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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Looking "South" For Final 2008 Recruit

As more info comes to light on Wisconsin scoring a verbal commitment from junior guard Robert Wilson, the more Badger fans are feeling pretty good about him. He will be the first Badger baller from Ohio since my middle school days when Stu Jackson landed point guard Darnell Hoskins from Dayton. The amazing part of Wilson's recruiting process is that nobody knew about him until UW offered the scholarship. It just underscores the tight ship that Bo Ryan and his crew run. Or how far away Ohio is.

As Rob Schultz spelled out in The Capital Times today, UW assistant coach Greg Gard has been credited with unearthing (and sticking with) this potential 2008 gem. It points to Wilson's character that he stuck with a school and coaching staff that has shown consistent interest all along. For what it's worth, Gard has also been instrumental in the recruitment of Jared Berggren, as well as Keaton Nankivil. Conversely, Gary Close seemed to be the lead recruiter for this past year's crop of talent (Bohannon, Hughes, and Gavinski). So as Close pounds the pavement nearby, I'm once again left wondering what Howard Moore is working on down in Chicago ...

No worries though. The fact that Wilson spurned Florida for Wisconsin gives us some assurance that the Badgers can indeed hang with the big boys every now and then on the national recruiting scene. So even if 6'6" St. Louis native Scott Suggs has been picking up offers left and right, perhaps he is not out of the picture for 2008's final scholarship.

However, it's not uncommon for Bo to see something he likes more in a player with slightly less hype, as was the case with Wilson. has reported that Wisconsin has offered (subscriber) that final schollie to shooting guard Iman Shumpert of Oak Park, Ill. But these days, every good player can generate a lot of buzz by a nice game on the AAU circuit. In Shumpert's case, he recovered from some injury issues in April to shine in the King James Classic in Akron, Ohio. And now the heat is on.

It's likely that Coach Moore will pull UW's final recruit from Illinois. In addition to the 6'4" Shumpert, Wisconsin is rumored to be very interested in big man Michael Dunigan of Chicago's Farragut Academy, 6'5" guard Matt Humphrey, and wing Nick Fruendt of Batavia. Dunigan and Humphrey both toil on the AAU level for Chicago's MeanStreets team. Humphrey, in fact, was named to the all-tournament team at the Boo Williams Invitational in early April and would be a good "get" considering the Badgers' need to restock with athletes on the perimeter.

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