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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New 2011 Offer Rumored

The other day I mentioned 6'6" forward Markus Crider as a possible new recruiting target for 2011 and now a scouting service out of Ohio is claiming that Wisconsin has offered Crider a scholarship. Crider hails from Wayne High School in Huber Heights, OH, which is just north of Dayton. He may or may not have already visited Wisconsin in September.

I should qualify that by saying this same group -- Michael Duncan's Ohio/National Premier Scouting Service -- thinks Chasson Randle committed to Notre Dame.

But in the event that the ONPSS knows its Ohio preps better than it does Illinois, here's what I found on Crider. He averaged about 10 ppg last year, including 28 in a tournament win back in February en route to the sectional finals.

Last month Crider's high school coach, Travis Trice, said that some Big East schools are recruiting Crider as a point guard, though at his height he could afford to could put on more weight.

"When you talk about his skill set," Trice told the Dayton Daily News, "you’re talking about a player who can do a lot of different things. There’s not anything I see Markus does great or phenomenal, but he does everything pretty well."

In July, Crider impressed Next Level Invitational organizer Antonio Curro in Milwaukee. According to Curro, Crider needs to put in maximum effort more consistently to reach his "immense potential." Here was Curro's take:

"A playmaker with a unique feel for passing from the wing, Crider is an impressive athlete with an enormous wingspan. With his size and skill, his value is in his versatility and it will be important moving forward for him to improve his presence on the court."
Finally, a year ago named Crider one of the Top 20 performers at the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp held in Chicago, noting, "Nice size, great vision, passes well, can shoot the 3, always improving."

: : :

Removed the following prospects from the recruiting sidebar:
: : : Class of 2011
C Zach Price, Cleveland [+] {Louisville}
G Larry Bradley, Milwaukee [+] [v]
PG Darell Longstreet, Kenosha WI [+]

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gasser Fills Void At Guard

When Josh Gasser pledged his services to Bo Ryan last Thursday, the Wisconsin filled a big need on its future roster by addressing point guard depth in the 2010 class. The 6'4" Gasser (pronounced Gah-ser) becomes the heir apparent to succeed Jordan Taylor and could give Wisconsin it's tallest option at the lead guard since Devin Harris. Could we see a point guard posting up in the near future?

Conceivably, Wisconsin could be trotting out a starting lineup measuring 6'4", 6'6", 6'6", 6'10" and 6'11" in 2012 based on the six players they have committed for that season right now.

I imagine Badger fans will grow to love the way Gasser plays, bringing a bit of a football mentality to the hardwood. As a former quarterback and defensive back, Gasser knows how to lead a team, but also adds a bit of reckless abandon and a nose for the ball. So it's no surprise that he is a great rebounding guard and gets to the free throw line a lot. Gasser has scored over 21 ppg for the past two season, going 279-for-336 (83%) on FTs in that time.

Word is Gasser is not playing quarterback for Port Washington this fall, so Badger fans can rest a bit easier hoping he avoids the rash of football-related injuries afflicting top hoops players, near and far, this summer.

Gasser chose the Badgers after taking an official visit to Northwestern, and he had scholarship offers from Arizona State, Maryland and Northern Iowa along the way. Naturally, some recruiting services scrambled after hearing about the commitment -- ESPN moved Gasser into their database for the first time and rating him an 89 (out of 100) the very next day. Go figure ...

Here's s snapshot of the future scholarship situation:Until the Vander Blue situation heats up in the next month or two, things might be pretty quiet on the recruiting front for Wisconsin. While the dorm burglary episode kept things around the program interesting, other midwestern basketball powers -- Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Louisville and Kentucky -- were lining up in-home visits for very sought-after talent or hosting them at football games.

Wisconsin reportedly had Blue and Evan Anderson at Camp Randall for the Michigan State game, but word has not trickled out about hosting more "unfamiliar" faces. So we have only third-party reports of who might be interested in UW since our 2011 prospects don't seem to be picking up steam. Awhile back, mentioned that the Badgers were in contact with 2010's Anton Hutchins (seems doubtful now) as well as 2011's Markus Crider and Travis Trice.

