Model student becoming model post player for TL-M-M

When a member of the McClusky High School staff has computer issues, he mustn’t always go to paid personnel for help.

Sometimes a 6-foot-7 senior can fix the teacher’s technology woes. Kevin Klemisch has been fooling around with computers his whole life, taking them apart, reassembling them.

“I love to mess around with computers,” said Klemisch, who has four of the machines at home. “It’s a challenge for me, something to get my mind off basketball.”

On the hardwood, Klemisch is grabbing rebounds with reckless abandon. He averages 14 points and 12 boards per game for Turtle Lake-Mercer-McClusky, winners of six of seven games and second-place finishers at the Mandan Holiday tournament.

“He’s really improved his inside game,” TL-M-M coach Joi Anderson said. “That’s kind of his biggest thing he’s (improved) from last year. He’s getting rebounds and scoring inside a lot.”

Klemisch has scored in double figures five times this year, including a 21-point outburst against New Salem-Almont on Dec. 11. His averages are improvements on last year’s output of eight points and eight rebounds per game, something he attributes to his summer playing AAU.

Klemsich played this summer with talented players like Beulah’s Trevor Zacher, Fargo Shanley’s A.J. Jacobson and Wyndmere-Lidgerwood’s Jeff Illies, three of the best players in the state. There, Klemisch perfected his post moves.

His favorite: a drop-step baby hook shot in the middle of the lane, something Klemisch said his dad taught him after growing up a Lakers fan and watching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

He’s also got a midrange jump shot he learned while growing from a 6-4 sophomore into his current 6-7 frame.

“I had to develop it,” Klemisch said. “It’s helped me now making the transition where teams are collapsing in the paint, I feel comfortable enough stepping outside and playing out there.”

Pre-practice dunk contests have become sort of a tradition between Klemisch and 6-5 teammate Nathan Rauhauser. Klemisch hasn’t perfected the windmill yet, but has been able to retrieve passes off the backboard and put it back down.

Klemisch sprinkles in an occasional jam in practice, often earning him wisecracks from teammates.

“We always make fun of him in practice,” senior guard Adam Peltier said. “Like ‘Wow, Kevin if we were 6-7 we’d be dunking all the time.’ “

The Trojans’ center, often the tallest on the floor in Class B contests, has yet to dunk in a game. But in a Dec. 20 win against Max, he had his opening. Klemisch got behind the defense, and seemed destined for his first throwdown.

But Peltier, the team’s reigning all-Region 6 performer, overthrew him. After taking playful jabs for his lack of above-the-rim action, Klemisch teased Peltier in the upcoming days for his miscue.

“He’s always one to give me a hard time,” Klemisch said. “We know it happens.”

The only player on the team from McClusky, Klemisch still has a hard time convincing teammates of his computer savvy. But the son of a high school principal and elementary school teacher is already pondering his college options. Two years ago he participated in the North Dakota Governor’s School summer program for information technology. Klemisch possesses a 3.94 GPA and a 27 ACT score and said Jamestown College, Mayville State University and the University of Mary have expressed interest in him for basketball. Klemisch has applied to all three schools.

For now, he’ll continue his dual roles as a student tech assistant at McClusky and a center for a Trojans team eyeing its first trip to the state tournament since 2009.

“I think that’s what we’re all expecting,” Peltier said. “We’re due.”