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August 16, 2011Zak Showalter had no less than 10 full scholarships opportunities, but playing for his home-state school trumped a free tuition.
Tuesday afternoon, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard accepted a preferred walk-on invitation from Wisconsin in favor of full rides from Green Bay, Milwaukee, North Dakota State and Drake, among others.
"I mean, it's Wisconsin basketball," he said. "What else is there to say? I've grown up watching every game and I love the program.
"There is nowhere else I'd want to go. I'm so excited and it's just a dream come true."
Showalter, who earned multiple offers this summer while competing for the Wisconsin Swing, will try to earn a scholarship during his time under head coach Bo Ryan.
"I'd say it's the love for Wisconsin and the respect I have for the program," said Showalter about turning down scholarship money. "The coaching staff and tradition is the best. It was just too much to pass on for me.
"Right now I'm coming in as a preferred walk-on. Just going to go in there and bust my butt to try and earn an offer. We'll see what happens."
Playing at Germantown under his father, Steve Showalter, a former standout at UW-Platteville, Zak Showalter is happy to have his decision out of the way before the start of his senior year.
"I'm really relieved," Zak Showalter said. "It's been very stressful these last few months with everything that has gone on. My phone has been ringing off the hook. I'm just looking forward to getting back to school and being able to play without any worries and just have fun."
Showalter teamed with Nick Fuller, Luke Fischer and Austin Arians on the Swing, which was one of the top AAU programs in the Midwest this past summer.
"I think it was a really productive summer," Showalter said. "I improved my game quite a bit and it was great to finish up with some guys I've played with since the seventh grade. We all just had a lot of fun with a good deal of success in our last summer together."
Showalter and Fischer, a 2013 with offers from Marquette and Indiana, have Germantown among the favorites to take home the WIAA Division I title in March.
"Win state," said Showalter when asked about his goals as a senior. "I want to do everything I can to help my team win state.
"That's my focus."
Sam Dekker, who will begin his career at UW under scholarship, is the only other known member of UW's 2012 class.