By GERY WOELFEL
There has been a fair number of father-and-son combinations over the years in men’s college basketball.
The legendary Pete Maravich played for his father, Press, at Louisiana State back in the early ‘70s – as did Allie McGuire who chose to attend Marquette and play for his dad, Al.
From 1989-1993, former New York Knicks star Allan Houston played collegiate basketball at Tennessee where his dad, Wade, was the head coach.
Tony Bennett, now the highly respected coach at Virginia, played four seasons — from 1988-1992 — at UW-Green Bay for his father, Dick.
And, more recently, there have been a spate of other father-son duos like Greg and Doug McDermott at Creighton, and Ron and R.J. Hunter at Georgia State and Ray McCallum Sr. and Ray McCallum Jr. at Detroit Mercy.
This season there’ll be another father-son act on the college basketball scene. Pat Baldwin will be coaching his son Patrick at Milwaukee. Of all the father-son combinations in the history of college basketball, the Baldwin pairing may be the most unique and perhaps unprecedented.
That’s because Patrick, a gifted 6-foot-9 freshman forward from Sussex Hamilton (WI) High School, was regarded as one of the elite players in his recruiting class. In fact, for much of the last year he was consistently ranked a top-five prospect and, at times, was even ranked No. 1.
The only other players from the previously mentioned group of father-son dues who were regarded as an upper echelon recruit like Baldwin were Maravich and Houston. But Pistol Pete and Houston went on to play for high-major college basketball programs.
Baldwin is going to play for a mid-major program — even though he could have played for any of the nation’s blue bloods. Baldwin’s decision to pass on playing for Duke or Kentucky or several other big-time programs spoke volumes of his tight-knit relationship with his father, his sense of loyalty and commitment to his family.
To say, Milwaukee Panther fans are in for a treat would be a monumental understatement. All you have to do is ask any NBA executive or pro scout who has seen Baldwin perform to realize that.
Said an NBA general manager about Baldwin: “He’s the real deal. He’s legit. He can flat-out shoot, but he’s really a very good all-around player. And I’ve heard nothing but great things about him as a young man.’’
Jamie Dixon echoed those comments. Dixon, the head coach at Texas Christian, coached the United States in the FIBA U19 World Cup this summer in Riga, Latvia
Baldwin was a member of the U.S. team and played an instrumental role in the Americans winning the gold medal. Baldwin and his teammates defeated France 83-81 in the title game.
Baldwin made a distinct impression on Dixon.
“Patrick is a great kid,’’ Dixon said. “He was really fun to be around this summer. He is very respectful and a coach’s son who passes all the eye tests.
“He’s got the body, size, stroke and length to be a great prospect. He’s a great human being. He’ll be a great ambassador for Milwaukee.’’
Baldwin has yet to play a game for the Panthers – their first game is Nov. 9 at North Dakota – but he’s already elevated the perception of the school’s program.
Since he made his stunning decision in May to attend Milwaukee, interest in the Panthers basketball program has skyrocketed.
- There has been a near 100 percent in season ticket renewals.
- There has been a 114 percent increase in season ticket memberships over the 2019-2020 season, which was the last season fans were allowed to attend Milwaukee games.
- There have been nearly 600 new season-ticket subscribers.
And the Panthers basketball season is still two months away.
Suffice to say, the Baldwins have Panther Nation fired up and rightfully so.