Nicolet Bank Spotlight: Ashwaubenon's Wittig

Nicolet Bank Spotlight: Ashwaubenon's Wittig


Nicolet Bank Spotlight: Ashwaubenon's Wittig


Ashwaubenon senior Ben Wittig averaged 20.5 points per game to lead the Fox River Classic Conference this season.

Ashwaubenon senior Ben Wittig averaged 20.5 points per game to lead the Fox River Classic Conference this season.

Ben Wittig led the Fox River Classic Conference by averaging 20.5 points per game during the basketball season and earned first-team all-conference honors for his efforts.

The Ashwaubenon senior also continued what has become a family tradition in doing so.

Wittig joined his paternal grandfather, Bob, and father, Mike, in being named a first-team all-conference performer as a senior. His grandfather and father both accomplished the feat at Green Bay East in the old Fox River Valley Conference.

“It was pretty cool this year that I could be the third-generation Wittig to be first-team senior year in basketball,” said Wittig, who also averaged 5.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game this season for the Jaguars.

The 6-foot-2 guard has shined off the court as well, ranking third in his class with an unweighted 3.99 GPA. He is a member of student council and is the vice president of the National Honor Society at school.

Wittig discusses his basketball bloodlines, being a super fan for the football team and making the jump to track and field in this week’s Senior Spotlight.

Who do you feel is the all-time best basketball player in your family?

My dad would tell us stories that my grandpa would still dunk when he was like 35 playing in adult leagues. My dad was a super good shooter. But I think it would be close between all of us. It would be a battle because we’re all super competitive, too.

Did you ever get the opportunity to shoot hoops with your grandpa?

When we were younger he would play H-O-R-S-E and stuff with us. He would come over to my house and my dad, my brothers (Turner and Brady) and me would all play in the driveway. That was when I was real little.

Your paternal grandfather passed away last year. Did you do anything during the basketball season in remembrance of him?

I had “RIP Grandpa” on my basketball shoes and before every game I would always rub the tongues right before we did the (starting) lineups. It was like then he would know when to start watching.

You’re going to attend college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. What career are you planning to pursue?

I’m going to major in computer science and mathematics. There are jobs everywhere with computers, but I might get a graduate degree so I can teach high school still and maybe coach.

Did you pick Wisconsin to beat Villanova in your bracket this year?

No, but I had Villanova losing the next game to Virginia, which obviously wasn’t a good pick, either. I set it up so I could cheer for Wisconsin knowing it really wouldn’t be much of a loss for me.

What do you enjoy about computers?

It’s just really cool because when you’re programming stuff it’s like a giant logic puzzle. You have to try to make it all work together to get it to work. It’s really fun. I don’t see it as work. It’s more like fun.

Ashwaubenon senior Ben Wittig averaged 20.5 points per game this season to lead the Fox River Classic Conference this season.

Ashwaubenon senior Ben Wittig averaged 20.5 points per game this season to lead the Fox River Classic Conference this season.

What do you feel has been the key to your success as a student-athlete?

I really enjoy school. I love to learn, so I haven’t look at it as like a drag. It’s always been a fun opportunity to learn more stuff. This year during basketball season there have been some hard times because I’ve had a ton of AP classes. But it’s all about being balanced and disciplined to either study before practice or to study after.

Did you go into your senior season knowing you weren’t going to pursue playing college basketball?

I hadn’t made a decision yet. Halfway through the season when I got my acceptance letter from UW-Madison I was like this is where I want to be. I love the school down there. Turner is down there now because that’s where he goes. I love the campus. It’s a great school. You can’t really go wrong going to Madison. That’s where my dad graduated from, my mom graduated from, my grandpa graduated from and everyone in my family. My grandpa played basketball and did track there.

What stories did you hear about your grandfather’s time with the Badgers?

He played in the early 60s. His best game I believe was against Marquette. They upset Marquette and he had like 10 points in that game.

Do you know if your great grandfather was also a pretty good basketball player?

My great grandpa, Homer, played basketball and high jumped at (UW-Oshkosh). My middle name is Homer. I’m named after him. At Oshkosh, his name is on one of the walls with a plaque and we have like a replica one in our house.

Do you feel your younger brother, Brady, will ultimately become the best athlete among Turner and yourself?

