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UNI men’s basketball adds five players to 2024-25 recruiting class

CEDAR FALLS - UNI head men's basketball coach Ben Jacobson has announced the addition of four transfers and one freshman signee to the Panther roster for the 2024-25 season.

CEDAR FALLS – UNI head men’s basketball coach Ben Jacobson has announced the addition of four transfers and one freshman signee to the Panther roster for the 2024-25 season. They will join Will Hornseth (DePere, Wisc. / DePere High School) and Redek Born (Norwalk High School / Norwalk, Iowa) who signed with the Panthers in the fall.

The signees include transfers Max Weisbrod (Northern Michigan), Cael Schmitt (Coe), Leon Bond III (Virginia) and Ben Schwieger (Loyola-Chicago) as well as Cedar Falls High School forward Cade Courbat.

via Panther Athletics

“We are excited to add a terrific group of young men to our recruiting class,” Jacobson said. “My staff did a great job of identifying each of these student-athletes based on our needs and the quality and character that they will bring to our program. The entire landscape of college athletics has shifted dramatically over the past two plus years. We will continue to prioritize high school players during the early signing period and will utilize the transfer portal in the spring to put together a roster that can compete for championships. We feel like we have certainly accomplished that with this year’s recruiting and cannot wait to get everyone here this summer!”

MAX WEISBROD | Guard / 6-4 / 185 lbs. (DeForest, Wisc. / DeForest HS / Northern Michigan)
A two-year standout at Division II Northern Michigan, Weisbrod boasts an impressive resume after his sophomore season with the Wildcats with two years of eligibility remaining. The 2024 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Player of the Year notched 17.2 points per game on 43.3% shooting and 39.1% accuracy from three-point range this past season, helping the Wildcats to their first regular season conference title since 1993.

In 63 career games at Northern Michigan, Weisbrod averged 14.8 points with 3.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists to earn two All-GLIAC team selections, a pair of conference all-tournament team honors, All-Region recognition from the D2CCAA and National Basketball Coaches Association (NABC) and the 2023 GLIAC Freshman of the Year award. Weisbrod notched double-figures in scoring in 24 games in 2023-24, including a career-high 35-point showing against Michigan Tech back in January.

As a prep player at DeForest High School in Wisconsin, Weisbrod was named the Badger East Conference Player of the Year in 2021 as a junior. He scored 1,402 career points and helped propel his team to a conference championship during his senior campaign.

“Max is a tough, competitive, big guard,” Jacobson explained. “He plays both ends with great enthusiasm and has proven himself to be a tremendous teammate. Max has the size, skill and shooting to play on and off the ball which adds to our team’s versatility. He lives in the gym and that approach will immediately impact our program.”

BEN SCHWIEGER | Guard/Forward / 6-7 / 205 lbs. (Aurora, Ill. / Waubonsie Valley HS / Loyola-Chicago)
A Chicagoland-area native, Schwieger comes to Cedar Falls from Loyola-Chicago with two years of eligibility remaining. After redshirting the 2021-22 season, Schwieger appeared in 30 games with starts in the final 26 games of the 2022-23 campaign with 9.2 points per game, third-most among the Ramblers along with 3.8 rebounds to earn All-Atlantic-10 Conference (A-10) Rookie Team honors. He shot 45.4% from the field, including 34.9% from beyond the three-point arc. He also played in ten games this past season in non-conference action.

In 40 career games, Schwieger has averaged 7.3 points, along with three rebounds, 70 total assists, 20 total steals and 12 blocks. He notably scored a career-high 26 points in November 2022 on 9-of-16 shooting against Central Arkansas, including six made three-pointers.

As a prep standout at Waubonsie Valley High School, Schwieger was ranked among the top-ten prospects in the City/Suburban Hoops Report during his junior season, helping the Warriors to a 25-7 record in 2019-20 to earn all-conference, county, area and state recognition. During a COVID-19 abbreviated senior season in 2020-21, he put up 17 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals per game on 67.1% shooting from the field.

“Ben had a terrific redshirt freshman season at Loyola-Chicago,” said Jacobson. “He will add more size, skill, shooting and versatility to our roster. Ben scores the ball in a variety of ways, really fits the way we play and has a great feel for the game. He has a competitive spirit that we look forward to being around everyday.”

LEON BOND III | Guard/Forward / 6-5 / 200 lbs. (Wauwatosa, Wisc. / Wauwatosa East HS / Virginia)
After playing his redshirt freshman season at the University of Virginia in 2023-24, guard/forward Leon Bond III will join the Panthers this coming year with three years of eligibility remaining. The former ESPN Top-100, four-star recruit from the class of 2022 averaged 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds last season in 24 games with the Cavaliers on 45.8% shooting. Bond finished in double-digit scoring figures four times last season at Virginia, including a career-high 16 points against North Carolina A&T on 80% shooting, and also notched nine rebounds twice (North Carolina Central and Tarleton State).

In high school, Bond was a four-year letterwinner at Wauwatosa East High School in Wisconsin, where he earned First Team All-State and Greater Metro All-Conference honors to help lead the Red Raiders to a Division 1 state championship as a junior, averaging 21.1 points, seven rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals a game during his prep career.

“Leon is a tremendously well rounded young man and basketball player,” said Jacobson. “He will impact our team on both ends of the floor. Leon’s athleticism, mobility and versatility will give us a big perimeter player that really fits this roster. He has a contagious energy about him that will be fun for all of us to be around.”

CAEL SCHMITT | Guard / 6-2 / 180 lbs. (Dubuque, Iowa / Wahlert Catholic HS / Coe College)
The second-leading scorer in Coe College men’s basketball history and a two-time American Rivers Conference (ARC) Defensive Player of the Year, Cael Schmitt will join the Panther roster with one year of eligibility remaining as a graduate transfer. In his four years in Cedar Rapids, the Dubuque, Iowa native scored 1,518 career points, averaging 16 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.9 steals to help the Kohawks reach the NCAA Division III Tournament in each of the previous two seasons.

A four-time First Team All-ARC performer, Schmitt scored a career-high 34 points as a sophomore in a game at Nebraska Wesleyan. This past season with the Kohawks, he recorded 17.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and three assists a game on 43.7% shooting, highlighted by a season-high 32 points against eventual Division III national champion Trine University in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Cael brings a number of positives to our program,” explained Jacobson. “His experiences over the past four seasons will immediately translate and impact our team. Cael loves to work and loves to be in the gym. He has been in a leadership position, been an academic All-American and played in the national tournament the past two seasons. We are looking forward to Cael’s impact on our program.”

CADE COURBAT | Forward / 6-8 / 215 lbs. (Cedar Falls, Iowa / Cedar Falls HS)
Joining the Panthers as a walk-on forward, Courbat is the third member of UNI’s 2024 freshman signing class, joining Redek Born and Will Hornseth who signed in November. The younger brother of current UNI forward Chase Courbat, Cade was a two-year starter at Cedar Falls High School, averaging 10.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and two assists per game as a senior to help the Tigers reach the Class 4A state tournament. This season, Courbat earned Third Team All-State honors from the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association, as well as All-Metro First Team recognition from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

“We are excited to add Cade to our program,” Jacobson said. “He has improved as a basketball player each year, is a tremendous student and a young guy of great character. Cade has the size and mobility to compete with our roster at practice and the work habits it will take to grow as a player.”

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