By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – With Zach Kinziger helping his De Pere boys’ basketball team win a WIAA Division I state championship in March, it only makes sense the junior’s recruiting process is nearing the boiling point.
Following in his older brother Johnny’s Division I journey, the younger Kinziger has also been drawing plenty of attention in the collegiate ranks.
His most recent Division I offer came from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a member of the Big Ten Conference.
“It’s been a fun ride so far,” Kinziger said. “I didn’t expect (my recruiting) to be quite this active, but it’s a neat process. I appreciate all the love I’ve been getting from the schools and coaches. I’ve started to create relationships and have been learning about the different programs — I’m grateful for that.”
Kinziger said having his older brother — who scored 2,134 career points at De Pere and a Division I commit to Illinois State — go through the process helped.
“I got to go along with Johnny in the process,” he said. “It’s a bit different for me now because different coaches/programs recruit you differently.”
Other current Division I offers for Kinziger include Cal Poly, Illinois State, Toledo and UW-Green Bay.
“I’m still talking to a good number of schools, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more offers came my way,” he said. “In terms of committing, I’m not sure how long I’ll wait. If I find the best fit for me, I’ll probably jump on it. If I feel a school is a good fit, I don’t see any reason to wait. It could be a week from now, or it could be next year.”
Kinziger has also heard from Notre Dame, Northwestern, Iowa, Iowa State, Colorado State, Northern Iowa, Harvard and Belmont.
The 6-foot-3 guard, who is one of the highest-rated players in the state from the class of 2025, averaged 15.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a sophomore for the undefeated 30-0 Redbirds.
During his stellar sophomore campaign, he also shot 43% from beyond the 3-point arc (55-of-128) and 87% from the free-throw line.
As a freshman, he pumped in 8.2 points per game.
As for the recruiting process, though Kinziger said it’s fun, it’s also stressful.
“I think once it’s over, I’ll have some relief,” he said. “I’m not taking (the recruiting process) for granted, though. When it’s over, the pressure will be off, and I can focus more on just playing.”
Of his five Division I offers thus far, Kinziger has some good options close to home in Green Bay, Illinois State and Wisconsin.
“With Johnny playing at Illinois State, there’s an obvious connection there,” he said. “My parents and the rest of my family for sure would come to quite a few games. For me to team up with Johnny again in college would be fun.”
UW-Green Bay Former Coach Will Ryan offered Kinziger well before he was released from his duties earlier this year in January.
In mid-March, Green Bay hired Sundance Wicks to become the ninth head coach in program history.
“After a great talk with coach Sundance Wicks, I am blessed and grateful to have my previous offer reaffirmed by Green Bay,” Kinziger tweeted in a May 3 Twitter post.
Kinziger said staying home in Green Bay would be appealing.
“It’s in my backyard, so my friends and family could come and I’d get a bunch of support from them,” he said.
As for Wisconsin, Kinziger said, “It’s every kid’s dream to get a Power 5 offer from an in-state school.”
“That offer is intriguing,” he said. “Wisconsin has been in touch with me for a bit now and offered me after I went to a camp there — I had a good showing.”
Kinziger said he’s thought seriously about all three of the previously-mentioned offers, but he has to give it more thought.
“And, it’s not just those three,” he said. “I’ve found each school has something unique to offer.”
Earlier this year, De Pere won its first state championship in boys’ basketball since 1934.
“Last season was special, but I think we’re going to have another great year coming up,” Kinziger said. “We’d like to chase another gold ball.”
Among others, the Redbirds have 6-foot-8 senior Will Hornseth — who recently committed to Division I Northern Iowa — and 6-foot-5 junior Pryce Gregoire returning to their lineup this upcoming season.
Gregoire recently received a Division II offer from Northern Michigan University.