PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Marshall’s Noah Puetz signs letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Sioux Falls
MARSHALL — When the final buzzer went off signifying the Marshall boys basketball team’s section championship victory over Mankato East and a trip back to the Class AAA tournament, Noah Puetz and the rest of the Tigers were excited and prepared to make a deep run on the biggest stage.
Unfortunately, the next day brought tough news, as the Minnesota State High School League announced the cancellation of the boys state tournament as well as the remainder of the girls tournament. Puetz said while it was difficult to see their season come to a sudden end and not be able to wrap it up the way they wanted, they knew they had gotten to accomplish a lot of the goals they had set out for earlier in the year.
“It was definitely hard to see all of those morning and extra practices that we put in and not be able to get to finish it the way we wanted to,” Puetz said. “But we did see some of our early season goals get completed, like making it to state and winning the section so that helped us stay positive even though we couldn’t complete all of them.”
For Puetz, the journey won’t stop, though, as the Marshall senior recently signed his National Letter of Intent to play basketball at the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls (S.D.).
Puetz said it was a great feeling to finally see the day come and officially take the next step of his playing career.
“It’s awesome. It’s what I’ve worked towards for a long time and it’s cool to see all of the work that I put in during AAU and the camps I went to pay off,” Puetz said. “I finally get to say that I’m going to college to play basketball.”
Puetz said he’s always wanted to continue to play basketball and felt that Sioux Falls had a similar atmosphere to what he was used to at Marshall.
“For basketball, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was little,” Puetz said. “When it came to picking a school, I wanted to find a good fit and USF was the best fit; they do things similar to how we do them at Marshall from a coaching and playing style which I obviously like. Plus it’s not too far from Marshall so I can come home and I also have a lot of family in Sioux Falls.”
The past few years, Puetz has been a key contributor for the Tigers’ success on the court throughout his time at MHS. He attributed that to what his coaches taught him from an early age, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.
“My Marshall coaches taught me the importance of defense starting in my time in Marshall Hoops,” Puetz said. “They pushed it because a lot of people can score and play offense but I think defense gets lost in this day and age. I think USF liked that about me because I took pride in my defense.”
He added that his teammates as well helped him maintain his focus on the floor and have a fun experience playing the game they love.
“They just made basketball a fun experience,” Puetz said. “There was a lot of pressure during recruiting with different coaches coming but my teammates kept me calm and helped me not think about those things and we just went out and tried to win games.”
Puetz said during the quarantine, since it’s tough to find a gym to practice his skills in, he’s turned his focus to the weight room and putting on muscle.
“It’s hard to find a gym to shoot in, so the biggest thing I’ve been doing is weightlifting and putting on muscle,” Puetz said. “Everyone is bigger and more physical in the NSIC; I’ve put on 15 pounds of muscle since quarantine to get ready for the higher level of competition.”
Puetz added he’s planning on majoring in chemistry or pre-professional studies with hopes to be an anesthesiologist. One the floor, he will play in the 2-4 spot along the wing and said he’s looking forward to getting on the court and getting to know his team as well as meeting new people off of the floor.
“Basketball-wise, I’m looking forward to getting to know my teammates and coaches and just getting to play in the NSIC. I think it’s one of the best D-II divisions in the country and it’s pushed me a lot to get better,” Puetz said. “School-wise, I’m looking forward to meeting new people, that’s just something that’s exciting to me.”