KIMBERLY, Wis. (WFRV) – Just months after winning the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year award, Kimberly grad Jackson Paveletzke entered the transfer portal after one season at Wofford College and committed to Iowa State.
Paveletzke took the high school basketball scene in the Fox Valley by storm during his tenure with the Papermakers. He averaged 30 points per game during his senior year at Kimberly and became the school’s all-time leading scorer, boys or girls, with 1,674 points. After winning the Fox Valley Association’s Player of the Year award twice during his high school tenure, Paveletzke decided to further his playing career at Wofford.
“Playing with the Kimberly jersey on and playing for the community was always a good time,” Paveletzke said. “Looking back now, it’s pretty crazy. It’s special.”
Paveletzke turned heads during his freshman season at Wofford. He told Local 5 he wanted to go into college and make a statement, which turned out to be downplaying what he would go on to do last season. Paveletzke started every single game for the Terriers and became the top freshman scorer in school history with 497 points, 88 rebounds, and 123 assists. His freshman of the year award gathered plenty of attention throughout the country, which led him to enter the transfer portal this spring.
“It was a great experience and a great first year. I kind of found a spot because, out of high school, I was under-recruited. So going to Wofford? I look at it as a blessing for me. I got to go there, show my talents and show who I really was,” Paveletzke expressed. “Going there was great for me just to showcase my skillset and show that I can play at the highest level.”
When Paveletzke entered his name into the transfer portal, his phone didn’t stop buzzing.
“It was certainly crazy. After a lot of talks with my family, I decided to put my name in the portal. The first couple of days were crazy. I was on the phone all day, every day, talking to new coaches. As time went on, schools came down to Wofford and visited me,” Paveletzke explained.
According to On3 Sports, Paveletzke heard from more than 20 different colleges in the short time he was in the portal. That list included the Wisconsin Badgers.
When it came down to deciding where Paveletzke would continue his playing career, Iowa State was the no-brainer.
“Iowa State really stuck out to me,” Paveletzke said. “One thing that stuck out was when they were in the NCAA Tournament playing Pittsburgh, and the morning of, head coach T. J. Otzelberger was face-timing me after practice on the court. As soon as they lost, he was on a flight to come see me the next day.”
Cyclones men’s basketball coach T.J. Otzelberger is from Milwaukee and played college basketball at UW-Whitewater. The Wisconsin connection was strong between Otzelberger and Paveletzke.
“My family and I are big into relationships,” Paveletzke said. “They have a winning culture. It’s T.J.’s third year, and he’s got something good going. The NCAA Tournament is one of my dreams. It’s been one since I was kid, so that was a big reason.”
The Iowa State and Wisconsin connection extend even closer to the Fox Valley with Tyrese Haliburton. The Oshkosh North grad and NBA All-Star was a standout for the Cyclones and even face-timed Paveletzke during the recruitment process.
Paveletzke will head to Iowa State in early June to get familiar with the campus and his teammates as he embarks on a new journey with the Cyclones. Before Jackson heads into his sophomore season, he received an invitation to try out for Team USA U19 and have a chance to represent his country.
“12 guys make the team, and, I think, 28 are trying out, so if I make that – I’ll go to Hungary to try and win a gold medal with those guys. That would be pretty cool. That’s the goal – to try and make that team and make a name for myself,” Paveletzke said.