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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Prospect Profile: Duje Dukan

Duje Dukan, SF
6'8" :: 195 lbs.
Class of 2010
Deerfield (IL) HS [team site]
AAU: Full Package / Chicago Elite

Scout: 3 Stars * * * (#32 SF) Previous: 1 Star (SG)
Rivals: NR > 3 Stars * * * (SF)
ESPN/Scouts, Inc. grade: 89 (#42 SF)

2010 Second Team All-State (Class 4A, IBCA)
2010 Second Team All-State (Tribune)
2010 All-Area (Sun-Times)
2009 Hardwood Classic MVP

Recent Press
4/7: Future looks bright for Deerfield basketball star Dukan - CSL Insider
3/11: Dukan ranks high in regional final - Chicago Sun-Times
2/22: Dukan on the rise - The Capital Times
2/14: Dukan, Deerfield extend win streak to 18 games - Chicago Tribune
12/22: Duje Dukan helps Deerfield erase deficit in win over Vernon Hills - Chicago Tribune
11/23: Sons of gunners Dukan, Kukoc are next generation - Chicago Tribune
11/17: Wisconsin figures to be good fit for Dukan - Chicago Sun-Times
11/4: Recruit to attend exhibition game tonight -
10/31: Red-hot Deerfield Star Adds a Scholarship Offer from Wisconsin to His Collection -
10/23: Duje Dukan Receives Pac 10 Scholarship Offer - Illinois Prep Bullseye
9/26: Duje Dukan Interview - The Lobo Lair

The Verbal
Dukan hopes to continue blooming with Badgers - (11/10/09)

The Hype
Deerfield's Dukan should be a Mr. Basketball contender - Chicago Tribune (2/15/10)
Late bloomer could complete Sendek's 2010 class - (10/30/09)
Finally! Dukan gets first high-major offer - City/Suburban Hoops Report (10/23/09)
Top marksman talks RedHawks - RedHawk Insider (9/2/09)
Deerfield's Dukan continues to leave his mark - Deerfield Review (2/12/09)
McGee has solid effort in tourney finale - Deerfield Review (1/3/08)
Duje, Big Ham and the Kings - City/Suburban Hoops Report (7/16/09)

Interview: Duje Dukan and Ryan Davis - Deerfield Highlights (2/26/10) - YouTube
News Feature: Prep Star of the Week: Duje Dukan (2/16/10) - Fox Chicago News
Highlights: Duje Dukan (Deerfield) Highlights (11/21/09) - YouTube
Interview: Daniel Poneman Chats with Duje Dukan About Arizona State Offer (10/28/09) - YouTube
Interview: Daniel Poneman Chats with Duje Dukan at Full Package Exposure League (9/14/09) - YouTube

Junior: 2008-09 (Deerfield) - RedHawk Insider

Additional Info
2009-10 Schedule :: Chicago Sun-Times :: CSL Insider


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trevon's Team

In Bo Ryan's first eight seasons at Wisconsin he never had the same full-time starting point guard three years in a row. Now, in his ninth season as head coach, he has senior Trevon Hughes.

Remember that even though Devin Harris started as a freshman, Travon Davis was the starting point guard in Bo's first season. So Hughes, the kid from Queens, has bragging rights among Badgers in the Ryan era.

The 2009-10 Badgers have some good things going for them and Hughes is chief among those. But this year's team also has the burden of answering a lot of questions about it's own identity and whether last year's struggles were just bumps in the road or an indication of things to come.

When Hughes burst onto the scene as a sophomore, some fans saw him destined for the NBA; as his career unfolded, others blamed him for everything that went wrong for the Badgers. Hughes probably has been one of the more polarizing talents in recent memory.

Here what we know: Hughes will finish his career in Wisconsin's Top 10 all-time in steals and assists. He has been honorable mention All-Big Ten the last two seasons. Last season he posted career highs in minutes, 3-pt FG and FT percentage, assists, points and rebounds per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio has improved significantly.

In his second year as a starter, Hughes developed the knack for the big play, as his game-winning shots in the final seconds beat both Virginia Tech and Florida State last year. His teammates call him Pop, but you can call him the "ACC Killer." (Duke even brought in it's next point guard a year early to prepare for Hughes).

