Podziemski, Joplin headline state's stacked signing day

Many high school athletes dream of the chance to compete in college and one of the most important days for those who will get that opportunity is signing day, in front of friends and family at your high school.

You could read the signs on Wednesday, April 14. 4-1-4 can dial up high school basketball talent with any part of the country.

The state's Mr. Basketball put pen to paper and his Champaign dreams came to life.

Brandin Podziemski of St. John's Northwestern Military Academy is headed to Illinois.

"It's crazy," Podziemski said. "It's almost surreal. This has been my dream since I picked up a basketball in eighth grade. I'm just proud of myself, but it all goes to my work ethic. I think that's taken me everywhere so far in life so I'm just going to keep doing the same thing and keep taking the next step."

David Joplin was prepared to go all the way from Brookfield Central to the University of Texas in order to play for coach Shaka Smart.

But about two weeks before signing day, Smart was named the new coach at Marquette, significantly closer than Austin, Texas. Joplin picked Smart again.

"Everything went full circle," said Joplin. "It's crazy. Like you said the commitment to Texas, I was going to go far away then Shaka came to me so I'm like. "Alright cool let's make it happen." Everything went well. I've always wanted to leave because of the weather and everything, but staying in my own city is cool when you think about it because I'm with my family, the people who I know and love so I'm going to have my support system super strong."

While Joplin started leaning toward MU once Smart and his coaching staff made the move north, signing day was still somewhat stressful.

"I was a little nervous, but I told coach, "Good thing it's on the court because that's where I feel at home,"" Joplin said. "Seeing everybody smile and super happy to see me, it took a little bit of the pressure off. I think I did a good job. I think I did alright."

Podziemski finalized his decision after visiting Illinois last weekend. He expects to be an immediate contributor for the Illini, which fits the profile of many other uber-talented members of the Wisconsin class of 2021 who are heading for Division I opportunities.

"I think WIsconsin is super underrated," said Podziemski. "You look at the big states like Florida, California, Texas, that's where the majority of the talent comes from, but you've got guys like us that just love to win and love to play so we're on the rise and I think the 2021 class in our state is probably the best that we've ever had in the state."

Wisconsin's class of 2021 is sending players from coast to coast for college, but one of the most intriguing prospects might stay right here in town.

Patrick Baldwin of Sussex Hamilton hasn't chosen his school yet, but his father is the coach at UW-Milwaukee, and the Panthers are still in the running for Patrick Jr.