VALLEY CITY, N.D. (BVM) — If you were to ask North Dakotans in the 1990s and early 2000s who their favorite basketball player was, they would probably answer it like any other person. They’d mention an NBA player like Kobe, Shaq, AI or MJ, but they would also bring up a 6-foot-3 guard at the University of Kansas, Jeff Boschee. In 2021, the local legend will be inducted into the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.
When Boschee was still falling in love with the game of basketball almost three decades ago the idea that any North Dakota basketball player could rise beyond state recognition was unheard of. Even Boschee, on the Jayhawker Podcast, admitted to not thinking he could make it in high-level
Division I basketball at first. That quickly changed as colleges began to notice the lights-out shooter from Valley City – basketball in North Dakota was no joke.
They had to accept it. Boschee was back-to-back Gatorade State Player of the Year and Mr.Basketball in North Dakota in 1998. The finishing touch was becoming the first and only basketball player from North Dakota to be named a McDonald’s All-American. At this point he was already a legend, but then he added to that a full scholarship to the University of Kansas – a perennial college powerhouse.
As a freshman for the Jayhawks, Boschee continued to add to his list of achievements becoming the 1999 Big 12 Rookie of the Year and conference tournament MVP. In his senior season, he was captain on a Final Four KU squad that went undefeated in Big 12 play, the only undefeated conference slate in program history.
Graduating in 2002, Boschee left Kansas as the Big 12’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made (338). He is considered one of the greatest shooters in Jayhawks history.
Boschee went on to have a short-lived professional career overseas and wrote a book on his experience at Kansas titled, “Long Shot: Beating the Odds to Live a Jayhawk Dream.” He is now the head men’s basketball coach at Missouri Southern State University, winning MIAA Coach of the Year honors in 2017.
Jeff Boschee gave kids all over North Dakota the belief that they can achieve their dreams and play at the highest level. His induction into the hall of fame is well deserving. A reward fit for a state hero.