Janesville34.7°

Panoske says yes to UWGB

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John McPoland
July 29, 2009

You can get a lot done on an airplane flight these days.


If the airline offers wi-fi, you can surf the Internet. You can watch a DVD on a portable player. You can read a magazine or a newspaper. You can wonder why your seat is always next to or near the only crying baby on the plane. You can sleep. Or you can contemplate whether or not to spend $4 on that Snickers bar being hawked by the flight attendants.


Brodhead’s J.J. Panoske used a Sunday night flight from Las Vegas to Milwaukee to decide what he wants to do with his basketball future. The 6-foot-9, 195-pound junior-to-be, after a long discussion with his father, Julius, and his brother, Zach, decided to give an oral commitment to UW-Green Bay.


Panoske can’t officially sign a letter of intent until the fall of 2010 and won’t even don a Phoenix uniform until 2011. But the decision has been made.


“We were talking on the plane ride, and I told my dad I wanted to go to Green Bay,” said Panoske, a first-team All-Rock Valley South pick for the Cardinals. “My dad said it wouldn’t be a bad decision. As soon we stepped off the plane, I told Hugh Roberts.


“Hugh said it was a great decision.”


Roberts coaches Panoske’s AAU team, the Randolph Boys Club. That squad played four games last week in Las Vegas and reached the Sweet 16 of a major AAU tournament.


UW-Green Bay head coach Tod Kowalczyk attended almost every game. The Phoenix finished the 2008-09 season 22-11 overall and 13-5 in the Horizon League.


Seven of the 12 scholarship players on last year’s UWGB roster came from Wisconsin. Seven of the 14 players listed for the upcoming season are from Wisconsin.


“They’ve said a few times they wanted to get it done,” Panoske said of UWGB’s recruiting effort. “I didn’t feel like he was pressuring me. I heard after the tournament that I might get calls from UW-Milwaukee and Northern Iowa, but I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to stay in state.”


Panoske’s play has been compared to former Randolph star Ryan Tillema. The 6-8 guard led the Phoenix with a 17.2 average last season.


Brodhead, meanwhile, captured the Rock Valley South title last season with a 10-6 record. The Cardinals will be favored to repeat that success.


“I can’t be happier for them,” Brodhead coach Brian Kammerer said of the Panoske family. “I don’t think J.J. felt pressured. I think he just feels like Green Bay is going to be a good fit. He’s one of the better big guys I’ve seen who can go out beyond the arc and knock down threes.”


Panoske averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.2 blocked shots per game last season.


“It’s not only taking pressure off J.J. It takes pressure off me and rest of team. It’s time to go play basketball,” Kammerer said. “J.J. knows he’s got to work a lot harder.”


Panoske agreed.


“I think I’m one of the harder workers on the team,” he said. “Even since I’ve committed, I’ve been in the gym the last two days shooting and lifting weights.


“I still have to get a lot stronger, be a better shooter, and in a few years I’ll be ready to play for them.”


Panoske said being out of the recruiting rat race is a relief.


“I don’t have to worry about injuries and stuff,” Panoske said. “It takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders. Now I can just worry about trying to win a state championship.”



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