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De Pere’s Kinziger verbally commits to Illinois State University

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

DE PERE – De Pere boys’ basketball standout John Kinziger has made his college choice – at least verbally.

Recently, Kinziger, who will be a senior this upcoming season, verbally committed to play at Division I Illinois State University in Normal.

Kinziger said he’s happy to have the recruiting process behind him.

“The pressure is off,” he said. “The main focus is now on a few more AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) tournaments this summer and my senior year in high school.”

Kinziger said when he visited, the Illinois State campus felt like home.

“They offered me while I was there a few weeks ago,” he said. “I got along well with the coaches, and we built a great relationship. They’ve been there since day one – they wanted me. The relationship was huge, and their facilities are great.”

Kinziger also had Division I offers from Toledo and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB).

Kinziger’s younger brother Zach, a sophomore, was also recently offered by UWGB.

“I always thought playing at Green Bay would be cool,” John Kinziger said. “It was more about the relationship I had built with Illinois State than anything else. It was a hard decision, but I had a long talk with my parents. We discussed the pros and cons of each.”

Having scored 1,570 career points in his three years on varsity in 78 games (20.1 points per game average), Kinziger helped lead the Redbirds to a 25-3 record and a Division 1 sectional final berth last season.

Kinziger is only 30 points away from passing Craig Haese (1,600 career points) for second on the all-time career scoring list for boys at De Pere and 150 points away from passing leader Brevin Pritzl (1,720), who played at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I didn’t realize I was that close to second,” Kinziger laughed. “I knew I was getting up there. It’s not on my mind too much. The main priority is winning. If you don’t win, nothing else matters. It would be cool to hold the scoring record, though.”

With the help of Zach, 6-foot-8 junior Will Hornseth, who’s also drawing strong Division I interest, and senior Gabe Herman, who also serves as the starting quarterback of the football team, Kinziger said his team has one goal for the 2022-23 season.

“We have the talent to win a state title,” he said. “We all know what we’re capable of, and we have high expectations. We know nothing will be given to us, and we have to work hard.”

Although in a different sport, Kinziger will have a few familiar faces at Illinois State in JP Gauthier (De Pere), Josh Blount (West De Pere) and Duece Musial II (Notre Dame Academy) from the baseball team.

“I know JP and Duece quite well but don’t know Josh much,” Kinziger said. “It will be cool to have a few familiar faces there. They can show me around the campus.”

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