a senior and two-time All-State recipient put up 24 points per game as a senior at Ashwaubenon.
Tomashek started at point guard in his first collegiate game and scored a team-high 21 points in the loss to Green Bay.
That first game provided some valuable lessons for Tomashek.
“I learned as a player, as myself, I need to compete a lot harder,” Tomashek said. “They play a lot harder to be able to compete on this level.”
Another Ashwaubenon product, Kyle Monroe, is with the Michigan Tech program. Monroe is now an assistant coach after a phenomenal career with the Huskies from 2016-20. He holds the school record for most career points (2,542) as well as the record for most 20-plus-point games (65).
Tomashek said he’s gotten to know Monroe, who has helped him with the transition to the college game.
In his first three regular-season college games (as of Nov. 21), Tomashek is averaging 10.3 points per game, which is third on the team, and 3.3 rebounds.
At Ashwaubenon, Tomashek was the go-to scorer. He doesn’t feel like he needs to fit that role this season at Michigan Tech.
“Not at all,” he said. “I think this is a well-rounded scoring team. Our coach said before the game it’s going to be different guys every game, so I think that it will be.”
Playing well against a Division I didn’t really sway Tomashek’s opinion that he could have played college basketball at the top level.
“That doesn’t really matter to me,” Tomashek said. “I found a place I like, and I’m hoping to be successful here.”
Tomashek is excited to be playing at Michigan Tech.
“I love the culture here,” Tomashek said. “The team just works very well together. It’s a great program to be a part of.”