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Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Furlough

It has been well over a month since the last update here. I've sat on some of the recent summer topics, so let's review a few of the things I have not been posting about:

Football roundtable
I like sticking strictly to the hardwood, but I did participate in a Badger football preseason roundtable with some fellow UW bloggers. Part one covers the offense and part two covers the defense (part three is in the works as well). Check it out if you are so inclined. Special thanks to Duff Beach at On Wisconsin! for extending the invite and putting this together along with Adam Hoge of Bucky's 5th Quarter. All I have to say is ... I am waiting 'til next year for the gridders. And I mean that in a good way.

NBA Summer League
Marcus Landry made a name for himself in the NBA's Summer League by catching fire from long-range and generally making an impact with the Sacramento Kings. Cowbell Kingdom called him the most reliable outside shooter on the squad. Landry had nothing to lose and just might have earned a training camp spot.

The team didn't win much, but Landry shot 48.5% from the field and hit 10-of-24 from behind the arc in about 20 mpg. This in addition to a handful of block and rebounds--not bad for a non-drafted invitee, eh? [video interview]

On the other end of the spectrum, Joe Krabbenhoft got the invite to Portland's summer squad but barely got off the bench. Greg Stiemsma had one decent appearance with Memphis, but fared only slightly better than Krabby in terms of playing time.

Vander Blue attends summer school
The news that Madison prep hero Vander Blue was attending classes this summer seemed to renew hope that he may still be a Wisconsin lean. But the speculation is just that, as traditional western powers Arizona and UCLA are now very involved and on his list of three or four campuses to visit. Florida also appears to be a likely finalist for Blue's talents.

The senior-to-be continued to perform well on the grassroots scene despite skipping a few events to focus on his academics. Blue continues to play things close to the vest, as he should. As his grandfather stated, when Blue gets cleared to play D1 ball as a college freshman (hopefully with a good ACT score later this month and other fulfilled requirements) we will hear a lot more on this subject, starting in September most likely.

Cameron Wright now holds a slew of big-time offers of his own and should not be considered Plan B for the Badgers ... they would be fortunate to get either kid for 2010. The catch-22 is that the true "Plan Bs" are beginning to make their final decisions too and may be off the market if eith Blue or Wright spurns Bo at the last moment. Port Washington's Josh Gasser is getting ACC and Pac-10 offers at this point after being told he could walk on at Wisconsin. Players like Darren Tillman and Darryl Trayham have been mentioned in this class, but not repeatedly. Rather that scrambling for scraps, perhaps the program would hold the scholarship for 2011 (more below), especially if Diamond Taylor is a redshirt candidate this season.

U.S. falls short in World University Games
In July, Bo Ryan appeared to be cruising to the gold medal game of the World University Games, before his team collapsed against Russia in the fourth quarter. Team USA held a 10-point lead through much of the game and led by six with 2:30 left. Do you think that reopened some old wounds from last season for the coach?

Clemson's Trevor Booker went 0-for-4 from the free throw line, part of a 20-for-31 team performance in the semifinal game [box score]. After starring for most of the tournament, Penn State's Talor Battle shot 9% from the field. Sadly, Purdue's Robbie Hummel summed things up:

"We didn't give enough to win. Russia played harder than we did, and we didn't get some calls, but that's the way the game goes. It was a very tough loss, and we are all very disappointed."

Team USA settled for an anticlimactic victory over Israel to claim bronze in an extremely hostile environment. It would have been nice for Bo to grab the gold and get a little publicity nationwide for how he runs things here at Wisconsin. But considering how little these games were even covered (ESPN did not even run scores for the tourney until USA's loss), it's not a big deal. Though the Americans seemed destined for a rubber match with Serbia, the host Serbs wound up with the gold as many expected. At least Bo got to teach a coaching clinic while abroad.

I bet Bo wished he still had some of those WUG big men on his roster when he returned to Madison. Bo did work closely with Big Ten adversaries Battle, Hummel and Evan Turner, which I suppose could give him at least one additional nugget of insight when Wisconsin plays one of their teams this season. And in turn, Turner said he learned patience from the ordeal.

With such a deep team, the scoring and rebounding was very balanced in typical Wisconsin style. Individually, Team USA players excelled in two areas. West Virginia's De'Sean Butler and Battle were both in the top eight for 3PT% while Turner (#4) and Hummel (#10) both had great assist-turnover ratios for the tournament.

New recruiting targets emerge
Wisconsin has at least expressed interest in D.C.-area sophomore Darion Atkins. Atkins is a 6'7" center who probably projects as a forward at the collegiate level. It's possible the staff first caught wind of him as they kept tabs on Jeremy Glover, since Flint Hill played Atkins' Landon School team last season.

Darion Atkins, F - Rivals :: Scout :: stats

The talent in Ohio continues to capture the attention of Bo Ryan and his staff. The signing of Rob Wilson last year seemingly opened some connections in the state as several Class of 2011 guards have seen their names pop up in conjunction with UW's recruiting efforts.

Trey Burke, G - Rivals :: Scout :: ESPN :: stats
Trey Lewis, G -
Rivals :: ESPN :: stats
Traveon Jackson, G -
Rivals :: ESPN :: stats
Jakarr Sampson, F -
Rivals :: Scout :: ESPN :: stats

In addition, two guards from Rockford in the 2012 class, Austin Angel and Fred Van Vleet, are on the radar.

: : :

Removed the following prospects from the recruiting sidebar:
: : : Class of 2009
F Mike Bruesewitz, Minneapolis
SG Diamond Taylor, Chicago
SG Jeremy Glover, Oakton VA [+]
: : : Class of 2010
F Kyle Kelm, Randolph WI
: : : Class of 2011
G Nick Latzke, Minneapolis
PF Mike Shaw, Chicago [v]
F Wayne Blackshear, Chicago

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