This 2025 4-star guard feels like he’s ‘already a part of the Badgers’

by 24USATVFeb. 11, 2024, 4:20 p.m. 23

Nicolet coach Terence Smith was able to get every Knight on the floor in his team’s senior night 40-point victory against Slinger — including team manager Owen Kalonihea. The home crowd erupted when the Concordia St. Paul football signee stepped on the floor deep in the second half. His first three shot attempts careened off the rim, much to the chagrin of the Nicolet faithful, but his fourth? Nothing but nylon.

Pandemonium ensued. Some students, reveling in the excitement of the occasion, found themselves spilling onto the court. Smith called timeout to allow his bench to celebrate Kalonihea’s triple, and Hannah joined his teammates near center court embracing the 6-foot-3 lineman.

“This game wasn’t for me; it was a special night for the seniors,” Hannah said. “We’ve only got three underclassmen and 12 seniors, and I just wanted them to have one of the best games. Our manager came in and hit a 3, and I was just all tears and smiles out there.”

Hannah, who leads Nicolet in scoring (19.6) and rebounding (7.5) according to WisSports, couldn’t find much of an offensive rhythm in his limited minutes Friday. He tallied just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting, alongside six rebounds and three assists.

But Hannah remained active defensively despite the middling offensive showing. It’s evident that Smith allows his standout player the freedom to roam and gamble defensively, which paid off almost instantly the moment he stepped on the floor.

Hannah, who was initially planted in the paint, sprung to the left wing to pick off a Slinger pass. The 6-foot-5 guard then took two dribbles from halfcourt before gliding to the hoop for a thunderous one-handed slam.

Hannah leads Nicolet with nearly two blocks per game, according to WisSports. He picked up another one against Slinger in the second half as he leapt from the center of the paint to contest a layup.

“You can’t coach blocked shots, that’s got to be within that person,” Hannah said. “I’m a person that’s hungry to block some shots. I find satisfaction out of blocking somebody’s shot and I’m going to continue to do that.”

Hannah said his mentality is where he “improved the most” from his sophomore to junior year. He knows not every shot is going to fall, so it’s imperative to not let that affect his energy in other aspects of the game.

“I’m not perfect. Nobody is,” Hannah said. “So if my shot’s not working, I’m going to go bring energy somewhere else. I’ll get the rebound, outlet the ball and just do all the little stuff that matters so we can win the game.”

“They treat me like I’m already a part of the Badgers,” Hannah said. “I really appreciate that they check up on me. I get a text from them when I wake up every morning. We’re so close that I might even text (assistant coach Sharif Chambliss) just to get advice or just to talk to somebody.

Hannah has been watching how the Badgers use sophomore guard AJ Storr to get a feel for how he might fit within the program. Hannah said the Wisconsin coaching staff envisions him sliding into a similar role.

As for the rest of his recruitment, Hannah remains focused on fostering the relationships he’s already built with other coaches and plans to schedule some official visits in the near future. Wisconsin is among three Big Ten programs — and a future fourth in Southern Cal — most heavily involved with Hannah, he said in an interview with On3 earlier this month.

“It would be before the next (high school) basketball season starts and after EYBL,” Hannah said. “I’m not in any rush to do it. I’ve got time.”


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