He’s pretty big, like he’s tough. I’m pretty sure he’ll end up being the most talented and athletic brother. It’s always the youngest brother.

We’ve talked extensively about the athletic genes you’ve inherited from dad’s side of the family. Did your mom play any sports in high school?

She did hurdles in high school track. My mom overall has just been super supportive with sports and making sure she took me to all the tournaments and always making sure we were getting to where we needed to be.

Why did you decide to go out for track and field for the first time last year?

I wanted to do a spring sport because sports our fun in high school. … I got 5-10 last year in high jump, which I thought was pretty good for my first year of doing it. It’s really hard, but I’m a competitive person. Noah Steward, our other high jumper, got 6-4 last year, so it’s fun to compete with myself and to try to get to where Noah is at.

What’s one of your earliest sports memories?

I remember when my dad coached at Preble being a little kid and running around with all the big, varsity guys. They all seemed just gigantic. They were always super nice riding the buses with them. Being with the team is where I really fell in love with playing basketball. I was around it all the time when I was little.

What’s your most embarrassing sports memory?

Last year, our home-opener and my first ever varsity basketball game, we were playing Kaukauna here and the game is almost over. There is like 20 seconds left, and I tried to go out and guard Jordan McCabe because I was like, “I’m not going to give up and will keep playing until the buzzer.” Obviously, he’s insanely talented, so he crossed me and I went flying down like out of the baseline. Then, at Bay Port, Cordell (Tinch) dunked on me hard.

What’s your favorite sports memory?

Playing AAU, the first time I dunked in a game was pretty fun. We were playing in Minnesota and had like six dunks in that game as a team. Then, two weeks later in summer league, I dunked and got an and-1. It was the only time I dunked where I was wearing anything that said Ashwaubenon, so that was pretty cool.

You were pretty much the leader of your school’s student section for football games in the fall. How did you end up making it to Ashwaubenon’s 63-56 victory over Green Bay Southwest after getting your wisdom teeth removed that afternoon?

My mom kept telling me there is no way you’re going to go to the game. But I was like, “I have to be there because I’m good friends with Ryan Johnson and all the players on the team.” She kept telling me my mouth was going to hurt too much to go. I was like, “My mouth is feeling pretty good,” so she drove me over at halftime after a good hour of begging her.

Who on your basketball team could survive on a deserted island?

Evan Wood. He’s a big survivor man. He can do it all. He can fish, can hunt and knows how to do all the fire stuff. He’d be perfect to be on an island with.

Which teammate would you bring on a rollercoaster?

Kenneth Brooks. I feel like it would be fun because his big afro would just be all over the place.

Who on the team should have their own reality TV show?

Bryant Phillips and Kurt Vanderheyden. They would star together. Those two are like BFFs on the team. Every practice and on trips to games they are just hilarious together.

Which teammate would you want to have with you if you were trapped at sea?

Ben Ratschan. He’s always pretty positive. Plus, he’s a good swimmer. I think if we needed to propel ourselves, because I’m not good at swimming, we’d be able to get going if we needed to.

Who on the team would you share your winnings with if you won the lottery?

I’d probably disperse it with everybody so we could all get some super cool shoes to wear during the game.

What are you going to miss most about high school?

The teachers at Ashwaubenon are just incredible. I’ve had so many teachers that you just learn so much from and you just have a great time in class. It’s going to be weird going to college where you don’t personally know your teachers because at Ashwaubenon I know all my teachers really well. That’s really nice.


Classes: AP Psychology and AP Calculus.

Food: Baked potatoes.

TV show: “How I Met Your Mother.”

Movie: “Good Will Hunting.”

Rapper: Post Malone.

Athlete: Giannis Antetokounmpo.

App: Instagram.

Animal: Labrador retriever.

Childhood toy: Nintendo GameCube.

Coach’s comment

“I’ve watched him grow up from a skinny, little kid running around to becoming one of the best players in the FRCC. He worked hard on his game. He was very fortunate to have a father who was willing to come in with him and get some shots in on off period times. He was always a young man who was willing to do what it took. He was always someone that was looking to get better.” – Ashwaubenon boys basketball coach John Miron

– and follow him on Twitter @andrewpekarek.

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