: : :

Speaking of iPod thefts and their effect on recruiting ... in light of recent events, you would think Wisconsin may have cooled on Illinois swingman Jacob Williams. But apparently, the coaches are still in touch with Williams, though there still is no offer. Williams' AAU teammates Chasson Randle and Nnana Egwu both enjoyed visits to Purdue over the weekend according to Illinois Wolves' head coach Mike Mullins. Randle already visited Ohio State and is setting up an Iowa State visit, while Egwu will be on the Illinois campus this coming weekend. Bo & Co. have their work cut out for themselves with those two.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Underrated Senior Guards?

While most people are looking at several of the younger faces to step up and determine Wisconsin's level of success this year, the Badgers are going only as far as their senior backcourt takes them.

Fox Sports' Jeff Goodman posted his list of the country's top 20 backcourts in 2009-10, but UW's Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon missed the cut. Perhaps it was simply the relatively unknown depth behind the starters that allowed schools like Seton Hall and Xavier to make the list instead. When I asked Goodman where he thought the Badger duo would place in the rankings, he tweeted back:

"Wisconsin's guards were in the next five - somewhere in the 20-25 range. Very underrated."
So maybe the Badger guards are just a microcosm of the entire Wisconsin team this year. They are both just off the radar and are being given token respect ... but no one sees them as a threat. Look for the Badgers to have a big year if Hughes and Bohannon can prove people wrong. Maybe they'll even give the Big Ten teams that did make the list -- Michigan State (#1), Ohio State (#3) and Purdue (#18) -- a run for their money.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Theft Fallout = Roster Shakeup

Speculation became reality this afternoon for the Wisconsin men's basketball team, which officially has two fewer players as a result of the recent burglary scandal.

Wisconsin announced today that Jeremy Glover was kicked off the team, while Diamond Taylor opted to withdraw from the university entirely. Seeing as Glover was dismissed, you can be sure Taylor would have been booted too if he and his family had not opted to leave the school. Hopefully both players can start fresh elsewhere.

It's a terrible situation overall, but now everyone is looking forward to the immediate effect it has on the team's roster. More specifically, who will man the backcourt in a few years with Hughes and Bohannon entering their final seasons?

To be honest, this sets up nicely for Wisconsin, even though it will hurt in the short run and came at a terrible cost. As the news started to unfold, word trickled out that Port Washington senior guard Josh Gasser was cancelling one of his official visits, and sure enough, Bo Ryan immediately offered him the standard full ride as soon as Taylor vacated it. The Badgers are in good position among Gasser's final four school choices; getting a commitment from Gasser would also lessen the "must-have" need to sign a point guard in 2011.

Wisconsin could conceivably land the consensus top three state players in the Class of 2010 if Vander Blue recommits. If this unfortunate news brings a side effect of landing Blue, most Badger fans would probably accept the situation with open arms. Taylor and Glover were redshirt candidates this season anyway.

Playing time will be immediately available for a guy like Blue to make an impact as a freshman behind Jordan Taylor and Rob Wilson. Gasser is much needed because only two walk-ons project to back up Taylor starting next year. At this point it would be risky to count on getting a great replacement player in that class if the Badgers miss on either Blue or Gasser.

Luckily, the front court appears to be in good shape. Redshirt freshmen Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans are developing at a promising rate. Junior forwards Tim Jarmusz, Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil all figure enter 2010 with one or two years of starting experience already.

The frontcourt vs. backcourt depth shakes out pretty evenly by class in this way:
Guard class ('06) > big man class ('07) > guards ('08) > big men ('09)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hoops Marinara on Twitter

It's official. I broke down and joined the Twitter madness.

As much as I wanted to stay away from tweeting personally, there is no doubt that it is a great way to gather and disseminate information, which is what this blogging thing is all about. A Twitter presence will only make Hoops Marinara better (this blog just went third-person on ya, believe it).

So visit here and start following!

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Big Step Backwards For Two Freshmen

The basketball season doesn't start for another two months, but the Badgers are already playing from behind.

