The last time West Linn (OR) junior point guard Payton Pritchard was in Madison, it was cloudy, cold and the city's two signature lakes were frozen over. What a difference six months made.
Returning to the campus after visiting on a game weekend in January, Pritchard didn't deny that the summer trip made the same kind of impact despite the different environment.
"It's a lot different because I got to see everything without the cold," Pritchard told BadgerNation. "It's really beautiful. I really enjoyed my time because it's a great place here. I got to see the lakes and everything around it. It's so pretty here. It's really green here, which reminds me a lot of Oregon, which is one thing I really like about it."
Making a pit stop in Madison after attending the NBPA elite camp in Virginia, the 6-1, 175-pound Pritchard spent three days further building his relationship with the Wisconsin coaching staff. He has been well accustomed to assistant coach Gary Close, the lead recruiter for the three-star prospect who has watched him play live a number of times, but Pritchard said the time was valuable for getting to know Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and his other two assistants.
"(The relationship) has been great," said Pritchard. "We got to know each other a lot better. It grows a little bit each day. It's a great relationship. They see a big future for me and said (if I came to Wisconsin that) I'd be competing every day and they'd make me better."
The Badgers verbally offered Pritchard in April, the day the team left for the Final Four. Since then Pritchard has been offered by Arizona State, Butler, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA and Washington and says several more schools could offer in the month of July during the evaluation period.
"It's daunting but my parents help me a lot of it," said Pritchard. "They control a lot of it, so that takes a lot of the pressure off."
Getting himself ready for the month of July, Pritchard has been pushing himself to be a faster, stronger and consistent basketball player, which was why his trip to the NBPA camp was such a worthwhile experience.
"I had a great experience," said Pritchard. "It was great to be able to compete against the best like that. We just learned so much on and off the court."