Pewaukee forward Milan Momcilovic puts a hook shot over the defense of Kon Knueppel of Wisconsin Lutheran during a WIAA Division 2 section finals March 12, 2022. Syndication: Journal Sentinel
The State of Iowa has achieved another of its priority goals in the 2023 recruitment cycle.
Pewaukee, Wis. Striker Milan Momcilovic has dedicated himself to TJ Otzelberger’s program. The 6-foot-8, 205-pound four-star forward picked Iowa State over other finalists including Minnesota, UCLA, Michigan State, Virginia and Louisville.
He is the second recruit in Iowa State’s Class of 2023, joining four-star guard Jelani Hamilton of Georgia.
“The first is my relationship with the coaching staff,” said Momcilovic Cyclone fanatic on Saturday. “TJ (Otzelberger), JR (Blount), the strength coach and the rest of the people. I just think the relationship there was one of the biggest factors for me. They visited me five or six times in Pewaukee or even at my home. That just showed how much they had invested and how badly they wanted me. That was probably one of the biggest things.”
“Number two was probably opportunity and fit. The opportunity will be there when you look at the squad makeup. I’ll come in and hopefully make a big impact right away. Of course I have to earn it, work hard and be humble, but the opportunity is there to play right away.”
The signing is the culmination of nearly a year of recruitment led by Otzelberger and assistant coach JR Blount. Her significant connections in the state of Wisconsin helped seal the deal for the state’s top player of the cycle.
The State of Iowa first offered Momcilovic on September 21, 2021. He then visited Ames in October and December last year before visiting again last month.
Momcilovic has been one of the Cyclones’ top targets in this class throughout the process. Otzelberger kept a close eye on the forward, including watching his high school team play for the state title from his hotel room on television on the day off of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament in Milwaukee, and sat on the sidelines several times during the recruitment evaluation period during the summer.
Rated as the No. 34 player in class by the 247compositeMomcilovic is the second highest rated recruit to sign up for the state of Iowa 247 Epoch. He’s the first 247composite Four-star power forward has signed for Iowa State since Georges Niang in the 2012 recruiting class.
This connection to Niang suits Momcilovic, whose offensive play and ability to score on all three levels has drawn comparisons to the second-best goalscorer in Cyclone history.
Obviously any comparison like that is high praise, but Momcilovic’s offensive tools, particularly up the post and in catch-and-shoot situations, are elite for the high school level and have allowed him to play for Team Herro at the EYBL circuit this summer to thrive, along with helping Pewaukee win the Division 2 state championship in Wisconsin last winter.
He will arrive on campus with a leaner physique and will need to add strength to help these tools transfer to the next level. Still developing as a ball handler, he needs to make progress defensively and on the glass to be a versatile player who can pose a threat on either end of the floor.
“Number one is definitely the strength and athletics piece,” said Momcilovic when asked where his game could still grow. “I think I just need to get stronger and more athletic, just increase my vertical and lateral speed, the very things that will help me on the court, whether it’s rebounds, defense or offense, I think that’s obvious the biggest thing I have to work on. Just stay in the weight room and grind.”
Regardless of the areas that still need to be developed, this is a significant recruitment win for Otzelberger and his staff, having beaten out several high-profile applicants all summer for one of the hottest players in the recruiting circle.
The class can get another boost if they’re able to add five-star power forward Omaha Biliew, which industry consensus says they have a good chance of doing. The big man from Waukee is expected to choose between finalists Iowa State, Kansas, Oregon and the NBA G-League sometime this month.
With the addition of Momcilovic, Iowa State’s recruiting class currently sits 5th in the US, although it’s still early in the cycle and thousands of players are yet to make their college decisions. Still, it’s worth noting that Iowa’s class ranks behind only Duke, UConn, Kentucky, and Baylor nationally.
“Of course it’s closer to home, the opportunities there, I love the coaching team,” said Momcilovic. “Everything is kind of perfect. I just have to work hard, be humble, keep at it and I think at the end of the day it will work out.”