Elite prospect Patrick Baldwin challenges the story by picking Milwaukee over the Powers Duke, Georgetown


Because the accumulation of basketball talent at the Division I level has become fungible and the Milwaukee Panthers fail to attract attention in the recruitment game as Kentucky or North Carolina, the college basketball history made on Wednesday was largely dumped to one under Duke’s loss Top view.

Patrick Baldwin’s decision to visit Milwaukee and compete in the Horizon League was more than that. It was something we haven’t seen in the modern era of recruiting.

Baldwin is a 6-9 forward from Hamilton High in Sussex, Wisconsin, ranked 24th in the 2021 recruiting class out of 247 Sports and 4th place on ESPN and Rivals. It will certainly have a top 5 ranking when the final Recruiting Services Consensus Index (RSCI) is calculated for 2021.

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Since 1998, not a single consensus top 5 recruit has chosen to play basketball for a medium-sized program. So far only three times someone in the top 20 has been selected for a mid-major, and only five times has such a player completed his college career at that level.

Baldwin chose Milwaukee primarily because his father, Patrick Baldwin Sr., is the team’s head coach. The Panthers were unsuccessful in Pat Sr.’s tenure. Overall, they didn’t have a successful season. In the last three seasons they reached no more than seventh place in the Horizon League.

“It means the world to me,” Baldwin told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “My father was my trainer, he was my trainer, he was my father. Getting the chance to play for him and help his team win next year certainly means a lot to me. “ NBA draft analyst Matthew Maurer has followed Baldwin’s play over the past few years and has two views on Baldwin’s choice.

“The father in me loves it. The boy scout in me, I have this view of where it is: I don’t know, man,” Maurer told Sporting News. “I feel like spending time and you don’t have to go to a blueblood to be recognized. I get all of this, but the thing about guys that people forget is that it’s still a review. We still have to judge them if you’re a blue chip player, always project them against NBA-type talent, this is not a league that produces a lot of NBA-type and NBA-type talent.

“It’s a great story. I hope it works.”

Maurer mentioned that Milwaukee hasn’t produced an NBA draft pick since 1992 and has only two in its history. Baldwin Jr. also missed the chance to compete in elite competitions on the 2020 summer track due to the pandemic and lost much of his school season due to an ankle injury.

“Honestly, as a kid there aren’t many kids to grow up with and their dream school is Milwaukee,” Baldwin told the JS. “But you have to make every place your ‘big time’. That’s what my father always said. So if I put on the panther jersey, I’ll represent this school with pride and I’ll get dressed for the city.”

If you think that perspective like this is almost certainly going to dominate a league like Horizon, Ohio Valley or Conference USA, you will be surprised at how these players’ experiences have turned out.

Here’s a look at those who have taken a similar course:

2020: Makur Maker, 6-11 Center, RSCI No. 15 prospectus, Howard. Maker’s decision to participate in Howard drew a lot of attention from those with more prospects of playing for HBCU programs. However, he only played two games of the 2020-21 season, scoring 11 and scoring eight rebounds in a 17-point loss to Belmont and 12 points in a 14-point loss to Quinnipiac.

Maker injured his groin and was excluded indefinitely. Howard decided to end his season after five games and was not one of the eight teams that competed in the regular MEAC season.

It’s not yet clear what Maker plans for the 2021-22 season.

ESPN ranks him 99th on their list of the Top 100 Prospects for the 2021 NBA Draft.

2018: Charles Bassey, 6-11 Center, RSCI No. 9, Western Kentucky . It’s important to remember that the recruiting services rank players based on college potential, and Bassey did excel for the Hilltoppers. He has career averages of 15.9 points and 7.5 rebounds for 2.6 blocks per game. The WKU finished second and first in the line-up with Bassey (he was injured in 2019-20) and lost the Conference USA title game twice.

With his size and skills, Bassey could be considered one of those players born too late. A player of his size and talent for central defense would have been valued two decades ago. He’s not a major perimeter shooter, however – only 29 3-pointers in three seasons – although he has continued to work on improving that part of his game.

2009: Tony Mitchell, 6-8 forward, RSCI # 20, North Texas. Mitchell’s plan to drop out of high school wasn’t to become some kind of pioneer. His intention was to play in Missouri, but there were issues with his NCAA eligibility due to his decision to move to an unaccredited prep school. He eventually decided to play closer to his home in North Texas.

After his first season, Mitchell averaged 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in two seasons on the Mean Green. In 2011-12, UNT finished 18-14 and lost in the Sun Belt championship game, with Mitchell scoring 18 points. The following season, after coach Johnny Jones left for LSU, UNT fell to 12-20, with Mitchell averaging 13 points and 8.5 rebounds.

He participated in the 2013 NBA Draft and was selected in the second round by the Pistons with the 37th overall selection. He played for them in 21 games in the 2013-14 season but didn’t stay with the Suns or Warriors and continued to play professionally overseas.

2000: Abdou Diame, 6-9 striker, RSCI No. 17, Jacksonville State. Diame signed with Auburn from Oak Hill Academy and played two seasons for the Tigers, but he never lived up to the expectations high school scouts had of him. After a solid season as a freshman, Diame only played a few minutes in his sophomore year and moved to Jacksonville.

There he played a full season as a junior and averaged 5.1 points and 1.5 rebounds. His senior year consisted of only nine games.

He was not drafted by the NBA.

1999: Cedrick Banks, 6-2 Guard, RSCI # 19, Illinois-Chicago. Banks signed up to the UIC after ranking Westinghouse High in Chicago in second place. He was not eligible for his first year on campus, but averaged 13.9 points as a freshman, then more than 18 points in each of his last three years, each time leading to the first-team All-Horizon League.

He played twice in the NCAA tournament. The Flames were number 15 in its first season and lost to Final Four-bound Oklahoma. In his junior year 2003/04, the UIC went 24-8 and reached the NCAA tournament number 13 before losing to Kansas.

He ended his career as the leader of the Flames with 2,097 points. Banks was not drafted by the NBA but had a successful career in European basketball; He played for teams in Israel, Belgium, Turkey and especially France.


Melinda Martin