There is room for improvement, no question. Hughes must improve his shooting from the dreadful 34.4% mark (32% on threes) he posted in Big Ten play last season. He needs to be more vigilant in probing the defense, especially when the team looks to him to create as the shot clock winds down. Too often in the past two seasons, we have watched Hughes milk the clock before firing a bad 3-pointer. Those shots kill his shooting percentages and do not tax the opposing defense. Wisconsin will also need Hughes to play his best defense consistently.

Maybe most importantly, the coaches are expecting more leadership out of their senior guards. Hughes has learned how to be a leader from both Joe Krabbenhoft and Alando Tucker. He said he is up to the challenge.

"That's part of being the point guard; it comes with the territory," Hughes said on Media Day. "Joe was more outspoken and I like to lead by example. The team always looks to the point guard so I have to be on top of my game each and every day. I need to be more vocal."

On the court, Hughes led his team last year by pacing the Badgers in scoring 11 times. Only 13 times was a player other than Hughes or Marcus Landry (10x) the leading scorer. With Landry gone, you know teammates will be expecting Pop to lead the way again.

Bo Ryan runs the show off the court, but between the lines the proverbial buck stops with Hughes. It's his team and his time.

: : :

To see more of Hughes' career accomplishments, check out these resources:
Wisconsin Basketball 2009-10 Prospectus [pdf]
Wisconsin Men's Basketball Record Book [pdf]

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Red & White Scrimmage

Without the hoopla of a midnight madness event, this year's public Red & White Scrimmage was a relaxing, albeit brief, first look at the team.
The running clock made for a quick, low-scoring affair that the White squad won, 45-36. I was surprised because it seems like the more talented team usually loses. The White, in this case, consisted of Hughes, Bohannon, Nankivil, Gavinski, Evans, Bruesewitz and Smith, which seemed like a better bet than the Red's collection of Leuer, Jarmusz, Taylor, Wilson, Markolf, Berggren, Valentyn and Fahey.

General thoughts: Treys were dropping for both sides to start the game. It was encouraging until everyone started gunning and the percentage plummeted. A few bad passes were scattered throughout as well. I only counted a small handful of fastbreaks in the whole game. Defenders seemed to be switching on ball screens more often than usual, rather than trying to fight through the pick.

Since the only players I had not seen before were freshmen Bruesewitz and walk-on Dan Fahey, I did not watch anyone in particular. A few players -- Nankivil, Evans, Wilson, Berggren -- stood out anyway.

Trevon Hughes :: #3
Hughes had a couple assists and a couple turnovers, but looked totally in control as you might expect. What I really liked watching from Hughes was how he was crashing the boards. Pop swished a half-court shot on his first try to quickly end a post-game fan contest.

Jason Bohannon :: #12
Tried to get his midrange game going, with some success. Scored a quiet 10 points.

Keaton Nankivil :: #52
Nankivil performed well again this year and hopefully that confidence will carry over into the regular season. The Madison Memorial grad led all scorers with 13 points (5-of-8 FGs), including two 3-pointers. He got the White out to a good start early on, used his quickness to blow past Markolf for a reverse and did not hesitate to pop his jumper. Cleaned the glass decently; also noticed how low he made his center of gravity when guarding Leuer.

Jon Leuer :: #30
The big guy looks to be in great shape, but always seems to struggle in this showcase. This time, it was a 2-for-11 shooting performance. I think he should make his baseline turnaround jumper from 10 feet his go-to move. He did have a nifty pass to Fahey amongst the trees that resulted in a layup.

Tim Jarmusz :: #24
You know the story here: solid competitor, can stroke it from deep when he decides to shoot. Except this year he avoided dumb passes and the 3-pointer he nailed was right in Bruiser face with a quick release. I liked it.

J.P. Gavinski :: 44
Still just along for the ride. Got more minutes than Markolf, but showed me even less than last year.

Wquinton Smith :: #2
Another guy who looks more comfortable out there, but didn't do anything besides hit one 3-pointer.

Brett Valentyn :: #15
Only player who did not score. Showed some bounce on a warm-up dunk though!

