Sam Dekker's parents say Badgers Final Four berth is "pretty surreal"
SHEBOYGAN (WITI) -- Sam Dekker is a standout Badgers sophomore forward who burst onto the scene as a freshman last season like few Wisconsin players have. Dekker is one of four true freshman to start a game under Bo Ryan. This season, Dekker was named to the preseason watch lists for both the Wooden and Naismith "Player of the Year" awards -- and he's leading the team through the NCAA Tournament.
Just two years ago, Dekker hit the buzzer-beating three-point shot -- giving Sheboygan Lutheran the Division 5 high school basketball championship.
"It's pretty surreal -- that whole state game -- that whole experience. As a mom, that was my favorite moment to watch him play basketball," Dekker's mother, Carol Dekker said.
Carol Dekker says her "favorite moment" watching her son could change after this weekend's Final Four game.
"We used to watch the Final Four together. I would be like 'Sam maybe someday you'll be on there.' Never really thought it would happen but here it is. It's happening. It's a dream come true," Carol Dekker said.
It's a dream come true for Dekker's father as well.
Todd Dekker pictures the title-winning bucket in 2012 like it was yesterday. He was the Crusaders head coach and retired after that championship season.
Now, watching Dekker's success with the Badgers, Todd Dekker says he's full of pride.
"Being a parent and seeing that happen and all the hard work and all the ups and downs -- and as a coach, to see him get to the next level -- it's kinda double icing on the cake. It's just been a thrill for us and the whole family. It's been a nice ride," Todd Dekker said.
The pride and excitement extends beyond the Dekker family.
"This is a big deal for Sheboygan and for the entire state and to have a small town boy playing for the state college that's going to the Final Four is a pretty special thing. It's pretty surreal," Carol Dekker said.
Sam has transitioned from a small town champion to a national contender -- and that's something the Dekkers can brag about.
"It's been pretty storybook from the state game to where he's at now. Well deserved with how he worked. The people here have been so supportive. His high school is so excited. It's been mind boggling -- really a neat experience," Todd Dekker said.
It is an experience the whole state hopes continues into the championship game.
The Badgers face the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, April 5th at 7:49 p.m.