Nolan Winter, the Lakeville North senior man, the center of the frontier recruiting battle, announced Friday that he will play college basketball for Wisconsin.
The 6- to 11-year-old took a little longer than expected to make up his mind after his state visit to Wisconsin and Gopher State last month.
Winter’s father, Trevor, played hoops for the vacated U team in 1997, and his mother, Heidi, was a former Gophers volleyball player.
His parent’s university seemed to be a favourite early on, but the co-champion of the Big Ten Badgers convinced him to follow the Minnesota pipeline to Madison.
“I’m so proud to have made a name for myself nationally,” Winter told the Star Tribune earlier. “And I’m not just following in my father’s footsteps.”
2 player in the state’s 2023 class, Winter is the second local prospect to pick another Big Ten school over the Gophers this week. The state’s senior senior, Tyson Chatman of Totino Grace, Ohio, committed on Tuesday.
Gophers coach Ben Johnson, and his assistant Dave Thorson, made winter a major priority after they offered him a scholarship before he did the Badgers last summer. Gopher’s coaches have been in frequent contact, but Wisconsin has attracted Minnesota talent since Richard Petino’s tenure.
“They did an amazing job recruiting Nolan and they gave their best,” said Renee Pooley, founder of Howard Pooley, who co-hosted Winter at AAU. “I just think Wisconsin’s track record was good. Ben and Dave haven’t been here long enough to have that track record, they’ve only been here for one year. Once they get a chance to establish themselves and build something, they’ll have more Minnesota kids.” “.
Two years ago, Badgers coach Greg Gard landed East Ridge’s Ben Carlson and Eastview’s Stephen Kroll. Carlson moved to Utah. But Crowl started at the UW frontcourt last season with Lakeville North’s Tyler Wahl, a 2019 recruit.
There were up to seven players on the Badgers’ roster from Minnesota in Pitino’s final season in 2020-2021, including Lakeville North’s Nate Reuvers and Maple Grove’s Brad Davison.
White Bear Lake guard Jack Janicki, who had Division I performances, committed to Wisconsin as a favorite this summer, but the Minnesota connection wasn’t a factor in Winter.
“The fact that every [Minnesota natives] Winter said that going there does not affect me to go there. “My dad and mom went to Minnesota, but they’ve been telling me from day one that it’s your decision.”
Winter was sidelined for most of the AAU summer season, but returned to the field in late July to play for Pulley’s 17U team in Las Vegas against the Gophers and Badgers.
In early August, Winter made an official visit to Wisconsin without specifying further trips, but eventually went to official with the Gophers late last month.
The initial plan was to choose a school soon after he visited Gopher, but Winter’s delay in his announcement by a few weeks was a sign that he was leaning in another direction. He got a tough decision behind him to focus on his senior year at Lakeville North.
Winter’s commitment to the Badgers means Johnson is unlikely to sign a Minnesota recruit coming from the 2022 U class with locals Pharrel Payne, Joshua Ola-Joseph and Basketball Braeden Carrington.
The Gophers featured Boden Kabek (a member of Butler) on Chatman and the Holy Family early on, but focused more on out-of-state prospects in their later spots.
Johnson’s 2023 recruitment class may be free of Minnesota residents, but he has a chance to be even more famous than last year. Goalkeeper Cameron Christie, the top seed at Illinois State, committed this summer. California five-star Dennis Evans is expected to visit 7-foot gopher on September 29.