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Thursday, April 17, 2008

As One Era Begins, Another Era Closes

Wednesday officially signalled Ryan Evans' acceptance into the Wisconsin basketball family with a signed Letter of Intent, completing a diverse freshman class for next season. The Badgers will bring in five new players next fall without a single native Wisconsinite among them. Evans' uncle Dave, a former All-American wrestler at UW, might actually make Ryan the closest thing to home-grown talent that the staff has signed for 2008.

For the third year in a row, none of the incoming scholarship players will be from Milwaukee. How long will that continue now that the legendary Tom Diener has resigned from his post at Milwaukee Vincent?

If there is a scarcity of college-ready talent in the city, it is not Diener's fault. In his 15 years as head coach at Vincent, Diener sent a multitude of very skilled players off to various Division I college basketball programs. In fact, Wisconsin's last two scholarship players out of Milwaukee--Marcus Landry and Boo Wade--both played under Diener for powerhouse Vincent squads. Ray Nixon also started his career at Vincent. The coach was a pretty solid player himself at UW-Green Bay.

As Mark Miller notes, Diener's Vikings dominated the Milwaukee City Conference in recent years, not to mention winning the five state championships. Diener won more gold balls than any other Division 1 coach in WIAA history via a three-peat (1996-98) and additional back-to-back titles (2000-01), plus won two silver runner-up trophies (2005 & 2007).

Diener was impressive in molding the talent around him into winners through defensive intensity. In a lot of ways, Diener's top players were ideal Badgers, provided they could make the grades and stay out of trouble.

With scholarships accounted for in 2009 and offers already extended to other in 2010, it may be awhile before another Badger emerges from the state's largest city. It's too early to tell, but 2001 PG Larry Bradley from Vincent appears to be the only one out there. Perhaps the assistant who scours the Milwaukee area for Bo can take some much-needed vacation time.

We know conclusively that Howard Moore is hard at work all over the country. After Ryan Evans signed his LOI, Moore was finally able to comment on his third Badger recruiting success. Moore revealed some interesting comparisons, both physical and social, regarding Evans. Needless to say, Moore is excited about the Ryan Evans era.

I bet Evans appeared much different on Moore's highlight reel than he did on the game film I downloaded the other night. I felt pretty stupid that it took me almost the entire game to realize it was a game from Evans' junior season. That would seem to partially explain his slow defensive footwork and lack of aggression on the glass despite being one of the tallest players on the court. It is not surprising that it might take more than a year to adjust to growing six inches all of a sudden. In the clips I have seen elsewhere, Evans does look noticeably bigger nowadays.

I'm sure Diener would have loved coaching Evans this year. He could have gone out with another gold ball.

: : :

- Brian Butch plays too soft for pro ball. Duh ... but hearing it from a French dude?! Ouch.
- Another duh: Bucks fire "the other" Coach K
- Marquette keeps Mbakwe and replaces a star recruit with another JUCO

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. It is odd that Madison's 2008 and 2009 recruits are uncharacteristically low on Wisconsin natives. My alma mater, Marquette, never held a candle to the Badgers in terms of in-state recruiting.

    As Madison looks to strengthen its regional recruiting, where are all the Wisconsin kids going?


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