Brevin Pritzl – Going Out a Winner

March 7th, 2020 – Bloomington, Indiana – 9:46 remaining in the second half – Brevin Pritzl’s jumper cut Indiana’s lead over Wisconsin to seven points and the Badger comeback was on.  No one knew at the time, but this was the last bucket that Pritzl would score in the Cardinal and White.

The career of Brevin Pritzl at Wisconsin is difficult to put into context.  On one hand, you have a player who committed to the university as a Top 50 recruit and a Top 100 recruit who was being touted as the next great Wisconsin shooter.  Some people might say that he did not live up to those lofty expectations.  On the other hand, you have a young man who showed how much he wanted to be a Badger by committing quickly after receiving his offer and he represented the program and university with nothing but class and character for five years.

Brevin Pritzl was an absolute menace while playing for De Pere High School.  He led the program to four straight conference titles while finishing as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,720 points.  Pritzl earned first-team all-state honors in both his junior and senior years and started to see his stock rise later in his career.  Despite offers from Xavier, Creighton, Marquette, and a handful of mid-major schools, Pritzl was content waiting on an in-state offer from Wisconsin, the team he grew up rooting for.  Interest from schools like Michigan, Indiana, and North Carolina was not enough to get him to take his eyes off the prize of a Badger scholarship and he showed his love by committing to Wisconsin in late May of 2014, two days after receiving his official offer.

March 7th, 2020 – Bloomington, Indiana – 4:39 remaining in the second half – Brevin Pritzl secures his last rebound in a Wisconsin Badgers uniform.  

Pritzl’s career at Wisconsin required an early rebound as a broken foot forced him to miss all but one game, and four minutes, in his freshman season in 2015-2016.  The team would also have to pivot early in the campaign with the sudden retirement of Bo Ryan and the elevation of Greg Gard to the main seat on the bench.  The team would fight and claw its way to a Sweet 16 appearance and an eventual gut-wrenching loss to Notre Dame, with Pritzl a bystander on the bench due to his injury.

The Badgers were poised for another good season in 2016-2017 with almost every player returning, including Brevin Pritzl, who was granted a redshirt for missing the year before.  With the loaded lineup ahead of him, Pritzl found it difficult to get any substantial playing time.  Brevin saw himself enter 24 games during the campaign while averaging a mere 1.9 points and 1.1 rebounds during that action. The team again would make a post-season run to the Sweet 16 only to lose in an even more heart-breaking manner than the year before to the Florida Gators on a last-second three-point shot.

The 2017-2018 season was the year that Brevin Pritzl was going to see consistent playing time…but little did he know, he would wind up as one of the only healthy guards on the roster before it was all said done.  D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King saw their seasons derailed early due to injuries and Brad Davison gutted through a shoulder that would pop out of its socket multiple times during games.  The increase in minutes during his redshirt sophomore year saw Brevin Pritzl have his best statistical season in both points (8.9 per game) and rebounds (3.8 per game) but would see the team struggle mightily.  The season would end in a Big Ten Tournament loss to Michigan State in New York City, the first time the Badgers failed to make the NCAA Tournament in 19 seasons.

Brevin Pritzl’s redshirt junior year in 2018-2019 saw him help get the program back to the NCAA Tournament.  The numbers were not as impressive as the year before (4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game), but that was due to the return of King and Trice to the Badgers lineup.  Pritzl scored in double figures in 4 games throughout the season but struggled down the stretch in Big Ten Tournament play and the opening round NCAA loss to Oregon.  Badger Nation was anxiously awaiting to see what he would bring in his final year as a Badger!!

March 7th, 2020 – Bloomington, Indiana – 5:12 remaining in the second half – Brevin Pritzl would take his final shot as a Wisconsin Badger, a 3-point field goal that was a miss.

Brevin Pritzl started his redshirt senior year out with a difficult performance against St. Mary’s.  In 22 minutes, Pritzl took 0 shots as the Badgers would go on to lose to the Gaels in overtime.  This game was a microcosm of the Pritzl’s career at the University of Wisconsin.  Brevin Pritzl never became the type of player that would hunt for his shot, despite his teammates always talking about them wanting him to shoot more.  Nigel Hayes and other former Badgers spoke on numerous occasions about the type of shooter that Brevin was in practice.  Taking a ton of shots was just not something that ever looked like it felt comfortable for him.  The Badgers would probably have been just fine with him taking more shots because when he scored, they typically won.  Pritzl scored in double figures eleven times during the 2019-2020 season and the Badgers record in those eleven games was a perfect 11-0.  

Brevin Pritzl’s career ended with him and his teammates hoisting the Big Ten Regular Season Championship trophy in the locker room of Assembly Hall on the campus of Indiana University.  The COVID-19 global pandemic put an end to a season that saw the Badgers, and Pritzl, playing their best basketball at the right time.  NCAA Tournament success is largely due to matchups, but Pritzl could have very easily had a Jon Bryant type shooting display while leading the Badgers deep in the bracket.  Instead, we will have to be content with what could have been.  We do know what Brevin Pritzl meant to the University of Wisconsin.  He was a great ambassador for the Wisconsin Basketball program for five years, earning Academic All-Big Ten Honors in 2017, 2019, and 2020 and was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2020.  How many seniors at Wisconsin can say the finished their careers as a Big Ten Champion while winning their final career game?

Every Wisconsin Badger fan is thankful for everything that Brevin Pritzl brought to the floor during his career in Madison and we look forward to seeing that success carry over to his post-basketball endeavors.  

Article By: Brian Denu

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