BY RICH PALZEWIC
UW-Madison men’s basketball player Brevin Pritzl started 21 games last season for the Badgers, but it looks like the redshirt junior will be mostly coming off the bench in 2018-19.
Pritzl, a 2015 De Pere High School graduate, is okay with his sixth-man role status this year if it helps the team win.
“I think too many kids nowadays get caught up with the status of starting,” said the 6-foot-3½ inch Pritzl, who is the all-time leading scorer in De Pere history with 1,720 points. “By coming off the bench this year, it will be a different role, but I also think it will benefit me and the team. I’ll come in and play defense the best I can and be a spark. The team is a sum of the parts, and if the parts aren’t working to the best of their ability, you’re never going to succeed.”
Pritzl is scheduled to graduate in December with an undergraduate degree in exercise movement science but plans to stay at Madison as a graduate student and play next season as well.
Things didn’t start off great for Pritzl after he broke his left foot in August of 2015 at the end of the team’s summer training block. He started practicing in October again with the hopes of contributing yet that season.
“I was a little heavy and out of shape, but coach Bo Ryan really thought I could make an impact with my scoring ability,” he said. “I gave it a go, but I was clearly not where I needed to be. In late November we were traveling to Syracuse and I broke my foot again there. I think it was God’s way of telling me that I wasn’t ready yet.”
Pritzl came back for his second season after being given a medical redshirt in his initial campaign with the team and then averaged almost nine points a game last year. That included a 20-point outburst against Minnesota where he was 6-of-9 on three-pointers.
Pritzl laughed that a month before that contest, he went 0-for-9 in a game.
“It was tough coming back my redshirt freshman year because I was still trying to get back into shape,” he said. “I was struggling with my scoring, so I just did whatever I could to help the team win. Last year was nice because it was the first time I had really gotten extended minutes. I think it was indicative of some of the skills I have, but I can do more. This year is about establishing myself and getting better.”
Pritzl got off to a good start in the Badgers’ opening-season win against Coppin State Nov. 6, where he scored 16 points in 21 minutes of game action, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. Pritzl made his first four shots of the game before missing his final three.
Pritzl helped lead the Redbirds to 84 wins and four Fox River Classic Conference championships in his four years at De Pere. He was named all-state by both The Associated Press and the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association while being named the FRCC most valuable player.
Even though he looks back fondly on his De Pere days, that doesn’t mean he is totally satisfied with all he did.
“It’s a lot different thinking about my high school days now,” said Pritzl, who averaged 25.5 points per game his senior season. “Back then, we were just concerned about putting points on the board, as indicated by how many points I scored in my career. It’s fun to look back, but I never went to state – that’s the one thing I wish we could have done. My girlfriend Joelle Stewart (also a 2015 De Pere graduate) went to state twice and won four conference championships in soccer, so she holds that over me.”