5-star recruit Patrick Baldwin Jr. talks about his inspiration to play in Mid-Major Milwaukee

Hamilton's Patrick Baldwin Jr. plays against Evanston in the E-Town Showdown at Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena on Feb. 8, 2020. (Brian O'Mahoney/Pioneer Press/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Brian O'Mahoney/Pioneer Press/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Ranked eighth overall in ESPN’s top 100 prospects for the 2022 NBA draft, Patrick Baldwin Jr. had his pick of the litter of where he would play out his collegiate career. The highly touted forward surprised many with his decision to go to a mid-major school in Milwaukee.

His father, Patrick Baldwin Sr., being the head coach of the Milwaukee Panthers, factored into his choice. However, another influencing element entered the fray in the form of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Baldwin drew inspiration from the NBA superstar this past year and sought the challenge to attain similar success on the national stage.

“Just seeing him in a small market and seeing how he changed a city like this, is something that really influenced me to come to [Milwaukee].”

Patrick Baldwin Jr.

This approach from Baldwin speaks to how successes like that of the Bucks can spark a change in perspective for younger athletes. Baldwin will try to lead Milwaukee to the NCAA tournament for just the second time in over 15 years. Should he excel, it could influence more players into taking a similar approach.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Changing the game

The Milwaukee Bucks emerged as NBA champions this past season. Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the team finally broke through and ended their 50-year championship drought. Giannis won the NBA Finals MVP award for his efforts, and the accomplishment seemingly goes beyond what happened on the court.

A trending narrative throughout the NBA suggested that a championship team could not be built around one superstar. This Bucks team denied such ideas this past season. Though no intended slight to the supporting players on Milwaukee’s roster, a clear gap lies between Giannis and his teammates. While many of us thought that this would ensure the Bucks’ undoing, they exceeded expectations.

Should they repeat their success, it could cause teams and players alike to re-think their outlook. The results could see a change in how organizations construct their teams in the future.

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