The basketball careers of Wisconsin freshmen Diamond Taylor and Jeremy Glover are in serious jeopardy after being arrested on burglary charges early Sunday morning. The news has shocked the players' parents, the UW coaching staff and fans alike. From all accounts, both players come from solid family backgrounds. What a holiday weekend ...

It sounds like two young kids got drunk and made a couple of extremely poor decisions together, but the motive is still fuzzy at this time. The duo admitted to entering the Sellery Hall dorm rooms uninvited and taking several items. Madison's WKOW originally reported that the two were also suspected in a few burglaries on Langdon St.

Taylor and Glover have been suspended from practicing with the team until further notice. The students were believed to still be in Dane County Jail as of Monday night. Both have been cooperative.

Previous Bo Ryan players who have run afoul of the law have been on opposite ends of the spectrum and played out much different from each other: Kevin Gullikson's drinking issues in recent years were largely dealt with in-house while Marcettus McGee's 2002 sexual assault case led to the freshman immediately withdrawing from school. This weekend's burglaries fall somewhere in between those scandals, so it will be interesting to see how swiftly and harshly they are judged.

I am wishing both Taylor and Glover the best in learning from this situation and straightening up, but it doesn't look good for them right now. Looking forward to the very near future, Wisconsin may be under the gun to replenish its depth at guard earlier than expected, which could make next year's freshman class even more important than it was before.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rivals150 Revisited: 2009 Edition

In a somewhat annual event, I took a closer look at the final Rivals150 rankings for this fall's incoming freshman to see how the Big Ten recruiting fared in the nation's eyes.

"A bit better" was the answer, perhaps in part due to last season's league-wide improvement. Again the Big Ten ranked fifth among all conferences. But the 19 signees were up slightly from a year ago despite a drop in the total number of Top 150 recruits Big Ten states produced ... all without Ohio State signing a single player for 2009.

As you can see below, it was a down year among Ohio preps. Conversely, Minnesota churned out a bumper crop. And as we know, the Illini are back on their horses when it comes to recruiting and Bruce Weber got a good chunk of his in-state talent to stick around. So did Thad Matta just luck out that he didn't need any players this year or was this a part of his master plan?

Here's where coaching comes into play when looking at these lists. The SEC (17) ranked just behind the Big Ten in total Top 150 signees, but landed eight of the top 30 recruits -- seven of them five-star recruits. The Big Ten only had one five-star recruit (Royce White) in the top 30. Even when you factor in the Calipari effect at Kentucky, this is a big disparity. However, last year's performances back up the notion that the Big Ten is set up very well to take advantage of the talent it does get. We'll see if that continues this season.

2009 Rivals150 recruits: 19
Indiana: 5
Illinois: 4
Michigan: 2
Michigan State: 2
Minnesota: 2
Wisconsin: 2
Penn State: 1
Purdue: 1

Players-by-State in 2009 Rivals150: 27 (2008: 30)
Illinois: 7 (7)
Minnesota: 5 (2)
Indiana: 4 (4)
Pennsylvania: 4 (3)
Michigan: 3 (2)
Wisconsin: 3 (1)
Ohio: 1 (9)
Iowa: 0 (2)

Same rules as last year apply for why I pulled this particular data, though I should note one thing. I counted D.J. Richardson as an Illinois product and Johnnie Lacy as a Wisconsin product since these players went the prep school route for their final year only. If you look strictly at the "hometowns" that Rivals provides, you get a skewed picture of which states produce the most talent each year based on the prep school powerhouses that are based in states like New Hampshire (Brewster Academy, Tilton School), Nevada (Findlay Prep), Virginia (Oak Hill Academy, Hargrave Military) and Massachusetts (Notre Dame Prep). uses the RSCI rankings to provide a plethora of info, charts and graphs on this same subject. Over the last five years, consensus Top 100 centers and point guards have been the toughest players to find. Only Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan State pulled at least one player from the RSCI Top 100 into the conference this fall.

Do you like the NCAA tournament's new 8-team "first-round" format?

What should Wisconsin do with the newly vacated scholarship?

Poll: Who will win the Big Ten?

Poll: Who was Wisconsin's first-half MVP (thru 16 games)?

Poll: How Many Regular Season games will wisconsin win in 2009-10?