On Sunday afternoon, the Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball program nabbed their second verbal commitment of the 2023 class when combo guard Leena Patibandla (Massillon, Ohio) out of Jackson High School tweeted her college decision.
I’m very excited to announce my commitment to the University of Wisconsin. I’d first like to thank my family as well as all of my coaches and teammates who have helped me along the way. Thank you also to @BadgerWBB ‘s staff for giving me this great opportunity. Go Badgers! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/T2xQukOnbm— Leena Patibandla (@LeenaPatibandla) April 3, 2022
The Badgers now have two commitments in the 2023 class, both from Ohio, as Patibandla joins wing Tessa Grady (Dublin, Ohio). I couldn’t find a ton of information on other offers for Patibandla, but her Twitter account shows that Akron and Virginia Tech had extended scholarships. She even visited Blacksburg in October 2021, a few weeks after going to Madison.
She stands at 6-foot-1 and plays all over the court for her high school team. Patibandla is an excellent, multi-sport athlete who was selected Stark County’s Girls Athlete of the Year for 2020-21 after being all-county in volleyball, basketball and track and field (state qualifier in discus and high jump as a sophomore). There is even debate as to whether basketball is even her best sport since she is so good on the volleyball court.
Prep Girls Hoops Ohio ranks her as the fifth best player in the state for the 2023 class while the high school sports staff of the Gannett Corp.’s more than 60 Ohio newspapers and websites ranked her as the No. 19 player in the state, of any class, before the 2021-22 season.
In a generation that’s focused on points, we’re starting 2021 with a series of clips highlighting the other aspects of the game that often go unnoticed.— Jackson Lady Bears (@Lady_BearsBBall) January 1, 2021
Clip 1: passing by @LeenaPatibandla
Stay tuned for more... pic.twitter.com/UIuvrLSwQL
Patibandla is a complete player but her best skill is probably her court vision and ability to make passes that put her teammates in position to score. As a point guard, she uses her height to make passes over the top of the defense but is also able to handle the ball lower to the ground and get into the lane where she can drop it off to her teammates for layups.
She has a good shooting stroke and can score from all three levels, uses he height to be an above average rebounder and is also an instinctual defender that can jump into passing lanes to cause turnovers.
Patibandla was a major help in getting Jackson High School to the state semifinals this season, the furthest the Polar Bears (what a nickname!) have ever gone. She had eight points and nine rebounds in their semifinal loss, showing off her ability to fill up the box score. With a number of seniors graduating from her team, it’ll be interesting to see if Patibandla starts looking for her shot more and ups her scoring as a senior.