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Published: Thursday, 1/13/2005

Sidelines: Roots and shoots

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Dan Borcherdt Dan Borcherdt
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ARCHBOLD The Nature-versus-Nurture argument may never be settled, and Archbold senior basketball standout Dan Borcherdt certainly clouds the issue by presenting a strong case for both sides.

When it comes to bloodlines for a basketball player, it would be hard to match Borcherdt s. And when it comes to positive environment and work ethic, it would also be hard to match.

The fusion of the two sides has enabled Borcherdt, a 6-0 guard, to become one of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League s top talents and one of Ohio s best pure shooters.

After his 18-point effort in an 81-35 win at Montpelier last Thursday, Borcherdt (averaging 22.8 points this season) has 1,082 career points, third-most in Blue Streak history. He is within range of Roger Springer s record of 1,192 set from 1964-67.

More important to Borcherdt is Archbold s quest to get back to Columbus. He and now-graduated teammate D.J. Selgo led the Streaks to the Division III state semifinals in 2003.

Beyond basketball, Borcherdt, a 3.8 student, has a long-term ambition of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

Echoing his father s words, basketball is just a tool to reach greater things in life.

Dan Borcherdt s maternal grandfather is Jim Kubacki, a well-known name in Toledo basketball circles. After earning All-City League honors and leading the CL in scoring as a senior at Macomber in 1953-54, Kubacki played at Nebraska. His basketball career was highlighted by The Shot.

As a senior in 1958 Kubacki helped Nebraska to one of the top upsets in NCAA history. Just 14 days after being trounced 102-46 by Kansas, which got 46 points that night from 7-1 phenom Wilt Chamberlain, the Cornhuskers upset Kansas 43-41 on Kubacki s last-second jump shot from the foul circle. An injured Kubacki had been on the bench in street clothes until seven minutes remained in the game. He talked Nebraska coach Jerry Bush into allowing him to dress after a starter suffered back spasms.

With time running out, the 5-9 Kubacki arched his shot over Chamberlain and into the basket, setting off a huge celebration at Nebraska.

Kubacki coached high school basketball two years in Nebraska, returned home to start the athletic program at Cardinal Stritch in 1961, then coached at St. Francis (1965-1974) and Whitmer (1974-1977) before returning to Stritch (1984-1991).

Dan s paternal grandfather is Bob Borcherdt, a three-sport athlete at Anthony Wayne who earned All-Northern Lakes League honors in football, basketball and baseball. He played the latter sport at Bowling Green State University (1960-63).

Grandpa Borcherdt was Joe Stalma s junior varsity coach and varsity assistant during the best basketball era in Rossford history. When Stalma moved up to the varsity post after the Bulldogs lost in the 1966 Class A state final, Borcherdt took the job of preparing the future Bulldogs as JVs.

Rossford reached the Class AA final again in 1970, and made the semifinals in 1975. Meanwhile, Bob Borcherdt guided the JV to eight NLL titles in nine years, once winning 56 straight league games.

[Jim] says have fun and enjoy it and go out and play your game, Dan said. You ve prepared and you ve got what it takes. Just go out and do it. [Bob] harps on me about my shooting. He watches my shot, and he s always there for advice.

Dan Borcherdt is the son of Bob Borcherdt (Grandpa Bob s son) and the former Judy Kubacki, who played three sports at Central Catholic. The younger Bob Borcherdt started on Ed Heintschel s first varsity team at St. John s Jesuit as a sophomore guard in 1979-80.

After a 4-15 season, hehelped lead an impressive turnaround that ended with the Titans edging Macomber 58-57 for the 1981 CL title.

It was the first of 11 league crowns for Heintschel, who has become the CL s all-time winningest coach.

Bob then played four seasons at UT under Bobby Nichols, the winningest coach in Mid-American Conference men s basketball history. Borcherdt, a second-team Academic All-American, is currently the national sales manager for Sauder Manufacturing in Archbold.

My dad s my main source of information and support, and the No. 1 thing he talks about is leadership, Dan said. He s always saying that the world lacks leaders, and he tells me to be a leader and to build up the people around you versus tearing them down.

Bob s brother Bryan, Dan s uncle, played his first two years at St. John s before transferring in 1989 to Maumee. He averaged 23 points per game as a junior and 31 as a senior. He tallied 1,489 points in his career, then played one year at Youngstown State and three at Oakland University.

Uncle Bryan obviously was a scorer in high school, so he can help me out with that a little bit, Dan said. He knows what it takes to do that.

