Pete Maravich, Pat Knight, Tony Bennett, Bryce Drew and Pat Beilein. The list seems virtually endless. Buddy Boeheim, R.J. Hunter, Bryce Alford, Ray McCallum, Tres Tinkle, Aubrey Dawkins, both of Fran McCaffery’s sons, Mike Davis’ kid. They all opted to play college hoops for their fathers. Doug McDermott committed to Northern Iowa in high school, but when Greg McDermott left Iowa State for Creighton, his kid changed his mind and wound up having a storied career in Omaha.
Now we can add Patrick Baldwin Jr. to the list.
Dads were nearly undefeated, but no father had ever had to go up against Coach K and Duke. This one was always going to be a war for Pat Baldwin.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. was the No. 1 high school junior in America. Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero have moved ahead of the sweet-shooting forward over the past year or so, but PBJ is still considered a top-five player and a likely lottery pick.
And Mike Krzyzewski loved him.
What’s not to love? The younger Baldwin is super-skilled, and he plays like a coach’s kid: a multi-dimensional forward who can make shots from anywhere, a selfless player who possesses an extremely high basketball IQ.
His father also happens to be Pat Baldwin — the head coach at the University of Milwaukee.
There haven’t been all that many kids who have spurned their dads. Billy Baron chose Tony Bennett and Charlottesville out of high school, but he lasted one semester at Virginia before transferring to play for his father at Canisius. Parker Stewart also started his career at Pittsburgh, but transferred to play for his dad, Anthony, at UT Martin following a coaching change.
But for the most part, fathers — with a big dose of help from the moms — have come out on top in the recruiting battles. But in nearly all of those cases, it wasn’t a recruiting battle where the dad had to go up against an elite program.
Except for when Jason Capel chose North Carolina over Old Dominion.
When his older brother, Jeff, picked Duke, his dad was still a Division 2 coach. But when Jason chose the Tar Heels, their father was at ODU.
“My dad told him not to go to ODU,” Jeff Capel told me.
It’s no surprise that PJB has opted to play for his father when you examine the track record of sons choosing their dads, but then you also factor in the fact that the elder Baldwin will enter his fifth season as the head coach at Milwaukee with a 47-70 overall record. There’s certainly a question of job security, and maybe PBJ can help in that department.
But the million-dollar question is why the younger Baldwin waited until May 12 to make a decision. He’s not one of those guys who is a self-centered black hole. In fact, he’s the opposite. Quiet, all about the right things, and unselfish both on and off the court.
Maybe it was that difficult of a decision to choose the mid-major Horizon league program over the ACC and the all-time winningest coach in college hoops history.
However, if he’d have committed months ago, the coaching staff might have been able to pluck another top 100 high school player or, at the very least, work the transfer portal to be able to put more talent around PJB.
Instead, Te’Jon Lucas decided to hit the transfer portal a couple weeks ago and has narrowed his list to a handful of schools. The Panthers haven’t landed anyone out of the portal yet, and now it may be the PBJ Show without enough pieces to help Milwaukee get to the postseason.
But none of that mattered for the younger Baldwin. This was all about playing for his father, just as it was for McDermott, Boeheim and all the others.
And not even Coach K could beat dad.