Jordan Taylor :: #11
I was a little disappointed in Taylor. His shot was off and he picked up a number of fouls, continuing last year's trend. Taylor was outplayed by the senior guards, thus the game's outcome.

Rob Wilson :: #33
Wilson's aggressiveness stood out in the game. I remember after making a 3-pointer, he then took Smith to the block and totally abused him for an easy lay in. His added weight will help him finish and absorb contact. True, he missed a lot of shots too, but he is what he is.

Ian Markolf :: #50
Markolf really does seem to be a decent athlete for such a giant. He showed real effort on his defensive positioning. I still hold out hope that he logs some meaningful minutes before he's done in Madison.

Jared Berggren :: #40
Berggren was impressive in a couple ways. First, he knows how to put the ball in the hoop. He can score with a variety of moves in the paint. Secondly, we got confirmation that his footwork should be solid enough on the blocks to play defense for Bo Ryan. He was active in fronting the post. Needs work on going after rebounds from what I recall.

Ryan Evans :: #5
We learned the more about Evans than any other player, since he played so little in last year's scrimmage. Evans forced his way into the limelight with two second half dunks that were the high point of the night. The first was an alley oop from Hughes. A few seconds later, the second came a run out break where a bad outlet pass forced him to the far wing, allowing Leuer to catch up. No problem -- Evans flushed it over Jon's head with authority. Beyond that, he has the same nose for the ball that you see in Jarmusz, which resulted in a number of rebounds. His handle is still waaaay too sloppy, which might keep him from getting many minutes. Evans showed the potential to disrupt passing lanes and start a break off a turnover. Still, he forced too much offensively. His other highlight was making up for a moment of laziness in transition by hustling back on defense to block a Jarmusz jumper.

Mike Bruesewitz :: #31
Bruiser did not stand out too much, but then, I don't think that will ever be his role. He is a very smart player, twice using a reverse layup to keep bigger defenders at bay near the rim. Bruesewitz also blocked a fastbreak lay up by Wilson, though it might have been goaltending. But that play was a compliment to his hustle. He looked comfortable on the floor with everyone, willing to mix it up as we've all heard.

Dan Fahey :: #10
Slipped behind the defense to convert a great pass into a layup, but Fahey hardly played in the scrimmage.

Per Wisconsin's agreement with adidas, the team will wear updated uniforms this year. The baggier look is a net gain, in my opinion, mostly because of the sharp-looking dual piping down the side of both jersey and shorts. I was not a fan of the adidas stripes and motion W in the neck area, however, and I dislike the return of red (or white) patches on top of the shoulders.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Update: Pro Badgers Around the Globe

Since everyone has been keeping an eye on Marcus Landry's attempt to stick on an NBA roster, it seemed like a pretty good time to review which ex-Badgers are still playing professionally:

Marcus Landry
- After finishing up the preseason schedule, Landry will find out Monday if he will be staying with the New York Knicks. The Knicks currently have 13 players with guaranteed contracts and Landry is up against two other players with partially guaranteed contracts -- Joe Crawford and Chris Hunter -- for the final roster spot. Keep your fingers crossed. [edit: He made it!]

Greg Stiemsma
- Stiemsma played in South Korea, Turkey and the D-League last year and has been in Sioux Falls, SD, and the Madison area this month. According to reader Stephen Chung, however, Stiemsma was the #2 overall pick in the Korean Professional Basketball League's international player draft this summer. If you have a Korean character set installed on your 'puter and speak Korean, here's an article!

Brian Butch
- Butch landed in Athens, Greece and got off to a decent start the other day. His coach with the Ilysiakos club has instructed him to only shoot 3-pointers! You can follow the Polar Bear's adjustment to Greek living on his Jump Around blog for the Big Ten Network.

Michael Flowers
- Flowers is ballin' in Holland with Matrixx Magix Nijmegen. He's teammates with the Great White Flight, Henry Bekkering. Brother Jonte is doing well in France's top league. [stats]

Alando Tucker
- Tucker is struggling to find his stroke and playing time in the preseason. [stats]

Kam Taylor
- Kam is killin' it in France with STB Le Havre, which I believe is in the top French league also. After three games, Taylor is one of the league's scoring leaders. [stats]

Mike Wilkinson
- Wilkinson is back in Turkey after a year in Russia.

