College basketball has been the dream for Cade Ostenson since he was in middle school. Shortly after the dream came the vision, and the path forward followed. Five years later the unlikely Newcastle baller was Wyoming’s sole male nomination for the annual McDonald’s All-American Game.
On Saturday Ostenson plays his last high school game in the Wyoming Coaches Foundation All-Star Boys Basketball Game at Casper College’s Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym, bringing the culmination to a determined career and bridging the gap with the future. And there’s been very little pressure involved.
“I’m just hoping to have some fun because it’s our last high school game,” Ostenson said. “I’m hoping to get a ‘Dub’ with these guys but mostly go out and have fun.”
Despite accomplishing massive team successes in two other sports, his drive to play basketball at the next level never faded. A four-year starting guard for the Dogies, he never experienced a quarterfinal win in the state tournament. Newcastle didn’t even qualify for the tournament in his first two seasons. Ostenson’s drive for gold was satisfied in baseball as a two-time state champion. It’s also worth noting he was a state track medalist in the long jump.
That only furthered his appetite for accomplishing his dream of playing college basketball. Knowing there were more opportunities to catch coaches’ eyes outside of Wyoming, he joined Sacred Hoops, an AAU team in South Dakota. Outside of a few showcases in Colorado that didn’t provide bountiful results, that’s the team he stayed with.
His humble Newcastle beginnings didn’t do him any favors. There aren’t many stages the Dogies play on that college coaches clamor to watch. So Ostenson and his high school coach, Allen Von Eye, went about trying to spread word on their own.
“It’s hard to get your name out there in something like that,” Ostenson explained. “Coach and I have been able to go around and play quite a few places. We just tried to go all over and get my name out there a bit.”
Eventually, the colleges came calling. There was no longer denying the young man’s work ethic and drive to make his own dreams come true. The next step was to simply make a choice.
“I talked to a lot of schools even though I didn’t get a ton of recognition right away,” he said. “I started to get a little bit more and started talking to even more schools but I just felt right at Dickinson.”
Ostenson committed to and eventually signed with Dickinson State in North Dakota. After Saturday’s game he gets to focus on staying in the gym as much as possible so he can make an immediate impact at the next level.
But for one last time the Dogie graduate will play inside state lines. Fittingly enough, Coach Von Eye will be running the sidelines on Saturday as well. What’s one more game after all the miles they traveled together?
“This means a lot,” Ostenson expressed of this weekend’s game. “I’m excited to future my game and my education at the next level and see what I can do.
“But this is a good honor. I’m excited to get to work with these guys. I don’t get to see a lot of these kids out here so it’s going to be fun.”