The Interview: J.J. Panoske


J.J. Panoske during his sophomore season.

Yesterday, the Milwaukee Panthers picked up their first commitment in the 2011 recruiting class, and it was a big one. 6’10”, 210 pound small forward J.J. Panoske chose Milwaukee over scholarship offers from Bradley, Evansville, Toledo, Green Bay and Colorado State.

Panoske joins a loaded front court in 2011 with Kyle Kelm, James Haarsma, Mitchell Carter (hopefully), Ryan Haggerty and Tony Meier.  The thought of trying to come up with a rotation is awesome; how about trotting out a starting lineup of 6’10” Panoske at small forward, 6’8” Ryan Haggerty at power forward, and 6’7” James Haarsma at center?  Or Panoske at power forward, 6’9” Kyle Kelm at small forward, and Haarsma at center?  Or…you know what, I could go on all day.

Plainly put, with Panoske in the fold, the Panthers quite possibly have two positions set through the 2013-14 season.  We might be playing in a new arena by then.

Panoske is the highest-ranked player ever by to commit to the Milwaukee Panthers, coming in at #3 of Mark Miller’s latest player rankings.

To play at this level, Panoske will need to pack on some muscle.  At 210, he’d be a great weight if he were 6’6” or 6’7”, but at 6’10” he’s a bit bigger than Jason McCoy was when he played for the Panthers.  Of course, Panoske will be playing the 3 and 4 positions for Rob Jeter, so strength and conditioning coach Steve Felde won’t need to make him 250 pounds.

Panoske may become the most prolific shot blocker at Milwaukee since Jason McCoy.

His strengths are numerous; he has a great three-point shot on offense that compliments decent low-post moves.  Panoske’s a dynamite defender, an excellent shot-blocker who can guard away from the basket as well as down low.  He cleans the glass, and his intangibles are there.

Shortly after his commitment to the Milwaukee Panthers, I got a hold of J.J. Panoske and we talked for a couple minutes about his recruitment:

Jimmy Lemke: So what made you finally pick Milwaukee?

J.J. Panoske: I picked Milwaukee because of the coaching staff, the city, and my father.  He raised me alone his whole life, and he can see me play at the Cell.

JL: Bradley and Evansville made offers recently. Did you take a look at them, or were they too late in the game?

JJP: I was really interested in Bradley.  They showed a lot of interest too, but I would much rather stay in Wisconsin.

JL: What was the pitch that the Milwaukee coaching staff gave you to pick us?

JJP: It wasn’t so much of a pitch, more that they made me feel comfortable with everybody, made me feel at home in Milwaukee.

JL: How do you like the campus and neighborhood?

JJP: The campus is in a nice spot, with the lake close by its a plus, also I really like the feel of the neighborhood.

JL: It was inevitable , but what happened to Green Bay? They had what was reported as a verbal commitment last summer, but you re-opened your recruitment in the fall (thanks, haha).

JJP: What happened to Green Bay was, I noticed that I made a premature decision very fast, and after I re-opened my recruitment they didn’t show as much interest.  So it kind of just went downhill from there.

JL: What do you hope to accomplish at Milwaukee?

JJP: At Milwaukee, I hope to accomplish getting my degree.  Also, I hope that winning is a big part of our future. Lastly, I plan to improve my individual skills so I can add to the team.

JL: Hundreds of fans read PantherU every day. If you’ve got a message for them, what is it?

JJP: (Laughs) My message to the fans would be to watch closely the next few years because the Panthers have a chance to be making some noise!

J.J. Panoske will be completing his final season at Brodhead this year, after which he’ll enroll at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  PantherU plans to do a road trip to one of Brodhead’s basketball games this year, details later.  Plans for a second Milwaukee Showcase at the Klotsche Center featuring Panoske and Brodhead are probable, as last year’s event was a success, with Milwaukee fans getting to see Kyle Kelm during his senior year.

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