Devin Harris
- Harris is injured (strained groin) ... again. But you can buy a personal appearance -- and Nets tickets -- for $25,000!

Kirk Penney
- In case you had not heard, Penney was the Australian National Basketball League MVP last season. He is playing with the New Zealand Breakers again this season.

Michael Finley
- Meanwhile, Finley scored 20 points the other night to lead San Antonio to victory. His game has aged quite nicely.

- Jason Chappell (Austria), Ray Nixon (France), Zach Morley (Spain), Rashard Griffith (Romania)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On the Stove Top: Media Day Edition

Edited 10/22 to include Media Day videos & additional content
Wednesday was Media Day, so folks got to ask Bo some questions after his first few practices of the season. We know what to expect Bo to give the media at this point: nothing specific. He said that practices have been very competitive though.

Two small things stood out after seeing video of the session. First, Bo was asked if he has been able to identify this early who the defensive stoppers might be on this year's team. He talked about Jordan Taylor and Tim Jarmusz specifically. No mention of Rob Wilson, which was slightly disappointing to me. Secondly, Bo said that the staff pointed out to both Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil that those players were not exactly where the team needed them to be physically last year. It seems the two guys have responded. The coach noted how Nankivil in particular "blew up" the Hill this off-season. Leuer says he has bulked up [video] to 228 lbs. (up from 190 as a freshman):

"I've put on about 15 pounds. Playing in the Big Ten, it's a physical league and there are a lot of guys that are bigger and stronger than you are, so you have to deal with that. If you haven't worked to get stronger, you're going to get pushed around. That was a major emphasis for us this offseason--getting stronger in our legs and core so we couldn't get bumped around, especially in the post."
Some early season previews have the Badgers falling well out of the Top 25 this season, but often still as a tournament team:
: : : has profiled the team's two redshirt freshmen, Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren, leading up to the new season. Nothing hard-hitting, but it's still twice as much as you've heard from either of them so far.

The Sports Bubbler also posted video interviews with all the non-seniors from Media Day and I picked out a few in addition to Leuer's that were interesting. Berggren was named the player to watch by most of his teammates. To see the whole video series, visit

: : :

Illinois Wolves director Mike Mullins spoke with Talking Illini yesterday and they discussed the Diamond Taylor situation for about three minutes or so [audio: start at 38-min mark]. The comments from Mullins reinforced that Taylor's dismissal was handed down from above Bo Ryan and the Athletic Department. The interview covers Chasson Randle also, whom Mullins says is no longer accepting scholarship offers, so his decision is creeping closer. Wisconsin is not expected to be a finalist for Randle's services at this point.

: : :

Speaking of the Class of 2011, a few of the high school juniors who have drawn interest from Bucky decided to verbal to other teams today. Luckily, nothing heartbreaking, but Villanova and Penn State will both be getting nice players.

Removed the following prospects from the recruiting sidebar:
: : : Class of 2011
SG Achraf Yacoubou, New York [s] [+] [+] {Villanova}
PG Trey Burke, Columbus OH {Penn State}

Monday, October 19, 2009

Officially Blueless

So Vander Blue committed to Marquette on Sunday ... surprised?

Of course not. All Badger fans should be disappointed, but this may have been inevitable. Blue's own comments since his latest commitment spelled out the bottom line: Blue is most comfortable at Marquette.

He will be able to continue playing with best friend Jeronne Maymon and run in a traditionally up-tempo offense. Anyone who has watched Memorial press and run opponents out of the gym know why Blue enjoys running with less structure -- it is what made him a national recruit in the first place. You cannot fault the kid for wanting to play in the Big East either. And best of all for mom, he get this within state borders.

For years, we have known that Wisconsin fights an uphill battle with recruits like Blue who (perhaps unknowingly) care more about pace than efficiency. After all, they just want to play. Defense might win championships, but rarely does it net you top recruiting classes. When you have to fly in Devin Harris to explain to a prospect how the offense might open up if he commits, you've already lost that particular battle.

