J.J. Panoske’s senior season with the Brodhead Cardinals ended abruptly the same night Milwaukee beat Valparaiso in the Horizon League semi-finals. After the Panthers’ NIT loss to Northwestern, PantherU got an opportunity to talk to J.J. again in the beginning of the off-season.
Jimmy Lemke: So, you made it to the conference tournament and the NIT game at Northwestern. How did you enjoy the atmosphere?
J.J. Panoske: Getting to come and watch at the championship game was alot of fun, I brought up a lot of my family and they were really suprised on the turn out. And having so many fans come up to me and welcome me to Milwaukee already made me feel at home. Also, the NIT game was a great atmosphere, a good experience to watch Milwaukee on the road.
JL: The Panthers on the court weren’t the only ones whose seasons were ended with a cruel loss. Your senior season at Brodhead ended with a crushing loss to Clinton. Are you sad to see your high school career end without ever getting to state?
JJP: I was devastated to say the least in the locker room after that game, and it hurt for quite awhile, but I’m ready now to start working hard in the off season to get into college shape.
JL: Clinton held you to just 14 points, which is 10 below your season average. What was it that they did to get you out of rhythm, and what did you learn from that?
JJP: Clinton has a very disciplined defense and it gave me a lot of trouble. But it game me more motivation, I think, to play them a lot tougher in the regional final game.
JL: Obviously you’ve had contact with the coaches in Milwaukee recently. With just a few months left of high school, did they have any advice on how to spend your time preparing for D-I college basketball?
JJP: The coaches told me to work mostly on ball handling and lifting. I get in the gym three mornings a week to work specifically on ballhandling and shooting. Also, my strength class in school is taking care of my weight-gaining situation. I can see improvements from the work I have been putting in.
JL: A lot of the guys come and spend most of their summer in Milwaukee. Part of the reason is because the atmosphere in the city is awesome in summer, but the real reason is that it gives them the edge on meshing as a team before the season. Do you plan on spending some or all of your summer in the city?
JJP: I will most likely be moving in towards the end of June to continue my off season training with the team. Most of my summer will be spent in Milwaukee just getting to know the team and becoming closer.