Senior seeks state appearance
By Erik Buchinger
Hortonville High School senior Ryan Krueger signed his national letter of intent to play for South Dakota State University on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
“It was a great experience,” Krueger said. “It’s a really good opportunity for me to have a lot of people that supported me and helped me through my basketball career to this point there, to see them all together at once. It was a great opportunity to get reconnected with all these people.”
The 6-foot-6 guard/forward from New London will enter his third season with Hortonville on Friday, Dec. 2 when the Polar Bears play Kaukauna on the road.
Krueger played for New London during his freshman season where he was the Bulldogs’ fourth leading scorer.
When Hortonville left the Bay Conference for the Fox Valley Association prior to the 2014-15 academic year, Krueger decided it was time to make a move.
“A big part of it was Hortonville going into the FVA, which is a bigger conference and better competition in basketball,” Krueger said. “I felt it was good to get into a bit of a bigger district. There are more kids and more academic opportunities, which was another big part of the reason why I came over to Hortonville.”
Krueger said he made the decision with help from his parents.
“It’s something that me and my family decided was just a better fit for me in the long run,” Krueger said.
In his first season with the Polar Bears, Krueger scored 12.3 points per game as a sophomore, and his recruitment began.
“Towards the end of my sophomore year and the summer after is when my initial recruiting first started with a couple D-II schools,” Krueger said. “Into my junior year is when the Division I schools started coming around and started talking to me quite a bit.”
Krueger broke out during his junior season, as he led the team in scoring with 21 points per game, which led to more interest from Division I schools.
After making an appearance in the NCAA tournament this spring, South Dakota State head coach Scott Nagy left for the same position at Wright State. More than a week later, Iowa State assistant T.J. Otzelberger was hired to replace Nagy.
A few days after getting the job, Otzelberger called to offer a full scholarship for Krueger, who had begun AAU practices with Wisconsin Swing.
Krueger kept his recruitment open through his AAU season, and he received offers from UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee and Lafayette with interest from several other mid-major schools.
After his last AAU tournament, Krueger verbally committed to South Dakota State in late July.
“Out of all my options that I had for my college recruitment, South Dakota State was really the full package,” Krueger said. “They have a great engineering program, so academics was a fit. The coaching staff recruited me extremely hard, so it was a no-brainer. I got to meet the teammates a few times, and I got along with them greatly, so the full package of basketball and everything along with academics and the college experience there just seemed like the perfect fit.”
In his senior season of high school, Krueger said his biggest goal is to make it to Madison conclude his high school career.
“I think our biggest goal is to go to state and be playing in the Kohl Center,” Krueger said. “We’re going to be shooting to win the conference, and that would be my biggest goal of the season – to play really well in conference and hopefully get to state.”
Krueger said he does not think about how his basketball career would have been different if he stayed at New London.
“I don’t think about it a whole lot,” Krueger said. “There’s a lot of friends and a lot of great people in New London that I’m still connected with, but ever since I became a Polar Bear, I was focused on playing my hardest as a Polar Bear and doing the best I could for this program. I don’t regret it at all.”