(WFRV) – It would be hard to find someone with more heart on the court for the game of basketball than Neenah’s Cal Klesmit.
A year and a half removed from an ACL injury and a full year taken away from him on the hardwood, Klesmit cherishes the game of basketball – and even life – in a different eye.
During the summer of 2021, Klesmit suffered a torn ACL and missed a crucial part of his high school basketball career – his junior season. Not only did he miss a season, it was the season of destiny for the Neenah Rockets. They went on to win the State Championship a year ago with a 29-1 record.
Although Klesmit was sidelined throughout the season, he was very much a big part of their championship run just as if he was suiting up each game. Klesmit took on the player/coach role from the bench and got to see the game through a different lens.
During the D1 state championship game versus Brookfield Central, Rockets’ head coach Lee Rabas did something that was beyond special to him and the team. In the final minutes of the game, with Neenah securing the win, Rabas put in Klesmit to close out the school’s first state title since 1978.
It’s a moment that gets Rabas and Klesmit choked up to this day thinking back.
As Klesmit is fully healthy this season, the senior is a critical part of the team’s success. Although the Rockets currently sit in third place in the FVA – Klesmit is averaging 19 points per game.
In Cal’s second game back this season from the ACL injury, Klesmit tied his brother Max’s single-game scoring record at Neenah with 45 points against Appleton East.
With the regular season winding down, Klesmit wants to get back to the Kohl Center as bad as he wants to breathe, to try and compete for another gold ball this season. Whenever the season wraps up, Klesmit will look forward to try and change the culture at UW-Green Bay as he committed and signed to the Phoenix Men’s Basketball Program.
It’s a challenge he is ready for.
To watch Local 5 Sports Reporter Kyle Malzhan’s one-on-one interview with Neenah’s Cal Klesmit, click the video above.