Bruesewitz Ready for Wisconsin

The first commitment of the 2009 class, 6-foot-7 Minnesota forward Mike Bruesewitz talks with Badger Nation about his verbal commitment with the Badgers and the journey that led him to Wisconsin.

MADISON – Mike Bruesewitz has a lot to be thankful right now in his basketball life.

A junior from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, is leading his high school varsity team, Henry Sibley H.S., with an average of 17 points and 11 rebounds per game. Furthermore, Bruesewitz is one of the main reasons Henry Sibley currently holds an 18-4 record, a 14-game winning streak and No.5 ranking Minnesota Basketball AAAA poll.

"We are really pulling it together right now," Bruesewitz told Badger Nation. "We have six or seven guys that can hurt you each night. We've had probably six leading scorers throughout the season. All five of our starters are averaging over 10 points per game and our six and seven guys are averaging seven to eight points.

"We have seven guys that can put the ball in the bucket. The fact that we have so much balance makes us a tough team to guard."

But more exciting than the success of his high school team is his future, which Bruesewitz started to sort out this past Tuesday when he gave Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan his first verbal commitment for 2009.

"After my visit to Wisconsin, I really liked these guys a lot," Bruesewitz said. "It's a great basketball program and a great school in general. After I went to Wisconsin, I wanted to weight my options but I was behind Wisconsin."

Wisconsin started showing interest in Bruesewitz, according to him, about five games in Henry Sibley's season, right before Christmas time and offered him a scholarship on January 25th.

At the same time, however, Big Ten-rival Iowa also has taken an interest in the forward, offering a scholarship, and Washington State was also showing interest in Bruesewitz.

But the other school that really caught Bruesewitz's attention was new Horizon League member Valparaiso, who made a hard push for the junior.

"The fact that Wisconsin is a great academic school all around and that it has gotten pretty tough to get into as of late appealed to me but Valparaiso made it tough on me and made it a tougher decision than I thought it would be," Bruesewitz said. "That is a great school over there academically and real good basketball over there, as well."

Coming down February 9 for an unofficial visit for Wisconsin's game against Purdue, Bruesewitz travelled to Indiana for an unofficial visit at Valparaiso.

"I kind of got the feel of a big school and the feel of a smaller school," he said. "That was a pretty big deal for me."

Both schools, in his eyes, were a dead equal in terms of quality basketball programs, academics and facilities. So, after sitting down with his family, Bruesewitz decided that the bigger campus and atmosphere was the better fit for him.

"The only really defining factor that I had between those two was that I felt that I wanted a little bit of a bigger school and not a small school," he said. "Valparaiso was right there but the only knock on them was that they were a little bit too small for me."

If he continues to improve and holds onto his character traits, Wisconsin fans have a lot to be excited about. A versatile 6-foot-7 player that can play multiple positions in Bo Ryan's system, Bruesewitz is a hard working post player that fits into the mold of player the Wisconsin coach has recruited since he's been at Madison, which makes Bruesewitz honored that the coach would chose him.

"He's a winner," Bruesewitz said of Ryan. "I don't know how many games he's lost over his career, but he started winning at Platteville and he's been winning his whole entire life. He's incorporated a system that recruits a certain way that he goes out and doesn't try to get those five-star players, but guys that fit into his system more than anything else. He wins with his system.

"It makes me feel real good that he thinks I can fit into his system, which makes me happy with my decision," he added. "I am overjoyed right now. I can't even explain it."

If Wisconsin fans are looking for a current Badger to compare Bruesewitz's style of play to, look no further than junior forward Joe Krabbenhoft. Scoring 7.3 points per game, Krabbenhoft is more than a scorer, being aggressive on the glass, hustling for loose balls and being a leader on the floor.

"Being compared to Joe is really such a compliment," Bruesewitz said. "I really enjoy watching Joe Krabbenhoft play because you never really see him. Sometimes he goes off for a few points here or there but he's not always putting up the big numbers offensively. But the thing he does, he plays defense, he rebounds and he always seems to get those loose balls. I am honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as him."

Looking to finish out the season with a state championship and condition hard during the summer months, Bruesewitz will wait to take his official visit in the fall when the rest of the 2009 class is sorted out. That way, he can travel to Madison with his new teammates and start building a relationship.

Until that time and with his recruiting decision already made, Bruesewitz is focused on getting that much better on the court and bulking up in the gym so that he can instantly provide a spark for his college team – a journey that he can't wait to start.

"Now that I have committed and made my decision, I am going to focus on basketball and work as hard as I can," Bruesewitz said. "I have my scholarship now to a great school and that's because of the hard work. Now, I have to keep improving so that I can come in and fight for a starting spot. If I don't get it, I don't get it, but I am going to bust my butt as much as possible to make that situation happen."

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