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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Negotiating With Gasser

Now that Wisconsin has finally offered a scholarship to 2010 Port Washington guard Josh Gasser, many are analyzing the motives behind this rare "5-for-4" deal.

While several other high-profile schools are dangling traditional full rides, UW is offering a walk-on spot to Gasser in year one, to be followed by four years on scholarship. This type of arrangement assumes a redshirt freshman season in 2010. Knowing they are in a tight spot with available scholarships, the Badgers are basically bargaining with Gasser with a token of good faith.

Only a few weeks ago, the best Bo Ryan could offer Gasser's family was a walk-on role, straight up. At the time, Wisconsin seemed to be in good shape to land either Vander Blue or Cameron Wright. I never bought into the theory that Wisconsin could have signed both -- the fact that UW is still only able to offer Gasser a walk-on spot next year seems to confirm my suspicions.

Fast forward back to the present. Wright is off the market. The Badgers are in contact with numerous high-level prospects for 2011, but do not seem to be close to landing any of them. There sits Gasser, who continued to improve throughout the summer and could fill a big need on the future roster with his ability to play either guard spot.

In my opinion, this strategy speaks just as much to the coaching staff's view of the 2011 class as it does the coaches' hopes of signing Blue for 2010. Yes, it's complicated -- just like most of the UW recruiting news over the last four months.

Blue is priority #1 and obviously the staff feels confident in their chances. Maybe even the "Defender of the Swing" Devin Harris knows something we don't. But Blue will not be a sure thing until he signs on the dotted line with someone. Bo could not afford to continue offering just a walk-on role to Gasser and expect to keep his interest.

The 5/4 deal was available immediately and if the Badgers were serious about landing Gasser, it should have been offered sooner in my opinion.

My hunch is that Wisconsin realized Gasser just might be as good or better than many of their prospects in the junior class. What's more, keeping Gasser at home is more realistic than stealing away a Chasson Randle-type from Purdue, Ohio State, Duke, et al. I would contend that vibes UW is getting from it's 2011 recruiting targets were the final push to up the ante with Gasser.

If Blue leaves the state school hanging, Gasser's offer should immediately balloon to a traditional full ride. But will that be soon enough for a talent of Gasser's caliber?

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