Hamilton High School senior Patrick Baldwin Jr. announced Wednesday that he will be attending the University of Milwaukee next season. He chose the Panthers over Duke and Georgetown. Baldwin’s decision may have come as a surprise to the average college basketball fan, but the die-hard fans know why his decision didn’t come as a big surprise.
His dad is the head coach at Milwaukee, kind of a hard situation to pass up. Duke Twitter exploded last night claiming there is no chance he would announce on ESPN he is going to the University of Milwaukee. I found it harder to believe he would choose another school on national television right in front of his father.
According to 247 Sports, Baldwin is the fourth highest recruit in the 2021 class. For standing 6’10 and 200 pounds, he can play virtually any position on the court. He has a lethal jump shot along with deft ball handling that should make him the Panther’s primary ball-handler down the stretch of games.
He isn’t going to wow you with his athleticism but he can hold his own at the college level, especially in the Horizon League. With his similar size and outside shooting ability more scouts are comparing him to the Denver Nuggets Michael Porter Jr.
With the addition of Baldwin, Milwaukee should be an instant threat in the Horizon League. The Panthers are bringing back leading scorer DeAndre Gholston, who averaged over 16 points a game last season. Gholston is a gifted scorer with a great outside shot and will take advantage of the constant doubles Baldwin will attract every night.
Redshirt senior Te’Jon Lucas, Panthers leading assists man a year ago, is currently sitting in the transfer portal. Being a senior, one can assume he is hoping to attract interest from bigger programs. We shall see if he, ultimately, decides to transfer or wants to return to school and compete for a conference championship.
Duke gets top recruits every season. This is absolutely awesome for the sport. More parody and more storylines will do the college basketball wonders. Baldwin is and probably always will be the biggest recruit to come through Milwaukee.
Do not be surprised if you see the Panthers on a random Tuesday night playing on ESPN, and you can bet the other teams in the Horizon League will have a spark playing in front of a larger audience. This is really cool as mid-major basketball is will never get the credit it deserves. Fairweather fans typically don’t pay much attention until March or only want to watch the high major matchups, even though there is some really good basketball on every single night.
With a combination of Baldwin’s commitment and a few key returning contributors, I would be surprised if they don’t wind up at the top of the Horizon League standings. Conference tournaments are so unpredictable, but with this talented roster, I’m willing to buy into the Panthers over any other team in the conference.