Panoske decides on UW-Milwaukee
Travel time, campus life and career prospects all play roles. For the college-bound student/athlete, the decision can be even more perplexing.
Take J.J. Panoske. The Brodhead High School senior basketball standout originally committed to the NCAA Division I program at UW-Green Bay. Monday morning, the 6-foot-10 Panoske signed a national letter of intent with UW-Milwaukee, also a Division I school.
Why the change of plans?
“I kind of rushed into making the decision to commit to Green Bay because they were the first to offer me a scholarship,” Panoske said. “But I’ve matured since then, and now that I’m going to Milwaukee, I know I made the right decision.
“It’s only an hour and a half away, which means my dad (Julius) can go to all the home games. And (UW-M) coach (Rob) Jeter is very well-respected.”
Panoske led the Rock Valley Conference in scoring last season with 362 points for a 22.6 average. He is the third-ranked prospect in the state, according to Wis-Sports.net, and played on the highly successful Randolph Boys Club travel team during the spring and summer. He caught the attention of Division I schools Evansville, Colorado State, UW-Milwaukee and Toledo, but Panoske already was sold on the Panther program.
“I’ve already gotten to know quite a few of the players on the team,” Panoske said. “And when I was in coach Jeter’s office, he diagrammed a couple of plays they would run where I would be on the perimeter with the option of shooting, and that really got me excited.
“I could go in and play right away, or possibly red-shirt. I’m willing to do whatever coach Jeter feels is best for me next year.”
Panoske has added 20 pounds of muscle since his junior year and says getting stronger remains his No. 1 priority.
Panoske said the toughest part about committing to Milwaukee was having to call Green Bay coach Brian Wardle to opt out of his verbal agreement with the Phoenix. Panoske originally committed when Ted Kowalczyk was Green Bay’s coach. Kowalczyk left for the head job at Toledo, opening the door for Wardle.
“I’m just glad to have the whole thing out of the way,” Panoske said. “It has been nice to be able to relax the last couple of months and not have to worry about where I was going to play basketball.
“I really think UW-Milwaukee is going to be an up-and-coming program. They’ve got some really good players already there, and I think our recruiting class is pretty good, too.
“And I’m also really excited about our season,” he said of the Brodhead Cardinals. “We’re going to have a good team.”