What exactly is five-star recruit Patrick Baldwin Jr. doing at mid-major Milwaukee?


MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — All summer long, Patrick Baldwin Jr. had been impressing his new University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers teammates. He easily shot deep 3-pointers, put the ball between his legs in midair and dunked in workouts for the Horizon League school where his father, Patrick Baldwin Sr., is head coach.

For all of Baldwin Jr.’s talent, however, Vin Baker Jr. still thought two of his teammates had trapped the 6-foot-9 five-star recruit as he dribbled up the court during a pickup game. Baker figured he’d be forced to pass the ball.

He was wrong.

“He did a double, behind-the-back move and finished the layup, pointed at both of the defenders and started to run back on defense,” said Baker, a Boston College transfer and the son of former NBA standout Vin Baker Sr. “That’s when I could really see this kid is good for sure.”

But how does a projected lottery pick — he’s No. 8 in ESPN’s 2022 NBA draft Top 100 — end up at a mid-major school without a winning tradition, over offers from Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and other powerhouse programs?

As the Milwaukee Bucks marched toward their first NBA title in 50 years, Baldwin Jr. watched their journey on a pair of jumbo screens in the Deer District, the area outside the recently-opened Fiserv Forum. Giannis Antetokounmpo and his teammates turned Milwaukee into a basketball-loving city and validated the dreams of local hoopers when they beat the Phoenix Suns to win their first NBA championship since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it in 1971.

While the chance to play for his father sold Baldwin Jr. on Milwaukee, another factor emerged over the last year as he considered his options. Baldwin Jr. began to wonder if he could mimic Antetokounmpo’s success, and carry an underdog to national prominence, too.

“Just seeing him in a small market and seeing how he changed a city like this,” Baldwin…

Source : espn

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