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Turning Hoop Dreams into Reality: Ozaukee County

Ozaukee County’s Josh Gasser became a star for the Badger basketball team.

August 03, 2017
Josh Gasser dribbles

Wisconsin Badgers XXXX during an NCAA college basketball game against the Indiana Hoosiers Tuesday, February 3, 2015, in Madison, Wis. The Badgers won 92-78. (Photo by David Stluka)

His former Badger teammates called him Captain America. Fans of the Wisconsin men’s basketball team considered him the undisputed leader of the squad. And those in his hometown of Port Washington and throughout Ozaukee County know him simply as Mr. Basketball.

Josh Gasser ’15 graduated from UW–Madison in 2015 with a business degree. That was very appropriate because on the court he was all business — diving for loose balls, playing lock-down defense, and making clutch shots.

That hard-nosed work ethic was evident early on while leading the Pirates of Port Washington. As a senior, Gasser averaged 23.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game, and he was named the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year and an Associated Press first-team all-state selection. To this day, he remains Port’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and he holds the free-throw percentage record.

It was at the UW, though, where he made a name for himself — actually, a couple of them (see above).

“Not a lot of people from Port have ever gone on to play college basketball, so I had to fight my way to get here,” said Gasser. And even though he earned a scholarship to the UW, he recalls that “no one really thought I could make it. But I just worked my tail off, just did whatever people asked me to do.”

“No one really thought I could make it. But I just worked my tail off, just did whatever people asked me to do.”

It’s safe to say he did that and more because he was a key member of back-to-back Final Four teams and holds the UW men’s basketball record for the most career starts at 133.

“I was able to achieve a lot and have unforgettable memories that will last forever,” Gasser said. “Just to be able to help my team and play well, that’s something I’m really proud of.”

Following his time in Madison, Gasser spent a season overseas playing for the German club Lowen Braunschweig, but now, with injuries starting to mount, Gasser is looking for new ways to stay involved in basketball while also giving back to his community.

To that end, he’s started working with his former AAU team, the Wisconsin Swing, and hosting basketball skill clinics that emphasize individual skills.

“It’s fun working with kids who love basketball and want to get better,” Gasser said.

Thank you, Ozaukee County, for Josh Gasser and his will to succeed. His heart, passion, and perseverance embody what it means to be a student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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