Posted by Jeff Borzello
RALEIGH, N.C. – Not many high school sophomores receive scholarship offers from Kansas, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The ones that do are usually very confident in their abilities to deal with the attention.
Bronson Koenig, though, admits he is struggling with the additional pressures brought on by the early offers from big-name schools.
“I mean, I’m handling it,” Koenig said last week at the Tournament of Champions, minutes from UNC’s Chapel Hill campus. “I’m not very good at it yet. But I’m trying to get better.”
Koenig, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Aquinas (Wisc.), is also looking to get better with his game. Right now, Koenig has the ability to play both guard positions, but is best attribute is his 3-point shooting ability. He has tremendous range and a very nice stroke on his jumper. While Koenig isn’t explosive or extremely quick, he has good ball-handling ability and the swagger to run a team.
“I try to bring leadership and distributing the basketball,” he said. “And score when they need me to score.”
While schools like Virginia are also coming after Koenig, the three he is focused on are Wisconsin, North Carolina and Kansas. The Badgers offered him last June, but he really made headlines when North Carolina offered him in February.
Roy Williams is notorious for waiting until a prospect’s junior year to offer players, but the Tar Heels had been highly-interested in Koenig since watching him nail multiple 3-pointers last summer alongside North Carolina-commit J.P. Tokoto on the Wisconsin Playground Warriors.
“I don’t know how to explain it, but it felt really good,” Koenig said of the early offer.
Kansas joined the fray last month after Koenig and the rest of his AAU team went to Lawrence, Kan. for the Jayhawk Invitational.
The three schools are clearly in front for Koenig, but neither of the three stands out in particular at this point.
“They’re all recruiting me the hardest,” he said. “I like them all the same. I feel comfortable, I like the coaching staffs. I want to go to a program that can go to the NCAA national championship – because I just like to win.”
Clearly, all three schools have very good histories and traditions, but Koenig discussed the specifics of each school that appealed to him.
With North Carolina, Koenig seemed to like everything about the Tar Heels.
“Just the program in general, with McDonald’s All-Americans,” he said. “The coaches, the facilities.”
The hometown Badgers have the local angle.
“I just felt comfortable there,” Koenig said. “Some guys are from Playground [his AAU team].”
Kansas is the most recent to enter his top three, but the Jayhawks are squarely in the mix.
“Me and my parents got to sit down with coach Self,” Koenig said. “I like how he plays ball.”
The comparisons have already begun for Koenig. While he likens himself to former Wisconsin guard Devin Harris, the most common one is Kirk Hinrich, who played under Williams at Kansas.
Not surprisingly, the comparison stems from Williams, who showed tape of Hinrich to Koenig when he checked out the Tar Heels’ campus.
“I see myself as more of a point guard,” Koenig said. “At Wisconsin, they wanted me as a point guard, but Roy Williams said I can play the point guard, 2-guard or 3-guard.”
By the time he is ready to make a college decision, Koenig will undoubtedly be able to handle either guard position – and better deal with the pressures that come from being a big-time recruit.
Photos: Lacrosse Tribune