De Pere senior Brevin Pritzl sat down after practice Friday to watch the University of Wisconsin play Oklahoma, giving the Badgers recruit another glimpse of his future teammates.
But watching them on television or going to an occasional game will be about the only time between now and March that Pritzl will think about next season.
He has too much left to accomplish at De Pere.
“It’s kind of tough,” Pritzl said. “You hear it a lot. Every time you see your name, you see Badgers commit or Marquette commit with other kids in the area. You are always constantly reminded. But to me, you have to focus on what is here, what is now. If you focus too much on the future, you are not going to be able to develop your game throughout the season.”
De Pere might need Pritzl to play like a big-time recruit if it hopes to repeat as the Fox River Classic Conference champion.
The 6-foot-4 standout guard certainly did that last season, averaging 20.1 points and 5.4 rebounds and earning first-team all-FRCC and Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association all-state honors.
Pritzl entered this season as the sixth-leading scorer in team history with 1,082 points, giving him a chance to break former standout Craig Haese’s record of 1,600. He also entered ranked sixth in team history with 131 3-pointers.
It’s difficult to guarantee prep greatness, but there were signs Pritzl would be special even before high school. His older brother, Brandon, was building his own résumé at De Pere when Brevin was in middle school, and De Pere coach Brian Winchester knew the family and the kind of player Brevin could be once he reached high school.
Pritzl can flat out shoot the basketball. He can score in a variety of ways, combining his 3-point shooting with an ability to drive to the rim or pull up for a mid-range jumper.
“He had all the ingredients to see that he was going to be pretty good,” Winchester said. “But going to Wisconsin, nobody can really predict that.”
Pritzl said his father, Brian, always had big dreams for him. But he wasn’t so sure himself. He felt like a scrawny misplaced kid his first day of practice after going up against former standout and North Dakota State recruit Brett VandenBergh.
VandenBergh beat him up physically, but perhaps even more mentally. Pritzl doubted himself a bit because he knew Brandon, who he still calls his coach and mentor, had immediately played on varsity as a freshman while Brevin was only on junior varsity.
But that JV thing didn’t last long.
Pritzl split quarters between JV and varsity for the first few games before being moved up to varsity and never looking back.
VandenBergh and fellow senior guard Jordan Poydras kept after him all season, telling the rookie how much they needed him in order to have success.
The game that put him on the map came in March of that season, when De Pere lost to powerhouse Germantown in a Division 1 sectional championship. Pritzl matched VandenBergh with a team-high 14 points, hitting four 3-pointers and several big shots.
Indiana coach Tom Crean and assistant Tim Buckley were among those in attendance to watch recruit Luke Fischer play for Germantown.
By the end of the game, Pritzl also had left an impression.
“Maybe a couple days after, Coach Buckley contacted me and wanted information,” Winchester said. “It just kind of progressed from there.”
Did it ever.
Wisconsin eventually came calling. So did Marquette, Xavier, Drake and UW-Green Bay. That’s just a partial list.
Wisconsin and Marquette both offered him a scholarship this spring. He gave the Badgers a verbal commitment toward the end of May and signed his letter of intent last month.
“Brevin is one of the best shooters in the country in his class,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said the day Pritzl signed. “His ability to continually improve his capability to score in a variety of ways has made him an extremely diverse scorer. As he continues to improve and develop, Badgers fans will undoubtedly have some exciting moments watching Brevin. The willingness to find the basket offensively will not be a problem for Brevin and I’m looking forward to helping him become even a more complete player in the future.”
Pritzl doesn’t have one part of his game he wants to focus on his senior season. As good a shooter as he is, he knows he must work on that and everything else to have a chance to be successful at the next level.
He will count on his De Pere teammates to help him with that.
“Every team that I’ve had from now to the beginning has really helped me develop,” Pritzl said. “They all push you to a whole other level.”
— email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @scottvenci
FRCC AT A GLANCE
Coach: John Miron, 2nd season.
2013-14 record: 20-4.
Key players: Kyle Monroe (6-5, sr.), Cam Kelly (6-3, sr.), Turner Wittig (5-11, jr.), Sam Wisneski (6-1, sr.), Zak Imig (6-2, jr.), James Morgan (6-5, sr.), Ethan Tews (6-3, sr.), Max Von Berlichingen (6-9, jr.), Cal Larsen (6-3, sr.).
Notable: The Jaguars shared the league title with De Pere last season, going 14-2 in conference. Ashwaubenon welcomes the return of Monroe, a Michigan Tech recruit who was the FRCC player of the year last season after averaging 21.1 points and breaking Ashwaubenon’s single-season and career scoring records. … Ashwaubenon will have four new starters, although Wittig and Wisneski saw significant minutes last season. … The Jaguars were the top-ranked defense in the 12-team FRCC in 2013-14, allowing 37.6 points per game in league.
Coach: Nate Rykal, 10th year.
2013-14 record: 16-9.
Key players: Craig Minzlaff (6-0, sr.), Zach Lorbeck (6-3, sr.).
Notable: Rykal likes the improvement shown by some of the returners, which should give the Pirates an opportunity to compete against the better teams in the FRCC. … Bay Port must replace former standout Ty Sagal, who was a first-team pick as a senior last season.
