PEWAUKEE, Wis. (BVM) – Before he was considered one of the top basketball players in his class in the entire country, Pewaukee High School rising senior Nick Janowski was just a high school freshman looking to win state championships. Four state championships to be exact.
“That was his dream and I think people would’ve laughed at him if they heard him say that out loud,” Pewaukee head coach David Burkemper said.
While he may not have seemed destined to go on to do amazing things on the basketball court, that is exactly what Janowski has done with his Pirates team. So far, Janowski has helped lead Pewaukee to three consecutive WIAA Division II state titles, just one short of the goal he set as an incoming freshman.
“Now here we are, we’ve got a year left and nobody’s laughing,” Burkemper said. “I know he’s going to put in the work and I hope his teammates put in the work with him so they all have the opportunity to put a fourth banner up in our gym.”
With that success has also come increased recognition. Janowski now ranks as the No. 94 overall player in the country for the Class of 2024 and the No. 20 shooting guard according to 247Sports’ Composite Rankings. The 6-foot-3 two-guard also has a future in Power 5 college basketball, committing to the University of Nebraska program on April 14.
100% Committed❤️🤍 pic.twitter.com/kx1d65spqB
— Nick Janowski (@nick_janowski12) April 14, 2023
Janowski picked the Cornhuskers among eight other offers he had received from the likes of Iowa, Iowa State, Marquette and Wisconsin, among others. His coach understands the appeal of playing under Fred Hoiberg at Nebraska for Janowski.
“I think Nebraska fits him,” Burkemper said. “Hoiberg has been in the NBA, he runs an NBA offense, they can score the ball. I know they had a run last season and I hope they can build on it and Nick can take them from possible NIT [team] to the NCAA Tournament.”
During his junior season, Janowski proved just how crucial of a player he is to Pewaukee’s success. When an injury forced Janowski to miss the Pirates’ first seven games, his loss was felt as the team dropped two close contests.
“I think this year we really found out when he was out the first seven games we missed him,” Burkemper said. “Having a kid like Nick, the ball is going to be in his hand and he’s going to make clutch shots.”
Once the junior guard returned, he reinvigorated his club as the team went 23-1 down the stretch, including winning 10 straight en route to the state title. Janowski was a clear difference-maker for Pewaukee as he finished the campaign second on the team in scoring with 23.2 points per game. He also averaged 6.5 rebounds, second on the team, and led the Pirates in both assists with an average of 4.9 and steals with 1.4.
“When Nick came back he just gave everyone that confidence of ‘Hey we’re going to get better play-by-play and drill-by-drill,’” Janowski said. “He brings a level of confidence to your program and to your team that they can win every single night.”
For the Cornhuskers, they are getting a high-end scoring threat in the backcourt who can set up plays for his teammates, grab rebounds and even back down defenders in the post. While Janowski does a bit of everything well, Burkemper believes his shooting ability truly sets the guard apart.
“He can affect the game in all areas,” Burkemper said. “He’s a great rebounding guard, he has great size. We use him in the post as a scorer, we use him in the post as a passer. When he wants to shoot, he’s one of the best pure shooters I’ve seen just in terms of when he catches and shoots. He does not miss.”
Heading into his senior season, Janowski will be facing his toughest task yet. Not only will he be a senior leader of the team, but the Pirates will also be without star forward Milan Momcilovic, a top-40 Class of 2023 recruit and Iowa State commit. However, despite these pressures, Burkemper feels Janowski will do what it takes to win another state championship.
“Now that his commitment is over and he knows where he’s going to be, I expect him to lead our program as he has been doing for the past year and take it to another level,” Bukemper said. “He’s a determined winner. His three straight state championships show that.”
While many may have doubted Janowski’s ability to lead a program to four straight state titles, the rising senior is now just one state championship away from his lofty goal. Not only that, he’s one season away from joining a D-I program and taking his game to the Big Ten. Janowski is no stranger to the underdog role and he will look to further embrace that mindset with a Nebraska squad looking to make its first NCAA Tournament since 2014 and win its first tournament game in program history.
“His competitive spirit and work ethic are unmatched,” Burkemper said. “He’s got a confidence to him based on that work ethic. Any time he’s on the floor he gives his team a chance to win.”