Posted On: 01/12/20 3:29 PM

Hamilton (WI) 2021 small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. was the top prospect in the Highland Shootout and he more than proved that against Chaminade (MO) on Saturday night.  Wow was he impressive with his play!  The 6’9” small forward is one of the most skilled players from a national stand point we have seen in recent memory.  Opened up with a pair of feathery jumpers and from that point it was on!  He had the crowd in the palm of his hands.  Slippery drives to the cup handling and finishing with either hand equally well.  Long strides allow him to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.  Scores well from all three levels and creates space on his shot.  One area that I was really impressed with was his passing.  High level decision maker that throws bullet passes.  Great rebounder on the defensive end and swatted four shots.  From an NBA comp standpoint we see some similarities to guys like Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Jayson Tatum.  Those guys are doing ok!  He had 29 points (11-19 FG) and 12 rebounds.  PrepHoops Wisconsin caught up with Baldwin after the game where he chatted about his performance and what was working for him.

“Everything.  The shot was falling.  Playmaking and I was able to get downhill.  When my shot is falling like that it opens up a lot of things for me.  I just know when I get my teammates involved and get downhill we can be successful against any team in the country.  That was our mentality going into this game.”

He played much more on the ball than we had seen in the past both as a scorer and playmaker.

“That was a big thing that we worked on this summer because freshman and sophomore year I wasn’t as comfortable with the ball in my hands.  We went to work with the ball in my hands and it really showed at this level of basketball.”

Where do things stand with recruiting at this stage in the process?

“Right now I am thinking about taking some unofficial visits.  I don’t want to take any official visits this year.  I would definitely like to get out to Duke and Northwestern unofficially.  Obviously my dad’s school (UW-Milwaukee).  Probably some Midwest schools.  Won’t take it too far, but see some of the local schools that are recruiting me.”

Duke has long been the rumored leader for his services and are making him a priority.  He broke down the Blue Devils.

“They understand that my class is a class that has a lot of continuity with each other and we are good friends with each other.  They want to bring in a class where we can play off each other.  Really help each other throughout our college careers.”

AJ Griffin is already on board with Duke in the 2021 class.  Does that help Duke’s chances?

“Yea I think so.  We grew up together and played Rising Stars together when we were in Illinois.  AJ helps a lot because he is a good guard that is really athletic and can get downhill and defend.  Nothing but praise for him and he is a guy I would like to play with.”

There were a lot of family members at Baldwin’s game at Highland that made the drive from Kansas to see him play.  That helps the Jayhawks chances with him.

“They stand very high because playing in front of them in Kansas you can’t really create outside of Illinois.  Playing in front of your family and them only being a couple hours away is important to me.”

Kentucky also extended an early scholarship offer to the elite junior wing.

“I love coach Calipari and the guys they have brought in.  Talking with Paolo (Banchero) and (Kennedy) Chandler.  I like the guys they are trying to build in that class.  They will probably be on my list even though I haven’t released it.  I think Kentucky is really high up there with me.”

He has all the blue bloods coming after him, but he says he has seen the success other players have had recently going to non-blue blood programs helping prepare them for the NBA.

“At the end of the day I am not going to go to a blue blood school just because they are a ‘blue blood’ if it is not the right fit I don’t think I am going to decide to go to that school.  Ultimately I will make the right decision whether they are a blue blood or not.”

One of those schools could potentially be a program his dad Patrick Baldwin Sr. coaches at UW-Milwaukee.

“I think, my dad hasn’t said this, but my mentality is no coach is going to have your back like your dad.  So whether he is at a D2 or D3 school he is still going to always have my back better than any coach in the country ever will.  I think that is really something I have taken to heart and I am really considering their school even though people will look at it and compare it to other schools and say it is a mid-major when I can play high-major.  I am still considering it.”

Northwestern is a local school that has family and geographical ties to Baldwin.

“They see me as the guy that can come in and turn around their program.  They have gone through one or two years where they have hit a slope after that NCAA Tournament season when my dad was there.  Northwestern is coming after me as that guy that can make an impact and be the guy that when they associate Northwestern they associate my name with it.”

Lots of schools have been into see him this year including Virginia, Duke, Georgetown, North Carolina, Kansas, and Northwestern.  He is not in a rush to make a call at all at this point, but has an idea of his timeline.

“I would probably cut it down, I don’t want to set an exact timetable, but sometime summer or early fall.  I am looking at a commitment date right before my senior season.  That is when both my parents did it and it is kind of sentimental to me.  Really no time table.  When I come to the right decision I will come to the right decision.”

At the end of the day what will be most important for Baldwin in a program?

“I just think player development and the players around me.  Those are the two most important things for me because academics I am not really in trouble in the classroom as I get good grades in the classroom so that will always take care of itself.  I will always have an opportunity to go back and get my degree.  I think for those years I am I am in college player development and the players around me are really important.”