Top-five recruit Baldwin Jr. to play for father at Milwaukee

NCAA Men

MILWAUKEE (AP)Patrick Baldwin Jr., one of the nation’s top recruits in his class, will play college basketball for his father at Milwaukee.

The forward is rated as the nation’s No. 4 senior prospect according to composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports. An ankle injury caused him to miss most of his senior season at Hamilton High School in Sussex, Wisconsin.

Baldwin chose the Horizon League program over Duke and Georgetown. He announced his decision Wednesday at his high school, and Milwaukee made the signing official later in the day.

”First of all, it’s a very emotional day for Patrick and for our family and we are extremely happy that he has finally come to a conclusion on his decision on where he wants to go to school,” Baldwin’s father, Pat Baldwin, said in a statement released by the university. ”I am extremely happy for him – he has waited for this moment ever since he could dribble a basketball.”

Milwaukee lists Baldwin Jr. as 6-foot-10, while 247Sports has him at 6-9.

He’s the highest-ranked prospect ever to sign with a Horizon League program. His situation is somewhat comparable to that of Ray McCallum Jr., a 2010 McDonald’s All-American who played for his dad at Horizon League school Detroit Mercy and was a 2013 NBA second-round draft pick.

Jerry Meyer, the director of scouting 247Sports, said that Baldwin’s shooting ability makes him particularly notable.

”He can really shoot off the dribble and come off screens, spot-up and he has deep range,” Meyer said. ”There’s a lot of guys who are athletic like him. What set him apart is his overall skill level and he’s a deft shooter. ”

Baldwin is the first top-10 247Sports Composite recruit to sign with a school outside the power conferences that wasn’t Gonzaga or Memphis since Western Kentucky landed Charles Bassey, the nation’s No. 6 overall prospect in 2018.

He was named the 2020 Gatorade Wisconsin Player of the Year after leading Hamilton to a 22-3 record while averaging 24.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game his junior season. He got hurt in the second game of his senior year and didn’t play again the rest of the season.

His decision is a huge victory for his father,who has posted a 47-70 record in four seasons as Milwaukee’s coach The Panthers went 10-12 this past season and lost in the Horizon League Tournament semifinals.

The elder Baldwin took over Milwaukee’s program after working as an assistant at Northwestern when the Wildcats made their lone NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017.

”We have certainly increased our ability to score and to do some great things,” the Milwaukee coach said in a statement. ”I think that Patrick will definitely pair extremely well with the current players we have in our program and will add a tremendous amount of depth to our lineup as well.”

Milwaukee has posted just one winning season – a 20-13 mark in 2015-16 – since earning its last NCAA Tournament berth in 2014. The Panthers are best known for reaching the Sweet 16 in 2005 under Bruce Pearl.

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