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Friday, March 7, 2008

A Diamond In The Rough

Wisconsin secures a second 2009 recruit in Taylor
Diamond Taylor, a 6'3" guard out of famed St. Joseph's High School in Chicago has verbally committed to Bo Ryan's Badgers.

True to form, this process was completed without flash and no fanfare (yet), as word leaked out on the Internet late at night in the middle of a pretty crazy week. The euphoria of clinching a share of the Big Ten title is still lingering and the state is now full swing into the WIAA boys state tournament as well.

Taylor will bring more athleticism and a bit of size to the Badger backcourt in about 17 months. He is known to be a good shooter, but sounds like he needs to hit the weights. Not a problem though; he's got another year of high school left. You cannot overlook the importance of coming from a quality program like St. Joe's as well, which has served as a launching pad for several current Big Ten players and the infamous Isaiah Thomas. The only downside of the deal is that UW fans will have to get used to having two different Taylors (Jordan and Diamond) on the roster starting in 2009.

I'm happy for Howard Moore, whose persistence really paid off finally (Wisconsin beat Illinois to the punch on offering a scholarship). Moore nabbed his first recruit from his home turf and the first recruit out of Illinois for Bucky since "the DeAaron Williams Experience." Taylor should fill a big need for Wisconsin in this class.

The commitment leaves the staff with one more scholarship to work with in the meantime. Wisconsin can use that on another player yet for 2008 or go full bore after the apple of their eye for the following season. A bigger wing or versatile forward would be ideal. I'm holding out hope that the urgency of snagging UW's final schollie might persuade Jamil Wilson to warm up to the Badgers more rapidly, but Wilson's recent decision to announce his college destination next March makes that seem unlikely. Add to this the academic troubles of some other talented power forward prospects and Royce White's continued difficulties, and you realize the final piece of Wisconsin's next recruiting class could just as easily be big man Kyle Rowley, shooter Jacob Jenkins or another unknown.

Unlike Mike Bruesewitz, Taylor was a well-known commodity and it is good to have him in the fold, albeit unofficially.

Taylor's Internet rankings among the Class of 2009:
Ranked #67 (4 Stars) nationally by
Ranked a 3-Star recruit by Scout
Ranked #3 in Illinois by Chicago Hoops blurb
Ranked #8 in Illinois by

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