(WFRV) – It’s been quite the basketball journey for Blake Marquardt since graduating from Oshkosh North in 2015.

From playing college basketball to hooping over seas, Marquardt has never stopped believing in his own ability on the court.

“I’ve been through a lot the last four months. I was all packed up and ready to go to Europe. I was determined to keep playing”, Marquardt explained.

Last October, Marquardt made the Wisconsin Herd’s training camp roster as an open try-out, but unfortunately didn’t make the initial roster. While most may have been discouraged, Marquardt took it as fuel and it was advice from his college coach that kept his head high.

“My college coach always said ‘It’s a lot easier to stay ready than to get ready'”, Marquardt said.

So that’s what he did.

Blake stayed ready and it was a phone call earlier this month that made it all worth it. The Wisconsin Herd had a roster spot waiting for him.

“When I got that call to meet them in Orlando, it was very exciting. A lot of relief off my shoulders because I was waiting out, but I knew I was built for it and I’m ready”, Marquardt told Local 5.

“Blake’s just a great guy and a great human being”, the Herd’s head coach Chaisson Allen said. “He’s got talent on the floor and the funny thing about him is that he’s been in our open tryouts for three years now and he’s just determined to make this roster and eventually he did. I’m glad we have him.”

This is the first time since wearing Oshkosh North across his chest that he’s been back home playing competitive basketball. Having family and friends behind him while he competes in the NBA G League has meant a lot to Blake.

“I’ve been gone for so long the last three years. They’ve never gotten a chance to come see me play overseas. I played during COVID so that was a barrier”, Marquardt said. “It’s exciting. It kind of makes me more comfortable in a way knowing that they’re here. They’re loving what I’m doing. It’s a great feeling.”

The Herd’s season is coming to a close with one final game left on their schedule. Wisconsin will face Capital City Go-Go in Washington DC on Thursday, March 23 at 6:00 p.m.