Boots & Noone leave a legacy at Oshkosh

Nate Proell, Sports Writer

On Jan. 20, UW Oshkosh Titans basketball senior guard Charlie Noone and junior guard Ben Boots each reached 1,000 total career points in the same game, which is a UWO first and a milestone that helped the Titans defeat UW-La Crosse. After then going one for two in the final two games of the regular season, the Titans have achieved a third-place conference record of 9-5 just before the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship tournament began this past Wednesday.

Noone, who is fifth in the UWO record books for three-pointers with 325 made shots, surpassed the 1,000 mark with a three at the 12:56 mark in the second half against La Crosse. Noone said being able to break the mark with a shot he prides himself on was a great experience.

“It’s kinda fitting; a majority of my shots are threes, so I think that’s kinda fitting that that was my 1,000 point,” Noone said. “It was cool to do it like that and having my friends and family there for Senior Night was awesome.”

Although he believes the achievement is something that should be celebrated, what Noone said he would like to see even more is his team having overall success in the postseason.

“It’s a cool thing to have under your belt,” Noone said. “Obviously the team is always first but it’s a cool thing to look back on. A lot of hard work went into it and it’s not just me, there were a lot of people that went into making this happen. Ben being able to do it with me is special too. He’s a guy that I have worked with a ton.”

Boots, who is second in the WIAC in free throw percentage at .853, passed the mark with a pair of free throws less than three minutes after Noone broke his mark. Boots said breaking 1,000 with free throws was something he is very proud of since he pulls his in-game confidence from being able to make it to the line.

“Something I really pride myself with is being able to get to the free-throw line,” Boots said. “As a scorer, it’s always nice to put yourself in a position where you can see the ball go in the hoop. Being able to draw fouls and getting to the free-throw line is just a way for me to get my confidence going and just get really into the game.”

Boots echoes Noone’s team-first mentality by saying he is proud of the personal achievement, but he realizes getting to 1,000 is only partly an individual award and more so a collaborative team effort.

“I think it’s mostly a reminder of all the work we put in, all the players we play with and all the work that our coaches and teammates have done for us,” Boots said. “It’s the culmination of all those things coming together. A lot of work in the offseason and being in a lot of pressure situations, it’s mostly a reminder of all that.”

Titans head coach Pat Juckem said having two upperclassmen on the team who put in the work and experience success, but still realize there is always room for improvement is an asset that the program values.

“They would be the first to credit that they didn’t do this themselves,” Juckem said. “What is nice about these two guys is that they are unselfish. They’re the first to credit their teammates and they both accept coaching. It’s great to have two of our leaders, who have great work ethics, believe they are not above being coached. That sends a strong message to our younger players.”

Going into the Senior Night game against La Crosse, Noone said he was aware of the fact he was close to 1,000 but would rather not have known. However, as hard as it was to keep the thought in the back of his mind, Noone said when he made his historic three he could tell what had just happened.

“I knew I was close but I didn’t know exactly how many [points] I needed,” Noone said. “I didn’t really want to know that. In the beginning of the season I knew I would hit it at some point. Then in the game after I hit one of my shots everyone went crazy. They called timeout shortly after and guys started slapping me on the butt so I kinda knew then.”

Boots said he went into the game with a different mindset than Noone since he said he was well aware how close the two of them were. However, he said he was not going to let it affect his play. “We talked about it awhile ago, actually, and I told him he was close, and I told him I was close too, but Charlie didn’t want to know how close,” Boots said. “I actually knew before the game I needed two, but I wasn’t going to worry about it.”

As the nationally ranked Titans begin tournament play for a chance at the NCAA tournament, Noone said the personal achievement he and Boots experienced will help with confidence going forward. However, Noone realizes the confidence he feels has come from a long line of work.

“It’s good for confidence, but I think most of our confidence comes from the time we put in at practice,” Noone said. “Ben, Brett, me and all these guys put in so much time at the gym. We’re in these situations so many times playing in big games and taking big shots so our confidence is built throughout time rather than just one specific event.”

Boots said what builds his confidence most is knowing he has a team just as dedicated and hardworking as he is and knowing that is what he is most proud of and feels the most pride in.

“I think we have a really talented group with a lot of guys who put a lot of time into their game,” Boots said. “Something special about this group is that we still don’t feel like we peaked. We’ve seen glimpses where we’ve played great games, but we have still been a little inconsistent at times. Something that is really exciting for us is that we still think our best basketball is ahead of us.”

Juckem said the team’s success this season so far has come from building a program centered on the idea that nobody can succeed alone. Juckem said Noone and Boots have played by that idea and demonstrated it in strides.

“Those two are self-made guys,” Juckem said. “They’re talented, but they have really had to work for this. The hours and hours they have put into the game to improve has been a huge factor. They’ve brought the best out of each other. They have become incredibly close over the last couple years. They’re both driven and competitive in a constructive way both in the classroom and on the court.”