Coach: Brian Winchester, 8th year.
2013-14 record: 17-7.
Key players: Brevin Pritzl (6-4, sr.), Jordan Beyer (6-3, sr.), Mitch Winter (6-6), Cooper Mocarski (6-5), Jason Blom (6-4), Zach Rabas (6-5), Jordan Barthels (6-2), Aaron Vopal (6-7), Max Huddleston (6-6), Jacob DeMille (5-10), Brian Nies (6-5).
Notable: The Rebirds have size and athleticism. … The team needs to find a few consistent scorers to help shoulder the scoring load with Pritzl. … Eight of the 13 players have varsity experience.
Coach: Dave Shaw, 6th year.
2013-14 record: 17-5.
Key players: Taylor Splan (5-10, sr.), Zach Doersch (6-2, sr.).
Notable: The Red Raiders have to account for the loss of graduated standout Luke VanLanen, who was a first-team pick in the FRCC last season. Splan and Doersch will help lead the way. The duo combined to average close to 18 points per game as juniors. … Pulaski allowed 42.7 points per game last season, the second fewest in the league.
Green Bay East
Coach: Rick Rosinski, 13th year.
2013-14 record: 5-18.
Key players: Kejuan Ransom (6-0, sr.), Deonte Carlton (6-2, jr.), Cornelius Steele (6-4, sr.), Everett Laye (6-3, jr.), Effriam Bowers (6-2, jr.), Matt Miller (6-2, jr.).
Notable: The Red Devils have four returning starters, including Ransom, who averaged 10 points per game last season. … East looks to build off the growing pains of last season, when it lost its first 12 games and six of its last seven.
Green Bay Notre Dame
Coach: Tom Van Deurzen, 3rd season.
2013-14 record: 11-11.
Key players: Dante Jadin (6-4, sr.), Nick Martzahl (5-9, sr.); Gus Dennis (6-0, sr.), Charlie Rotherham (6-2, sr.), Kyle Blindauer (6-1, sr.).
Notable: Rotherham could miss the first week or two of the season with a broken collarbone sustained during the football season. … The Tritons have eight new players on the roster, but they expect to be more athletic and quicker than last season.
Green Bay Preble
Coach: Jim Wall, 2nd year.
2013-14 record: 12-11.
Key players: Parker Kraft (5-11, sr.), Conner Lemmens (6-4, jr.), Conner Curtis (6-6, jr.).
Notable: Lemmens was an honorable-mention selection in the FRCC last season. He shot 51 percent from 3-point range. … Wall thinks Kraft will have a breakthrough season. … The Hornets expect to be improved tremendously on defense, although the 48.8 points they allowed in league last season was the fifth-stingiest in the league.
Green Bay Southwest
Coach: John Polkowski, 2nd year.
2013-14 record: 7-16.
Key players: Kelvin Jones (5-10, sr.); Sam Humphrey (6-0, sr.); Clayton Ladsten (6-3, jr.); Lucas Steffes (5-10, so.), Ty Froistad (5-8, jr.), Noah Meyer (6-5, sr.).
Notable: The Trojans have to replace much of their firepower from last season as they look for a better start, and finish, than in 2013-14. Southwest lost its first four games last season and ended it by losing seven of eight.
Green Bay West
Coach: Steve Sickler, 3rd year.
2013-14 record: 5-18.
Key players: Logan Cropsey (6-7, sr.), Jeff Drake (6-7, sr.), Michael Yeager (6-7, sr.), Chris Stacey (5-10, sr.), Mason Riley (6-1 sr.), PJ Coleman (6-0, sr.), Clayton Trepanier (6-1, sr.).
Notable: The Wildcats return six seniors, with a total of 12 seniors on the team. … Sickler hopes the experience and a deeper bench puts West in position to have its first winning season since 2007. … This will be the third varsity season for Cropsey and Drake.
Coach: Brian Gallagher, 5th year.
2013-14 record: 7-16.
Key players: Adam Bonk (6-0, sr.); TJ Schneider (6-6, so.).
Notable: Bonk was a second-team pick in the FRCC last season after averaging 17.8 points per game.
Coach: Tom Desotell, 38th year.
Key players: Eli Belmore (5-9, sr.), Nick Rudolph (6-0, sr.), Matt Gerber (6-0, sr.), Eric Suscha (6-6, sr.), Alec Laning (6-1, sr.), Davis Larson (6-4, jr.), Sam Kaminski (6-8, jr.), Zach Hasenstein (6-1, so.).
Notable: Larson is expected to be the key piece to the offense. … Desotell has 604 career wins at North.
Coach: Tim Rank, 2nd year.
2013-14 record: 11-13.
Key players: TJ Pitsch (5-11, sr.), Conner Harrison (6-3, sr.), Sam Selk (5-11, sr.), Erik Tetschlag (6-5, sr.), Matt Miller (6-3, sr.), Jared Reklaitis (6-5, sr.).
Notable: Pitsch, who moved to point guard this summer, was a second-team pick in the FRCC last season. He led the team in points, 3-pointers and steals.
— Scott Venci