Sounds like Wisconsin is one of the first schools going hard after Chicago Marshall's Darius Smith, a 2009 point guard prospect:
"Right now, I'm hearing from Louisville and Wisconsin," Smith said. "Actually I'm hearing from Wisconsin a lot. My list has a lot of schools on it, though. Illinois has come by the school, too."
Lots of recruiting info has been simply simmering, but now that we have entered July, the AAU circuit should spice the place up a bit.
UW's favorite 2008 duo (Jordan Taylor and Jared Berggren) should be toiling again for Howard Pulley, after playing well for their high school squads at the Badger Team Camp here in Madison late last month. Royce White and Rodney Williams, Jr. helped the remainder of the Howard Pulley roster win the camp's Gold Division championship with a 6-1 record.
Berggren continues to prove me wrong as he piles up accolades and kudos this summer. Along with White, Williams and Taylor, Berggren has been invited to participate in Nike's LeBron James Top 100 Camp this weekend in Cleveland. How funny is it to rank these high schoolers so early? In the case of Berggren, Wisconsin first latched on to him when he was raw and literally a pale bean pole. Now after some seasoning and growing into his frame, some already consider the kid the cream of UW's 2008 recruiting class. (You should be able to access a short video on Berggren on the right-hand side of Wisconsin's basketball page at Rivals.com)
And speaking of those young Minnesotans and somewhat meaningless rankings, I should also mention that White and Williams highlight a number of potential Badgers on the newly released 2009 Top 75 rankings at Rivals.com. Both players impressed at the Nike Hoop Jamboree as well.
One thing we do know now more than ever is that all of these guys are for real. White has shot up to #18 on the list, while Racine's Jamil Wilson can be found at #29. Now that is depth. The 2009 class should be a gem for Wisconsin.
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Whether or not it was a good move remains to be seen, Yahoo agreed purchase the sports recruiting powerhouse Rivals.com for a reported $100 million. [official press release]
What does it all mean? By moving from a partnership with Yahoo into an actual member of the family, Rivals should have more resources at their disposal to pump even more traffic their direction. If Yahoo ventures further into the social networking game, rumor has it user-generated content may become a staple of the high school sports information network. As troubling a thought as that is, Yahoo's presence lends itself to an explosion of content, which could definitely benefit a guy like me, who is too cheap to purchase an actual subscription to Rivals. Alas, the good stuff is always going to cost ya ...
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The Badgers have benefited from being an early bird with certain basketball recruits like Taylor and Berggren, but Wisconsin's competitors can also profit in the same fashion at times. In the case of Oak Park's highly-touted '08 SG Iman Shumpert, UW's offer in early May was too little too late. That spells the end of Shumpert's tenure on the 2008 target list, joining Chicago PF Josh Crittle in exile. According to Illinois Prep Bulls-eye, our Jesuit neighbors to the east have the inside track among the five schools on Crittle's short list. C'mon Duck, I remain nervous about the ripe Chicagoland area ...
A pair of prep ballers from Chicago's Mean Streets AAU team, Michael Dunigan and Matthew Humphrey, have both trimmed their lists to exclude the Badgers. I think Wisconsin could really use a banger like Dunigan, but Humphrey was already known to be a bad fit for Bo Ryan's program.
Lastly, Jody Demling blogs that 2008 big man Ian Markolf, a legit center prospect, visited Kentucky last week. Supposedly Wisconsin is still in the running. I'd rather get an athletic forward, but you can't teach height. And from what I hear ...