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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Wisconsin's Future Taking Shape

With the AAU season in full swing and the recruiting trails ablaze, the Wisconsin Badgers are finally stirring up some action. In the past week, Bo Ryan's staff has extended scholarship offers to two more prep players, including their first offer for the Class of 2010. With this fall's class pretty much set in stone, the cardinal and white have their sights on the 17-and-under set.

Two weeks ago, Bo offered 6'4" guard Robert Wilson the third schollie in the Class of '08. Wilson has verbally committed to UW over some other high-profile schools, and thus tentatively joins a pair of committed Minnesota players in the class -- point guard Jordan Taylor and center Jared Berggren. Taylor and Berggren are currently playing together on the AAU circuit and doing quite well according to reports. Following their team's play in the Nike Boo Williams Invitational, a senior writer had this to say about Berggren in particular:

Wisconsin knows how to find quality big men and build them into effective college players. The Badgers have done it again in 2008 with big man Jared Berggren. The 6-foot-10 center is a good pick up for Bo Ryan and his staff. Berggren is a strong post player that isn't afraid of a couple elbows to the chest. He isn't afraid to hand them out either. He's a tough cookie and paired with Howard Pulley teammate Jordan Taylor, another Wisconsin pledge for the 2008 class, the duo is a nice 1-2 punch already on board for the Badgers.
Taylor (right) is ranked as the class' 20th-best point guard by and led his Benilde-St. Margaret’s team to the AAA state title game this past season as a junior. Physically, he is built similarly to former Duke star Jay Williams, though not as explosive of course. Personally, I'm quite excited. Berggren, rated as the 16th-best center of '08 by (#140 overall) still needs to put on some weight to be considered even a beanpole. But that's why redshirting exists.

Howard Pulley regularly updates their website with detailed info on the various tournaments and scholarship offers flowing in for their top players. The squad also features two of the Twin Cities' finest prospects in the Class of '09 -- forwards Royce White and Rodney Williams, Jr. Tubby Smith has made the pair his top priority for Minnesota's 2009 class, and Iowa State has also offered each player a scholarship. Wisconsin offered a scholarship to White, a 6'7" power player attracting major attention. Williams may not be far behind on Wisconsin's radar.

However, two of the top recruits in the state of Wisconsin for 2009 are also wing forwards, like Williams. We wouldn't want Bo to stretch his staff too thin with a couple of potential blue-chippers in his own backyard. At this point, Racine Horlick's Jamil Wilson is probably the top Badger target in '09. He just lit it up in Akron, OH and led his 16U team to a tourney title at the King James Classic last weekend. While Madison Memorial's Jeronne Maymon is also picking up steam nationwide, rumor on Wisconsin message boards state that Maymon is unlikely to become a Badger, especially with Wilson in the picture.

At the start of the unofficial spring signing period, Wisconsin (as well as Marquette) extended an offer to 6'11" Evan Anderson. Anderson, a freshman this past season at Stanley-Boyd HS, may develop into a legit 7-footer down the road seeing as he recently turned just 15. He will take his 7'5" wingspan to Eau Claire North HS this fall.

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To recap, Wisconsin has strong verbal commitments from a 1, 2 and 5 for '08 to replace Butch, Stiemsma, Flowers and Tanner Bronson. The Badgers will likely add one more player in this class, but again, Bo and Co. are seemingly right on schedule or even ahead of the curve when it comes to garnering commitments for the near future. The expected losses of Krabbenhoft and Landry the following year can be countered with a bumper crop of slashers, shooters and energizers to fill positions 2-4 in '09.

Another look at this fall's class helps to understand why UW is pursuing such players. Bucky will welcome two forwards, Keaton Nankivil (left) and Jon Leuer, as well as wing Tim Jarmusz to the den in 2007. Obviously, the Class of '07 solidifies the Badger front court for the time when current redwoods Butch and Stiemsma take a permanent hike. With such a void on the wing currently, there is still a slight chance UW could give out a fourth scholarship for this class (perhaps guard D.J. Kennedy) instead of waiting until 2008. Such a signing would take away Bronson's senior-year scholarship.

Jarmusz (6'6") is recruit more out of the Dick Bennett-style mold, so it's no surprise that he is not ranked by the two major recruiting services. However, Nankivil and Leuer both were more heavily recruited. Leuer in particular has climbed the charts over the last year. A Leuer highlight video was recently featured on the basketball recruiting front page of (you can access it from Leuer's profile page). It's a typical highlight mix, showcasing dunks, 3-point shooting and his ball handling skills. He looks very fluid for a kid of that size, which is understandable since he was a guard until he shot up seven inches or so in height over the last two years. Leuer's potential has been compared to Steve Novak, formerly of Brown Deer, WI and Marquette. Top 100: Nankivil #88 (#21 PF) | Leuer #89 (#22 PF) Rivals150: Nankivil #85 (#22 PF) | Leuer #75 (#19 PF)

1 comment:

  1. "Physically, he is built similarly to former Duke star Jay Williams, though not as explosive of course. "

    As long as he's a better driver I'll be satisfied ...


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