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Wisconsin Lutheran's Knueppel named WBCA Mr. Basketball

03/13/2024, 9:45am CDT
By Mark Miller

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Wisconsin Lutheran's Kon Knueppel is Mr. Basketball.

Lots of things stand out when you watch Kon Knueppel II of Wisconsin Lutheran High School play basketball.

His size and physical strength are definite assets as he is 6-feet, 6-inches and 215 pounds.

His silky smooth jump shot, passing ability and accuracy from the foul line also hit you immediately. 

But what impresses people the most about Knueppel is his basketball instincts. Both of his parents, Kon Knueppel and Chari Nordgaard Knueppel, were standout players in high school and college, and Kon is proof positive the apple doesn't fall from the tree. 

Knueppel almost always makes the right play for the Vikings, who take a 28-0 record into this weekend's WIAA State Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison.

For his efforts, Knueppel was voted the recipient of the prestigious Mr. Basketball award, which will be presented to Kon and his family at the state tournament. The award is sponsored by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association and Tricor Insurance.

"Coach (Ryan) Walz told me I won the award on Monday and it's pretty cool to get such an award," Knueppel said. "It really wasn't a specific goal of mine during the year, per say. But coach and I talked a lot about how well the team does really affects individual awards. That's been our focus. So win, and things like individual awards will take care of themselves."

Ranked among the top 20 players nationally, Knueppel committed to play college basketball at Duke last fall. Marquette and Wisconsin were among his finalists, but he felt most at home on the Duke campus. 

Knueppel primarily played off the ball during his first three years of high school basketball, but Walz moved him to point guard this season after the graduation loss of Jamiir Allen. 

"I've been playing a lot of point guard and that has worked out well because I wanted to get better at my ball handling," Knueppel said. "We didn't really have a true point guard after Jamiir graduated so I took over and it's worked out really well."

Knueppel brings impressive averages of 26.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 5.1 apg into the state tournament. He is shooting 59 percent from the field, 39 percent from outside the three-point arc (68 of 173) and 85 percent from the line. 

Knueppel knew he'd have to become a big-time leader for this squad after the Vikings lost four starters to graduation. Together with Logan Rindfleisch, Grayson Young, Zavier Zens, Alex Greene, Isaiah Mellock and Trey Raabe, Knueppel and Co. have become one of the state's elite squads.

"Coach really loaded our schedule and when I looked at it at the beginning of the season, I thought we might drop a few," Knueppel said. "We had some tough games around Christmas against Saint Thomas More and De Pere, and then had to play Pewaukee twice. But our scouting has been great and we've executed our game plans very well."

Other finalists for the award included Dupree Fletcher Jr., of Carmen Northwest, Tim Franks of Homestead, Nick Janowski of Pewaukee, Jaquan Johnson of Pius XI Catholic and Amari McCottry of Saint Thomas More.

For a complete list of past Mr. Basketball award winners, please click here

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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