Many high school basketball standouts in Wisconsin go on to big things at the college level and in the pros, and this is our spot to recognize those athletes each week and help you keep up with what is going down on some of your favorite players from the past. If you have alumni news, please send it to Colton Wilson by 6 p.m. on Mondays.
Basketball season is here! High school girls basketball began practice this week while boys basketball kicks off next Monday. As many high school athletes embark on another season, many and more alumni have begun or continued the next chapter in their basketball careers. The Basketball Alumni Round-up will spotlight those Badger state athletes who have continued their basketball careers at the college and pro level.
The highest level of basketball in the world is the NBA. More and more these days, it seems athletes from Wisconsin are making their way to the league which just shows the amount of talent that continues to come from the state.
Whitnall’s Tyler Herro was one of the highest ranked basketball players to ever come out of the state of Wisconsin. He committed to Kentucky where he played one year for the Wildcats before entering the NBA draft where he was taken thirteenth overall by the Miami Heat. Through the first month of the season, Tyler has shown he is the real deal and in talks for Rookie of the Year early on. He averages over 29 minutes a game while shooting 42% from the field. His numbers speak for themselves; averaging 13 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.
Taken 15 spots after Herro in this past NBA Draft was former Milwaukee King guard Jordan Poole, who attended the University of Michigan. Jordan was taken 28th overall by the Golden State Warriors and due to a plethora of injuries has taken a spot in the starting rotation. Poole has taken full advantage of his opportunities, averaging just under ten points in 27 minutes per game, showcasing his playmaking ability throughout.
While both Herro and Poole are your conventional rookies, coming straight from college to the pros, Onalaska’ Matt Thomas took a different route. After spending four years at Iowa State, Matt went overseas to play in Spain’s Liga ACB. After two years overseas, Matt was signed by the Toronto Raptors this past offseason. Despite marginal playing time, he has played in eight of the eleven games for the Raptors. His sharpshooting ability has been prevalent as he has made nine of fourteen attempts from beyond the arc on the season.
Thomas’ former Iowa State Cyclones have four former Wisconsin high school athletes on its roster this season, including a potential lottery pick next season in Oshkosh North’s Tyrese Haliburton. All Halburton has done through two games is record two double doubles and average 13.5 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, and four and a half steals. His play is even more incredible when you factor in that he has 26 assists to only three turnovers on the year. For that reason, Haliburton was named the Big 12 Player of the Week in the opening week.
Just like Division I basketball, Division II is littered with Wisconsin state recruits around the country. The Northern Sun Conference may be the largest in regards to number of athletes. Brandon Myer averaged a double double last year for Minnesota Duluth. This year the former Superior High School star began the season posting a 29 point, 10 rebound game in an 115-109 double overtime win over ninth-ranked Southern Nazarene. He followed that up with 17 points and six boards in a 95-86 loss to Southeastern Oklahoma. Brandon was named the Northern Sun Conference Player of the Week. Newly transferred in teammate Drew Blair of Stevens Point averaged 30 points per game for Duluth.
Speaking of transfers, Arrowhead Bryce Nze spent last season sitting out at Butler after transferring from UW-Milwaukee. He’s started his first year at Butler in quite impressive fashion. Nze had 11 points and 11 rebounds in their opening 80-47 win over IUPUI. He followed that up with an 18 point, 10 rebound performance in a 79-53 win over New Orleans. His two double doubles should come as no surprise as he averaged 10.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in his sophomore season at Milwaukee.
Kyle Monroe came just one rebound short of recording a double double in each of his first two games for Michigan Tech. After sitting out all of last year due to injury, Monroe, an Ashwaubenon grad, made his presence known early and often. In a 78-73 win over McKendreee, he had a team high 29 points and nine rebounds. He followed that up with 23 points and 10 rebounds in a 63-54 win over Lewis University. Monroe in his first week back in over a year was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s Player of the Week. Monroe is just a hair over 100 points shy of 2,000 in his career at Michigan Tech.
Five former Highland Illinois Community College players from the last two seasons are contributing and playing at the Division I level this season from the state of Wisconsin.
Andrew Lewis attended Highland Community College last season and this year sees himself starting for a Chicago State team that has began the season 1-1. Lewis, a Milwaukee Vincent grad, is averaging 14.5 points and five and a half rebounds through those two games.
Omaha is the next Division I school to benefit from a Highland transfer, in Marlon Ruffin. Ruffin, a Sun Prairie grad and 2017-18 All-State selection, has seen his minutes increase from game to game thus far early on and therefore his production has increased as well.
Another former Sun Prairie standout and Highland transfer is making his own path at Chattanooga University. Rod Johnson starts for the Mocs and in the second game of the season he recorded a double double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, despite a 79-68 loss to Eastern Kentucky.
Two former teammates of Johnson’s at Highland now both play for Eastern Illinois who squared off with Wisconsin this past week. Shareef Smith of Madison Memorial and Deang Deang of Madison East, both got to play in front of their hometown crowd despite a 65-52 win by the Badgers. For the Badgers, Kobe King of La Crosse Central had a career high 18 points, including an emphatic baseline dunk.
To finish this week's edition, last season’s Mr. Basketball in the state of Wisconsin has already made a name for himself at Southern Illinois. Marcus Domask of Waupun is averaging 14 points and four rebounds for the Salukies while shooting 51% from the field and 47% from three as a freshman starter.