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Nolan Winter, a 6-foot-8 junior forward from Lakeville (MN) North, is ranked as the #2 player in the state in the Class of 2023.
Winter averaged 11.0 points per game as a sophomore. He scored in double figures in eleven of 20 games, including a season-high 19 points in the season opener versus Farmington.
Winter comes from an athletic family. His father, Trevor, played for Minnesota from 1993-97 and played one game with the Minnesota Timberwolves and with the Fargo-Moorhead Beez of the International Basketball Association and the La Crosse Bobcats of the Continental Basketball Association. His mother, the former Heidi Olhausen, played volleyball for the Gophers after a standout high school career at Lakeville.
GopherHole caught up with Winter Thursday at an open gym to learn the latest on his recruitment and upcoming junior year.
GopherHole: You visited Oregon State last weekend What was that like?
Nolan Winter: It was a great visit. Coaching staff; everyone is really nice. It is a great program. Great location. It is in a small town, but I really like it. Just a great tradition.
GopherHole: Oregon State was the third school to offer you after Minnesota and Wisconsin. Where did they first come across you?
Nolan Winter: They were down in Georgia watching some teammates and I caught their eye, so we started texting down there and eventually after the summer, they offered me.
GopherHole: That has to make you feel good because to be honest, Oregon State is not really recruiting a lot of Minnesota kids.
Nolan Winter: To finally get one out of states, off the border, was really nice for me and meant that I am really on to something.
GopherHole: How many offers are you up to right now?
Nolan Winter: Six. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon State, Xavier, St. Thomas and Stanford.
GopherHole: Any other plans to make any more visits before the season starts?
Nolan Winter: Yes, I have an official set up for Stanford and I might try to get down to Xavier later in the year and that will be it, because our season is starting soon.
GopherHole: Obviously, you are doing a lot of open gyms. You had a lot of seniors last year, but this year’s team figures to be junior and sophomore-dominated. What are the expectations for the team?
Nolan Winter: We lost a lot of talented seniors, but we are going to be young this year, a lot of juniors and sophomores kind of taking the main roles, but we have a chance to make a little run. We have a lot of talent, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we can make it to state and beyond that.
GopherHole: It is nice that you can check out some of these schools early as a junior. Do you think that is a big benefit for you?
Nolan Winter: Yes, going to the campuses and meeting the coaching staffs and building a really strong relationship with each and every one. It is a big plus, just getting to know them off the court. It’s really nice.
GopherHole: Is that nice because last year coaches could go out and you couldn’t go to a lot of places. Is that nice to get some of that going ahead of time?
Nolan Winter: Yes, it is really nice that COVID is kind of in the past now, so it is nice that everything opened up. I’m able to visit schools. They are able to come to visit me. It is really nice that everything is kind of opening up.
GopherHole: Where else have you been besides Oregon State so far this fall?
Nolan Winter: I took an unofficial to Wisconsin, an unofficial to Minnesota and an unofficial to Iowa.
GopherHole: What are you hearing from the home-state school?
Nolan Winter: I keep in touch with them all the time. They have come to a lot of open gyms, so we have a really strong relationship right now. Coach Johnson, Coach Thorson, Coach Kemp. I like them all. They are really good people.
GopherHole: I know that they have made getting some of the top in-state kids to stay home a big priority. They have three kids who have already committed in Payne, Carrington and Ola-Joseph. Does that make you look at Minnesota a little differently now they are trying to get those top kids?
Nolan Winter: Yes. It is a great school. They have a winning tradition with people from the state going there. It doesn’t surprise me with the great coaching staff. The Big Ten and how good they are.
GopherHole: You look like you have gotten taller since the last time I saw you. What are you up to right now?
Nolan Winter: I’m 6-8 ½ barefoot, so you could say 6-9. You could say 6-10.
GopherHole: What things have you really been working on to continue to improve yourself as a player?
Nolan Winter: I have been working on ballhandling. I am trying to bring it up the court a little more this season. Strength, obviously. Just getting stronger, quicker, faster and still working on my offensive game. Still shooting. Post work a lot. Trying to get in the post a little more this season, so just everything really.