First-year phenomenon Baldwin relishes the chance to play for his dad

MILWAUKEE (AP) – As one of the country’s top 10 prospects in his class, Patrick Baldwin could have signed with just about any college basketball program in the country.

He chose to stay home and play for his father in Milwaukee, instantly making the Horizon League School one of the most interesting stories in the country this season.

“At the end of the day, it was mostly the idea of ​​playing for my dad that was super intriguing,” Baldwin said. “I thought it was a good place, a good place, where I could develop as a player and as a person, and play for the person who has lived with me for 18 years.”

Baldwin was ranked seventh in his class according to the Composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports.

“What makes him potentially special is that he’s 6-foot-9, highly skilled and fortunate enough to be one of the best vault shooters in college basketball in his freshman year. “said Eric Bossi, director of basketball for 247Sports.

Baldwin is the first 247Sports Composite High School Top 10 rookie to sign with a school outside of power conferences that wasn’t Gonzaga or Memphis since Western Kentucky landed Charles Bassey, the nation’s No.6 in 2018.

He joins a Milwaukee program that has recorded only one winning season since his last NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. Milwaukee is selected to finish fourth in the Horizon League this year. according to a league preseason poll.

Baldwin grew up learning the game from his father, who is called Pat Baldwin. But it will be the first time that the elder Baldwin has coached his son in a real team.

Pat Baldwin is entering his fifth season as Milwaukee coach after working as an assistant at Northwestern, Missouri State, Loyola-Chicago and Green Bay. Patrick Baldwin praised his father for the way he handled the unusual assignment of recruiting a family member.

“He was great without intervention,” said Patrick Baldwin. “He left my decision. He let me take control of my heritage and my career. I give him major props for that. Because I think if I had been in his shoes, I would have certainly pushed the problem. “

Patrick Baldwin lives on campus rather than at home, which will allow father and son to spend at least some time apart. But they look forward to all the hours they will spend together on the court.

The opportunity to coach his son makes this season like no other for Pat Baldwin. He has received a lot of advice from other coaches who have held the position, such as Fran McCaffery of Iowa and former Detroit coach Ray McCallum.

Their suggestions had a similar theme.

“Train him like he’s one of the youngsters on the team,” said Pat Baldwin. “It’s also what Patrick wants, how he wants to be trained. He wants to be challenged. He wants to be the best he can be. The advice they all gave is just to train him, and (that) his teammates should know that I can train him.

This is just the message Patrick Baldwin wants to hear. He says the lessons he received from his father over the years helped him get this far in the first place.

“His best advice in my entire life was to put your head down and work,” said young Baldwin. “Because, especially in the age of social media where you can spread your platform and voice your opinions, if you just put your head down and work, you can do just about anything in life. . “

Here’s a look at other freshmen who could make an impact this season.

DUC: F Paolo Banchero

Banchero, a 6-9 Seattle forward, is the first Washington State player to play for Duke since Quin Snyder played for the Blue Devils from 1986 to 1989. He is ranked second in his class by the 247Sports Composite . He also played the quarterback for the O’Dea High School football team.

MEMPHIS: F Emoni Bates

Bates, a 6-9 forward from Ypsilanti, Mich., Was named Gatorade High School National Player of the Year in 2020. 247Sports Composite ranks him as the No. 4 prospect in his class. Bates is part of a top Memphis class that also includes 6-11 center Jalen Duren, the nation’s No.5 rookie.

TENNESSE: G Kennedy Chandler

Chandler is a 6-footer from Memphis, although he played at Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas, after winning back-to-back Tennessee Mr. Basketball honors at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis. He is ranked eighth in the 247Sports Composite. Coaches praise his ability to work his way through defenders and create opportunities for his teammates.

GONZAGA: F Chet Holmgren

This 7-footer from Minneapolis had former Gonzaga goaltender Jalen Suggs as a high school teammate. Holmgren wants to bring Gonzaga to the Final Four, just like Suggs did last season. Holmgren has a 7-6 wingspan and is ranked as the country’s top prospect in his class. He played on four state championship teams and was named National Player of the Year by multiple services.

AUBURN: F Jabari Smith

Smith is sixth in the 247Sports Composite, making him the highest-rated rookie to ever sign with Auburn. The 6-10 forward from Fayetteville, Ga. Is the son of Jabari Smith Sr., who played at LSU from 1998-2000 and was in the NBA with three teams from 2001-2005. Smith is a cousin of Kwame Brown. , the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NBA Draft.

UCLA: G / F Peyton Watson

The second-ranked Bruins are firing the 10 players who played in the NCAA tournament in their run to the Final Four last season, but Watson is so talented he’s bound to have a major role for UCLA this year. The 6-8 swingman was ranked 11th in the 247Sports Composite and averaged 30 points in his final year at Long Beach Poly.

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Follow Steve Megargee on https://twitter.com/stevemegargee

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More AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25


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