|4/15/2021 9:29:00 AM|
closer to home
By Levi Zimmerman
19-year-old Isaac Lindsey, a 2020 Mineral Point High School graduate, has recently become the first transfer for next season to the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team under Greg Gard.
Lindsey was a stand-out basketball player at Mineral Point, as he averaged over 20 points per game as a junior and was named to the all-state team twice.
He also performed at a high level on the football and baseball fields and was consistently recognized on the area and state level.
Lindsey is ranked seventh all time in state history in passing yards with 7,467 yars and is fifth in passing touchdowns with 85.
Due to an injury that he sustained while playing quarterback for the Pointers, Lindsey was only able to play five games in his senior basketball season.
Despite this, he was able to receive a full-ride athletic scholarship to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
As COVID was making its impact and the former Pointer was coming to terms with the severity of his hip injury, he remained optimistic.
"Covid was tough for everyone in the 2020 class and I'm coming off of two hip surgeries, but I think all of these experiences have made me a better person and allowed me to appreciate all of the blessings I've been given," Lindsey stated.
While he was beginning his career at MPHS, Lindsey had already started to think of his future and prepare for the opportunities.
He said, "I felt lucky to be able to play for T.J. Otzelberger, as he had developed a great relationship since I was a freshman in high school."
Otzelberger played collegiate hoops at UW-Whitewater and was a bench coach and recruiter at Iowa State before becoming head coach at UNLV.
Otzelberger has gained recognition over the years as one of the top recruiters in the country.
He followed Lindsey's career at MPHS and decided to invest in him when he took the job at UNLV in 2019.
"Receiving a full-ride scholarship is something that I had worked for my whole life," he added.
Lindsey wasn't able to see any playing time for the Runnin' Rebels as a freshman due to the hip injury, so he received a medical redshirt.
In March, it was announced that Otzelberger would be leaving UNLV to become the next men's basketball head coach at Iowa State.
The departure had a significant impact on Lindsey, as he had become close to Otzelberger.
"I was disappointed when he left; being stuck halfway across the country didn't feel like the best fit, so Ii decided to enter the transfer portal to see if there were other opportunities for me," said Lindsey.
Not long after making this decision, Lindsey received a call that would make his dream a reality.
"While the portal decision was stressful, when I got the call from Coach Gard saying he would like me to join the Badgers basketball team, I knew I had made the best decision of my life," he expressed.
The former Runnin' Rebel has accepted a Preferred Walk-On offer at UW, which is an offer from the Head Coach that comes without any financial assistance at least for the first year.
Preferred walk-ons can earn a scholarship going into their second season, but it's not guaranteed.
Lindsey added that he has dreamt of playing for the Wisconsin Badgers since he first picked up a basketball.
He and his family have maintained a strong relationship with the UW program over the years, and he believes it has led him to where he is today.
Lindsey consistently attended Badgers basketball camps and was a "ball boy" for a number of men's games in addition to performing during halftime as a dribbler in his youth.
His family have been long-time season ticket holders for UW football and basketball games.
"During all of those opportunities on the UW campus, I was able to develop a relationship with Coach Gard and his staff," Lindsey stated.
The Badgers will be without a number of key figures at guard that include Brad Davison, although Davison has the ability to come back for an extra senior season that the NCAA granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UW will be inexperienced at guard, as fellow freshmen Lourne Bowman and Chucky Hepburn haven't seen a minute of playing time on the college level.
Lindsey has a chance of making an impact as a newcomer, and he feels grateful to be a part of a prominent team.
"I truly feel I know what it takes to be a Badger, and I'm incredibly excited for the opportunity to be a part of this program," he stated.
Lindsey will be pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in the health sciences at UW while playing hoops.
He stated that he takes pride in being a Pointer and representing the Mineral Point community.
He hopes that he will encourage other Pointers to follow their dreams by making the move.
" I hope that returning home to be a Badger gives me the opportunity to inspire future Mineral Point kids to pursue their dreams like I have."
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