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Grzesk commits to UW hoops

By Rich Palzewic

Notre Dame Academy junior girls’ basketball player Gracie Grzesk knows a thing or two about college recruiting.

With approximately 20 Division I offers on the table, Grzesk’s college basketball dreams turned into reality on Oct. 28 when she verbally committed to continue her academic and athletic career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison beginning in fall 2024.

“(The recruiting process) was fairly stressful at times with all the communication and trying to balance school and workouts, so in that respect, I’m relieved it’s over,” Grzesk said. “Now I can concentrate on playing basketball during my last two high school years and trying to help us win
a few more state championships. It’s exciting to know my future is set for me.”

Some of her other offers were from Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee, Illinois State, Youngstown State, Toledo, Northwestern, Tulsa, Butler and Central Michigan.

Even though Grzesk still has two more years of high school, she said she wanted to commit before the upcoming season.

“I’ve always been a fan of UW-Madison,” said Grzesk, who will study sports psychology and hopes to coach someday. “I grew up going to their camps, so the school is familiar to me. When they offered me this summer, it was exciting for me — it was my first high major offer. I was completely OK with going to a mid-major, too, but I think Wisconsin is the best fit for me overall.”

Grzesk’s father, Gary, the current men’s basketball coach at St. Norbert College, played at Green Bay, while her mom, Liz, played for Youngstown State.

Grzesk was offered by Green Bay going into her freshman year at Notre Dame.

“It was a tough decision because Green Bay was my first offer — the first school to recruit me,” she said. “There were benefits of attending both Wisconsin and Green Bay, but ultimately, I’m happy with my decision.”

Grzesk won’t officially sign her national letter of intent until early November 2023.

Because she won’t potentially see a college floor for another two years, she said she’s not quite sure of the plan once she gets to Wisconsin.

“I haven’t had those discussions with the coaches because it’s so early, but I fully intend to step in right away, contribute and not redshirt — unless maybe I got injured,” she said.

During the last five seasons, the Badgers have fallen on hard times, going 49-98 overall and 16-74 in the Big Ten Conference.

With both of her parents playing college basketball, Grzesk said they were instrumental in her development.

“Although it’s a different time, my mom and dad both went through the recruiting process years ago,” she said. “They’ve helped in the process, both as coaches and parents. They’ve pushed me to be my best, and I wouldn’t be in this position without their help.”

Grzesk has been a big reason why Notre Dame has won back-to-back WIAA Division 2 state championships and gone 57-2 during that span.

“Gracie is a coach’s dream,” Notre Dame coach Sara Rohde said. “She does all the right things — her work ethic, positive attitude, leadership, decision-making, time management and communication are all impressive for a junior in high school. She’s a winner on and off the court, and that’s what makes her special.”

During her freshman year, Grzesk averaged 12 points per game and led the team in made 3-point field goals.

Last season, she averaged 15.3 points per game.

With the Tritons having at least three Division I recruits — Trista Fayta and Peyton Musial being the other two — on their roster, they appear primed to make a state run each of the next two seasons.

“I’m very excited for the next two seasons, but at the same time, we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves — anything can happen,” Grzesk said. “Our motto for this season is ‘One by One.’”

The Tritons begin practice Monday, Nov. 7, with their first game being Saturday, Nov. 19, at Pewaukee.

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