Highland Shoootout: Five-star Patrick Baldwin Jr. breaks down recruitment
HIGHLAND, Ill. -- If there was any question about Patrick Baldwin Jr.'s status as one of the top three players in the class of 2021, he's answered quite well.
The 6-foot-9 junior at Sussex (Wisc.) Hamilton was utterly dominant over the weekend at the Highland Shootout and showed off a complete, well rounded game.
"The shot was falling, I was playmaking and I was able to get downhill," said Baldwin. "When my shot is falling like that it opens up a lot of things for me. I just know that when I get my teammates involved and get downhill we can be successful against any team in the country and that was my mentality."
Becoming more comfortable with the ball was a major focus for Baldwin in the offseason and the work shows.
"That was a big thing that we've worked on since the summer," said Baldwin. "Especially sophomore year I wasn't as comfortable with the ball in my hand so we just went to work. It's really showing on this level."
Not surprisingly, Baldwin can basically choose any school in the country. Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Marquette, Virginia, Wisconsin and many others want him. He's also got deep ties with Northwestern where his father Pat Baldwin Sr. played and coach and Wisconsin-Milwaukee where his father is currently the head coach.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Baldwin broke down some of the schools involved with his recruitment.
Duke: "They understand that my class is one that has a lot of continuity with each other, we know each other and we are good friends with each other. They want to bring in a class where we can all be comfortable with each other, play off each other and help each other throughout our college careers."
Kansas: "They stand very high because playing in front of (family) in Kansas that's something that you can't really create. Playing in front of them and having them one or two hours away is something that is important to me."
Kentucky: "I love coach (John) Calipari and I love the guys they've targeted. I like talking with Paolo (Banchero), (Kennedy) Chandler and I like the guys they are trying to build with in that class. At the end of the day they will probably be in my end list even though I haven't released it. I think Kentucky is really high up there with me right now."
Northwestern: "They see me as the guy who can come in and really turn around their program. They've gone through one or two years where they've hit a slump after they made the NCAA Tournament when my dad was there. I think that Northwestern is really coming after me as a guy that can come in and make an impact and be that guy that when they associate Northwestern, they associate my name with Northwestern too."
Wisconsin-Milwaukee: "My dad hasn't said this, but my kind of mentality is that no coach will have your back greater than your dad. So whether he's at a D3 or a D2 school he's still going to have my back better than any coach in the country ever will. I think that's really something that I've taken to heart and I'm really seriously considering his school even though people look at it and they compare it to other schools and I don't want to say it's not as good but mid majorish and I can play high major. I'm still considering it majorly."
Baldwin won't take any official visits during his junior season, but he would like to get in some unofficial visits.
"Right now I'm kind of thinking of taking some unofficials, I don't want to take any officials this year because it's kind of later in the (season) and that would be too much," said Baldwin. "I would definitely like to get out to Duke, Northwestern for an unofficial because that's my dad's school. I'll probably do a couple to schools in the Midwest and won't take it too far."
Currently, Baldwin has no concrete timetable set but does think he will put out an actual list towards the end of the summer or early fall and he would like to sign early. He says he won't be focused on the name of the school and that a few very important areas will trump all else when making a decision.
"At the end of the day I'm not going to go to a blue blood school just because they are quote unquote a blue blood," said Baldwin. "If it's not the right fit I'm not going to decide to go that school."
"Player development and the players around me, I think those are the two most important things to me. I think academics will always take care of itself and I will always have the opportunity to go back and get my degree. I just think for those years in college that player development and the players around me matter."