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WBY Camp Notes: Instincts help De Pere's Kinziger fare well against bigger opponents

06/14/2021, 12:15am CDT
By Mark Miller

Watch De Pere junior Johnny Kinziger for any length of time compete on the basketball court and it becomes obvious very quickly the 5-foot-11 point guard possesses a great deal of natural instinct for the game.

How else to you explain Kinziger grabbing rebounds at a higher clip than many opposing players who stand several inches taller? Or his impressive ability to post up defenders in the lane and score with his back to the basket? Or simply feeling at home among the tall timber of opposing players in the lane? 

The vast majority of players with Kinziger's height would struggle in those circumstances, but the returning all-league performer in the Fox River Classic Conference thrives in those scenarios.

"I love to play around the basket," said Kinziger, one of 90-plus high school basketball players from around Wisconsin taking part this week in the annual Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Exposure Camp held at Viterbo University in La Crosse. "For me, it's fun to post up and score in the post. I enjoy doing that.

"As for my rebounding, I try to read where the ball will come off the rim and then go and find the right angle to go and get the rebound. It's worked out pretty well for me."

Sunday during scrimmages at the WBY Camp, Kinziger rebounded at a high level, scored when necessary and also ran his team as the regular point guard. He consistently set up teammates with his unselfish play, excellent court awareness and stellar passing ability. 

Ranked among the elite players in the 2023 class by WisSports.net, Kinziger is coming off a sophomore season in which he averaged 22.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists while helping De Pere to a 22-4 record under coach Brian Winchester. 

His 4.3 rebounds per outing ranked second on the team behind Jack Jorgensen, a 6-foot-2 senior forward who averaged 5.3 caroms per contest.

Kinzinger comes from a basketball family as father, Jeff, was a standout performer at Lena High School who later played at the collegiate level at Lawrence University. 

Older brother, Jake, also played for the varsity squad at De Pere while younger brother, Zach, will be a freshman in the fall and is a player capable of making an impact with the varsity as a ninth grader. 

"I started playing basketball at a very young age," Johnny said. "I always tagged along to practices for my older brother's teams so I learned a lot from those guys. My dad also get me into the gym a lot when I was younger and I learned a lot by taking part in the Woody Wilson Basketball drills and camps in the Green Bay area."

About to enter his junior year, Kinziger owns a NCAA Division I scholarship offer from Toledo. He is also hoping to attract additional attention from Division I programs this summer as he competes with the Phenom University club program on the prestigious EYB circuit.

At first glance, coaches from scholarship schools might notice Kinziger's 5-foot-11 height. But once they start watching him compete and see how he's more than capable of holding his own against much taller opponents, the hesitation about his stature figures to melt away.

"I'm excited to get out on the EYBL circuit," Kinziger said. "The competition will be so good. It will be a tremendous challenge. I'm hoping I can build off any potential offers I might get. At this point, I'm just hoping to get any offer I can get."

Hudson's Healy plays different style than older brother

Ben Healy understands he has some rather big shoes to step into.

Following in the footsteps of older brother, Luke, much will be expected of Ben in the next two seasons for the Hudson basketball team. 

After averaging 25.5 points and 3.4 assists as a senior last winter while leading the Raiders to a 15-6 record, Luke probably generated some high expectations for Ben among some of the Hudson faithful.

A first-team all-Big Rivers Conference performer who scored more than 1,200 points during his prep career, Luke earned a NCAA Division II scholarship to Sioux Falls.

So now it's Ben's turn to take to the court and carry on the Healy name. 

He seems up to the task.

Competing Sunday at the WBY Camp at Viterbo, Ben Healy showed the ability to score off the dribble and from three-point range while also using his size, length and athleticism to effectively guard opponents on the perimeter.

"I'm much more of a combination guard than Luke, who played point guard," Ben said. "My goal this year is to help our team in any way possible and push hard for a trip to the state tournament.

"I'll probably play most of the time at the wing guard or small forward positions since we'll have Andre (Renta) playing at point guard. I am hoping to be able to spread the floor a bit with my three-point shooting, which I've been working on. I'm probably known more for my ability to take the ball to the basket, but my shot is starting to come around as well."

Unlike his older brother, Ben is not strictly a point guard. Also unlike his older brother, Ben is not 6-foot-0, but rather 6-foot-3. 

That added size has helped Ben finish in the lane and also snare his fair share of rebounds.

"The thing I learned most from Luke was being able to compete against a guy who liked to get up in your face on defense," Ben said. "It helped me a lot to go up against Luke and face the type of pressure defense he plays."

Ben Healy competes with the Minnesota Fury on the club circuit and split time between the varsity and JV1 squad at Hudson as a sophomore.

WBY Camp Draft results

After evaluating the 90-plus players in camp during skill and game competitions Sunday afternoon and evening, the 12 coaches working the WBY Camp participated in the annual Camp Draft. 

The following players were selected in the first round:

(Alphabetical order)
Darius Chestnut, 6-2, Jr., Sun Prairie
Daniel Gherezgher, 6-3, Sr., Brookfield East
Colton Hall, 6-3, Sr., D.C. Everest
Gavyn Hurley, 6-4, Jr., Middleton
Johnny Kinziger, 5-11, Jr., De Pere
Peter Lattos, 6-7, Jr., West Salem
Derek Lindert, 6-1, Sr., Pardeeville
Braden McGraw, 6-1, Sr., Jefferson
Carter Olson, 5-11, Sr., Cuba City
JJ Paider, 6-7, Sr., Neenah
Tyson Skalecki, 6-6, Sr., Union Grove
Bailey Turenne, 6-2, Sr., Merrill

The following players were chosen in the second round:

(Alphabetical order)
Travis Alvin, 6-4, Sr., Randolph
Owen Cooney, 6-4, Jr., Middleton
Gavin Farrell, 6-1, Jr., Verona
Andrew Graf, 5-10, Soph., Brookfield East
Sam Grieger, 6-4, Sr., Randolph
Joey Jendusa, 6-0, Sr., Mukwonago
Brogan McIntyre, 6-5, Jr., Milton
Brady Ring, 6-4, Sr., Lodi
Reed Seckar, 5-11, Sr., Oshkosh North
Jacksen Smith, 6-2, Sr., Rhinelander
Max Tutas, 6-1, Jr., Sheboygan North
Keion Twyman, 6-1, Sr., Chippewa Falls

For the latest and most up to date boys' basketball news and recruiting information, follow Mark on Twitter @wisbbyearbook. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Mark by clicking here.

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