Still pretty swamped, but several pieces of very big news landed today ...
First off, Mark Miller is reporting on Wishoops.net that Bo Ryan has offered a scholarship to J.P. Tokoto of Menomonee Falls. This is the first offer extended by Wisconsin to a member of the the 2012 class.
Because Tokoto is so young -- one of the youngest ever to receive an offer from Wisconsin as Miller points out -- none of the recruiting services have rated him yet. But the 6'5" freshman is a very well known commodity in basketball circles. Expect him to get the same kind of hype as Jamil Wilson got throughout his career (5 stars?). Tom Crean sure knows about him and Indiana will be just one of the household names following in Wisconsin's footsteps here.
Tokoto plays AAU ball for the 15U Wisconsin Playground Warriors, as well as up with the 16U team. He is lengthy, athletic, skilled and intelligent. Think about having Brian Butch's skills in Ryan Evans' body. And according to Menomonee Falls head coach Ben Siebert, maybe a little Kevin Love?
"He’s so very talented and he’s only going to get better. The first thing that you notice about him is his rebounding. Our whole fast break is predicated on him getting the rebound and launching the outlet pass."Given the new rules about recruiting players in April, it was great to see Ryan and Greg Gard jump on this by getting on-site right away at a Menomonee Falls open gym, just days after keeping close tabs on Tokoto's performance on the AAU circuit via text messaging. They want this kid badly.
Needless to say, this is a pretty nice day for Tokoto's family and Badger fans alike. Since many have been merely counting down the days until this offer was official, Hoops Marinara already has a recruiting open thread ready to go for Tokoto.
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The second bombshell of the day is word that Wisconsin will host Duke on Wednesday, December 2 as a part of next year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Badgers will be looking for a little payback after the 82-58 spanking they received at the hands of the Blue Devils two years ago.
I was so pumped up for Wisconsin's first trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium. That team had a lot of good pieces despite the loss of Tucker and Taylor. But the chance to put a Badger stamp on the college basketball landscape was a disaster, thus my tempered enthusiasm this time around.
On the bright side, this is a true home game at the Kohl Center (not any of this Bradley Center garbage). Plus, despite the fact that while Duke has posted great records the past two years, the program has not quite lived up to its old standards of dominance lately, so I do not forsee any potential embarrassment. If junior Gerald Henderson bolts to the NBA as expected, Duke is really the two-man team of Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer. Those are two very good players, but not exactly the swarming winged studs that gave Wisconsin fits in the first meeting.
BadgerBeat.com covers all the angles here and here.
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And finally, though it's not Badger-related, one-time Louisville commit Jeremy Tyler has announced he is skipping his senior year ... of high school! Tyler, one of the top-rated juniors in the land, plans to play in Europe for the next two seasons as a professional. The young power forward may wind up in Spain. Dan Wetzel disects the matter over at Yahoo! Sports.
This may end up trumping last year's Brandon Jennings fiasco, especially since it comes on the heels of the bizarre Rick Pitino extortion case. After the departure of Pitino's son from Louisville to the coaching bench at Florida, some think the Cardinal empire is starting to crumble.