Up at 5:20 for chores on the farm and a workout, maybe a quick nap before school starts at 8:45 a.m., back for more workouts and then schoolwork.
Such is life for 6-8, now 240-pound Michigan power forward signee Will Tschetter, the most unheralded in Michigan’s top-rated 2021 class but a pledge head coach Juwan Howard wouldn’t trade for anyone at his position. When it comes to fitting the culture, basketball IQ — and yes, basketball acumen — Tschetter (pronounced ‘Cheddar’) checked all the boxes in what Howard was looking for when he started to assemble his 2021 group.
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As the first guy in the class, despite having played away from the high-end AAU circuit and off the beaten path, Tschetter quickly offered his services and asked the U-M coaches what he could do to help bring more talent to join him in Ann Arbor.
That’s the kind of kid he is, Michigan assistant Phil Martelli said recently, and why he and so many others believe the scouts are sleeping on him a bit.
“If he does on the basketball side what we think he can do here … we’re all going to be in a movie about his life someday,” Martelli said. ”His repertoire is going to be really invaluable. You just know Will is going to have an impact like a Terrance Williams … he is going to impact winning.”
By now, most who follow Michigan basketball recruiting know of Tschetter’s backstory. A legit farm boy, he’s up at dawn to bale hay, put in some real work that most would consider a workout good for the week. He’s also a 3.99 student (“still mad about that B-plus,” Martelli noted), lived in China for two years and learned to speak Mandarin in grade school and is the All-American kid.
On the court, he’s a warrior. He averaged 32 points and 13 rebounds and led his Stewartville team to the Sectional finals, where they lost to nemesis Caledonia for a second-straight year.
Earlier in the year, he finally made the national stage when his school was chosen as a late replacement to face Minnehaha (Minn.) Academy and No. 1 2021 prospect Chet Holmgren on ESPNU.
“We found out the morning before. At about 6 a.m. I got a text from our AD saying, ‘I think I got you a spot on ESPNU tomorrow night,’” Tschetter recalled. “I said, ‘What? Ha ha ha ha, very funny.’ But he said he was dead serious, and to call him right away.”
Tschetter played well,, and while he didn’t have his best shooting night, he still scored 19, made four NBA triples and had three more rim in and out from 24 feet.
“His stroke is pure,” Martelli noted, and Tschetter showed it the entire year, making 44 percent from beyond the arc.
That’s the kind of competition the big man is going to have to get used to facing in the next few years at Michigan, and he’s preparing for it. He’ll need to quicken his stroke and continue to get stronger, but he’s working on it.
“That was such a super cool experience to be able to play Chet and everyone on their team with how good they are,” Tschetter said.
He heard from future rteamamtes and coaches, of course, who followed him just as he followed the Wolverines throughout the year. It’s starting to sink in that he’s soon going to be playing on the biggest stage for one of the nation’s elite programs, not that he needed any reassurance.
“Over time I built a relationship with the whole coaching staff,” he said. “The trust and just how genuine they were was a big sell. Coach Howard with his background being an NBA star, he could play it off like, ‘oh yeah, if you don’t want to come here, we don’t really want you.’”
But he never did, always down to earth. Between that and his vision, it was a no-brainer, Tschetter said.
The days of baling hay and fishing are coming to an end, and he’s cherishing them (especially when catching a 24-inch brown trout out of the river in his backyard), but he can’t wait to get started at U-M. It will be a new adventure for a kid who has already had more than some get in a lifetime.
I lived in China, Beijing for two years, so I’ve been in one of the biggest cities in the world for two years of my life,’ he said.
Put another way — ‘I’ve got this.’
He’s ready to prove it to his future coaches, teammates and a fan base that can’t wait to see what he has to offer.
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