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How Max Weisbrod went from tagging along with his dad to practice to leading DeForest boys basketball

How Max Weisbrod went from tagging along with his dad to practice to leading DeForest boys basketball

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Calling DeForest point guard Max Weisbrod a gym rat may not be entirely accurate.

Gym resident may be more appropriate.

The senior has grown up on a basketball court. And whenever Weisbrod wants to shoot hoops, his father Craig Weisbrod is at the ready.

Craig has been the boys basketball coach and physical education teacher at DeForest High School for 22 years. When Craig had practices to oversee, he’d sometimes bring baby Max to the gym and keep the youngster in a bouncer seat.

But Craig is now the one tagging along for gym time.

“We have access to gyms whenever,” Craig said. “I’ll never say no.

“You’ll learn there will be times like at 9:30 at night when I’m pretty tired and sleeping on the couch, and Max will say 'Dad, let’s go.'”

All those hours tagging along with his dad, and later impromptu late-night trips to the gym, have paid off for Max Weisbrod with postseason success and a college roster spot in his future.

He's now a 6-foot-3 standout that led DeForest to a 16-6 record last year and the program's second WIAA state tournament appearance.

Weisbrod played one of the best games of his high school career during the 77-69 sectional final win against Arrowhead that clinched the state berth.

He helped rally DeForest from a 10-point second-half deficit with 27 second-half points and made all 14 of his free throws. Weisbrod finished with 33 points overall.

A first-team player on the Wisconsin State Journal’s 2020-21 All-Area boys basketball team, he averaged 18.2 points, five rebounds and eight assists per game as a junior.

The Norskies, who had bumped up from Division 2 to Division 1, won eight straight games en route to a playoff slot and lost to top-ranked Kimberly in the state semifinals in Oshkosh.

The first-team selection for the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 2 All-State team made his collegiate basketball decision in August with the announcement that he’ll play for Northern Michigan University. The NCAA Division II program is located in Marquette, Michigan.

“It’s a big relief to know where I’m going and where I’ll be playing,” Max Weisbrod said.

“I feel like I don’t have to stress about that during the season and I can really focus on DeForest basketball.”

Weisbrod is a co-captain — along with seniors Nolan Hawk and Deven Magli, a North Dakota football recruit — for DeForest, which returns four starters. Weisbrod, Hawk and Magli have played basketball together since third grade, and football together throughout high school.

The trio helped the Norskies football team to a 9-2 record and a trip to Level 2 of the WIAA playoffs. All three play receiver. Weisbrod recorded 32 catches for 478 yards and eight touchdowns, all team-highs, and recorded three interceptions and 17 tackles from his safety spot. Hawk had 17 grabs for 181 yards and three TDs and had 20 tackles as a defensive lineman. And Magli posted seven catches for 142 yards and three TDs, picked off three passes, returned two for touchdowns and returned a punt for a score.

Last year on the hardwood, the three were the top three scorers for the Norskies, led by Weisbrod. Hawk averaged 12.1 points (with 11 3-pointers) and 5.7 rebounds, and Magli averaged 9.7 and 4.8.

The Weisbrod home has become a gathering place for Max’s teammates. There’s a half court in the back, where a patio would typically be, and a swimming pool.

Craig Weisbrod said he’s enjoyed watching many players grow up. The encouragement they’ve given each other has been valuable.

“The underlying theme with all those boys is that they’re real competitive, and that spilled over into how hard they work and how hard they train and the success that they’ve had in sports,” he said.

The elder Weisbrod said Max improved this past summer traveling and competing with the Wisconsin Swing basketball club.

Besides competing in club hoops in the offseason, Max Weisbrod spent more time conditioning in the weight room to improve strength.

A strong perimeter shooter who shot 42.6% (52 of 122) from 3-point range last season, he also focused on ball handling.

“My 3-point shot is probably my biggest strength and I’m just trying to find more ways to get more shots up and separate,” said Weisbrod, who’s played on DeForest’s varsity team since he was a freshman.

The Weisbrod clan, including Craig, stepmother Tamara and middle-school siblings Sam and Luci, and Max’s mother Tara Frana, has always been a strong network with Max’s basketball pursuits.

The life and basketball lessons that Max has learned from his father are to work hard and never take anything for granted.

Max said it’s tough not to look too far ahead with the basketball season, but since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on prep sports he does have Madison on his mind.

The WIAA boys state basketball tournament will be held March 17-19 at the Kohl Center.

“Having my dad as a coach has been a blast,” Weisbrod said. “We just talk basketball a lot, we can bounce ideas off of each other.

“At the end of the day, we’re both just trying to make it to the Kohl Center.”



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