Dan also has two other influential uncles. Tim Kubacki holds the single-game scoring record (42 points) at Central Catholic, and later starred in baseball at UT. Brother Dan Kubacki was also a standout athlete at Central and UT, and later became head baseball coach at Youngstown State.

It helps to have people around you like that, Dan said of his grandfathers, father and uncles. They always have good advice for you, and if you re ever in a slump, they always have something to offer to you.

The abilities I have right now are due to the people around me, and all the help and support they ve given me over the years.

Archbold's Dan Borcherdt (14) and brother David between, paternal grandfather Bob Borcherdt, left, uncle Bryan Borcherdt, father Bob Borcherdt and maternal grandfather Jim Kubacki. Archbold's Dan Borcherdt (14) and brother David between, paternal grandfather Bob Borcherdt, left, uncle Bryan Borcherdt, father Bob Borcherdt and maternal grandfather Jim Kubacki.
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With a strong family tradition of sports excellence, it was still up to Dan Borcherdt to make himself into a player. With the help of six-hour-per-day summer workouts, he has done that.

The thing that I m most proud of with these kids is their work ethic, father Bob Borcherdt said of Dan and David. Dan is a much better player than I was. He s a much better shooter, and can do more things on the floor.

Dan s shooting touch has been honed by countless hours of practice in the backyard and at the Archbold gym. This regimen includes 100 free throws every day.

Last season he averaged 18 points per game and had some lofty shooting marks. He led the state in 3-point shooting (60 of 119, 50.4 percent, sixth-best in Ohio history) and free throw shooting (86 of 93, 92.5 percent, fourth in Ohio history).

I hope I m saying this objectively, but Danny is as fine a high school shooter as I ve ever seen, Kubacki said. He s also got so much range. He can take it up to 25 feet. He s also a very good ballhandler, and has enough quickness. I don t think he lacks anything but size.

At his best, Borcherdt hit 121 free throws in a row while practicing last summer, and currently has a string of 44 straight in games. If he can maintain his current career clip of 89.5 percent at the foul line, Borcherdt will break the all-time Ohio career mark of 87.8.

As a pure shooter Dan is as good as anybody we ve ever had, said Archbold coach Doug Krauss. I d put him up against anybody around the state.

During Borcherdt s four varsity seasons, the Streaks have gone 67-15 and are gunning for a third straight NWOAL title.

He s one of those gym rats, Krauss said. If I ve kicked him out of the gym once I ve done it a thousand times. We ve had other kids like that, but I ve had to kick him out more than anybody.

A trademark of Krauss teams, aside from tough defense, has been balanced scoring. With Dan Borcherdt leading the way this season, that trend has been altered a bit. Krauss credits his sharpshooting guard, and a group of unselfish teammates.

When a guy scores that much you also have to tip your hat to the other guys, his teammates, the Streak coach said. One guy cannot do that by himself. It takes four other guys.

In past years we ve had a more balanced attack. We re working toward that this year, but our guys understand that Dan needs to get some touches for us. They ve been doing a good job of making that happen.

Senior starters Brad Hurst (4.6 points) and Kirk Weldy (6.7 points) contribute in a variety of ways, junior guard Josh Johnson adds 6.5 assists per game, and promising 6-2 freshman Gene Goering pitches in with 10 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Coming off the bench, junior David Borcherdt is Archbold s third-leading scorer, and his brother s best motivator.

In our younger years we used to battle it out and brawl in the basement, Dan said of David, whose top sport is baseball. But now I d say he s probably my best friend. It s kind of neat to have him out there. He helps me. Not too many people get to play varsity basketball with their brother.

When his father s position at Sauder Manufacturing took his family from Toledo to Archbold 10 years ago, Dan Borcherdt and his younger brothers David, John, a freshman, and Andy, a seventh-grader, made a smooth transition.

At ages 9 and 8, respectively, Dan and David idolized the Archbold varsity team of 1995-96, which was ranked No. 1 in Ohio and finished 26-1 after a loss to Casstown Miami East in the Division III state finals.

After watching Blue Streak games, the brothers would play their own games in their basement, imagining themselves to be their favorite Archbold players.

We d pick guys off the varsity team who we were going to imitate that day, Dan Borcherdt said, guys like Keith Roth and Brian Aschliman. Finally our day came when we were playing varsity.

Knowing that his father had played for Heintschel, Dan once pondered transferring to St. John s to maximize his competition level.

I never really wanted to leave Archbold, Dan said. I ve got some roots established here, I ve got some great friends and I didn t want to give all that up. I looked at what all Archbold accomplished over the years and I thought, this isn t that bad of a place.

Contact Steve Junga at:sjunga@theblade.comor 419-724-6461.



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