UWM Must Make the Most of Patrick Baldwin Jr.’s One Year Stint
UWM is not known for beating out the likes of Georgetown and Duke. But when the recruit is the coach’s father, there is ample opportunity. Patrick Baldwin Jr. decided to stay home and play for his dad at UWM. Baldwin Jr. is a top recruit in the nation and a potential top 10 pick in next year’s NBA Draft. He will be staying in the city and giving the university its biggest moment since the days of Bruce Pearl, Ed McCants, and Joah Tucker. Now that Baldwin Jr. is at the university, it is up to his father and the school to make the most of this unique and special opportunity.
Coach Baldwin should be on the phone like a cold call salesman in the coming days. UWM should be looking to play some of the top-tier teams in the country. Teams will likely want to play Milwaukee. This can work in two ways. One, it gives his top recruit, Baldwin Jr., a chance to play against some of the best teams in the country as a barometer for where his game is. Two, it will make the school money. Typically, these would be considered buy games. Maybe with Baldwin Jr, it doesn’t qualify, but it should. That could help the university down the road, maybe not next year.
The other thing that Coach Baldwin should be doing is try and schedule Marquette next season. Marquette has a 26-0 record against the Panthers and doesn’t have much interest in playing them. It’s similar to Don Draper telling Michael Ginsberg that ‘he doesn’t think about him at all.’ But this is different with Baldwin Jr. Not to mention, this would be the first time two African-American head coaches are coaching the two Milwaukee universities. That would be a great moment for the city beyond the basketball.
Coach isn’t the only one that needs to do something, the university should be investing heavily into the basketball program. They play at the US Cellular Arena which is a dump, let’s be frank. But they should be working with the city on how to play a majority of their games there next season. Also, roll out different ticket packages to entice fans and also work on how to bring the student element back into it. UWM should be going all-in to make this the best possible fan experience. The on-campus arena isn’t big enough for Baldwin, therefore, the old MECCA will have to do.
We’ll see if Baldwin Jr. brings any change to a basketball program that has been rudderless for some time. They’re suddenly revived and ready to make a splash.