When you walk through the main hallway of Brown Deer High School/Middle School (the district combined the two together in one building starting in late 2011), you’ll pass along art classroom’s and the school cafeteria before arriving at a four-way intersection also referred to as, “the four corners”. At that intersection, you can go to the restroom, get trampled by students, or gaze at Windex polished trophies inside a glass display case won by the north Milwaukee suburb. Also inside that case is a newspaper from 2002 with NBA forward Steve Novak on the front page. It shows a picture of Novak smiling cheek-to-cheek while holding his then Houston Rockets jersey after being drafted in the first-round in New York City.
Novak, 30, graduated from Brown Deer in the summer of 2002 before he made his way to Marquette University, – which is located roughly 15-20 minutes away in downtown Milwaukee. During his time at Brown Deer, as a junior, Steve averaged 22.2 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots per game. In his senior season, Novak averaged 20.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. In 2002, he was also named the Gatorade Wisconsin High School Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.
Just last month on March 15 in Madison, Wis., his former high school added another trophy inside that display case in the four corners. The Brown Deer boys basketball team (23-5) brought home the school’s first Division 3 state title after defeating Lodi, 59-37.
“It’s huge, I think for Brown Deer to have built a new field house and have a state championship this year, is special. It’s something I was never able to get,” Novak told me early Saturday before his Toronto Raptors played the Milwaukee Bucks that evening.
Brown Deer’s most recent experience in the WIAA tournament came in 2002 when Novak was a senior. The Falcons fell 46-37 to Madison Edgewood that season. “For them to bring it home, it’s just special.”
Brown Deer has been in a loaded Woodland Conference for the last several years. They’ve been overshadowed by powerhouses such as Pewaukee, New Berlin Eisenhower and Greendale, but Novak believes the school will start to finally get the attention they deserve.
“When you win a championship it validates everything you’re doing, they’re on the map, that’s for sure. I think that you don’t win a championship by accident. It’s just great to see that they were able to put a year together like this because I think all of those other teams in the conference are going to be aware that not only did they win a lot of games in the conference, but they did it on the biggest stage.”
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