Using Ken Pomeroy's statistics that go back to the 2003-04 season, Wisconsin's adjusted tempo has been noticeably lower than Marquette's in every year except one (2004-05). Furthermore, over the same span, the 2005-06 season was the only time the Badgers played at a faster pace than half of the BCS conference teams. You will remember that year's squad as the one which lost Marcus Landry and Greg Stiemsma midseason due to academic ineligibility and the only one on this list that failed to win 20 games.

Year /Record /Adj. Pace /BCS Rk /Teams Faster































Coincidence? Don't think so. This is how Bo wins games. Wisconsin ranked as the 24th-most efficient offense on average among BCS teams through those six years.

It doesn't hurt Marquette's cause that Buzz Williams and the Golden Eagles put on a flamboyant Midnight Madness show last weekend and Blue bonded immediately with all the guys on the team (maybe the school even threw the ex-baller cutie in as Blue's academic advisor on purpose). Conversely, Blue did not get along as well with current Badgers and Bo is known to be more laissez faire than many of his coaching counterparts.

Buzz and the Madison Memorial-to-Marquette pipeline worked hard to get this pledge from Blue. It was a priority. The Journal-Sentinel noted that Blue is Marquette's highest-rated recruit in almost 30 years.

Blue was only 15 years old when he verballed to UW; I know I was personally surprised at how fast that happened, so I don't blame him for reconsidering. So whether or not the Badgers took their "foot off the gas" after Blue initial commitment, this chapter of the saga seems to have ended.

Only time will tell if Blue's decision to stay in his comfort zone will pay off as he hopes.

: : :

I was also going to complain today about how any self-respecting basketball power could not hold some sort of Midnight Madness event. While it's true that the program has taken on the identity of it's no-frills coach, it seems Wisconsin is not the only one bypassing the contrived event this year. In the Big Ten alone, Ohio State, Purdue and Penn State did not hold such an spectacle this year either.

: : :

Removed the following prospects from the recruiting sidebar:
: : : Class of 2010
SG Vander Blue, Madison WI {Marquette}
: : : Class of 2011
PF Nnana Egwu, Chicago {Illinois}
SF Sam Thompson, Chicago

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Big Ten Previews, Charts and Graphs

Once again, Michigan basketball blog UMHoops has gathered a number of fellow bloggers together for a slew of Big Ten previews. For the second year in a row, I was happy to take part in the process. If you are down with O.P.P. (Other People's Previews), check out my Wisconsin preview that kicked things off last Monday. I think they are about halfway through the league by now.

(I just now realized I had this post all typed out and then just, uhm, forgot to post it.)

Hopefully I accurately gauged the general pulse of Badger fans heading into the year, tainted only slightly by my own opinion. Let me know if you agree or think I royally missed the mark.

One of the links Dylan included over there as an intro to the previews was a grid showing what percentage of statistical production returns for each conference team this season.

For a different perspective, The Only Colors -- a Spartan blog -- has a 2009-10 preview aerial focusing on last year's efficiency rating vs. returning minutes. Compare that graph to to last year's efficiency margin vs. returning minutes aerial by the Big Ten Geeks and you will see these things aren't always the best predictors of success.

So yes, if you are scoring at home, I'm officially down with O.P.P., O.P.C. (Charts) and O.P.G. (Graphs).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sagarin Ranks Wisconsin 28th All-Time

If it's in an encyclopedia, it's gotta be true, right?

USA Today's Jeff Sagarin lent his rating expertise to the editors of ESPN's new College Basketball Encyclopedia to determine the greatest college basketball programs of all-time. In fact, he ranks 330 qualifying schools and places Wisconsin 28th on the list.

The ratings cover the last 72 years of college hoops. The Badgers ranked 13th in the 1940s and 11th in the most recent decade (2000s) according to Sagarin's system. Wisconsin did not appear as a top-40 program in any other decade.

Despite the lofty rating, Wisconsin was only 9th all-time among Big Ten teams. The conference dominated this list overall, placing five teams in the top ten and eight in the top 15 (#5 Indiana, #6 Illinois, #8 Purdue, #9 Ohio State, #10 Iowa, #13 Michigan, #14 Minnesota, #15 Michigan State). The ranking criteria doesn't seem to give as much weight to high-end success as evidenced by MSU's spot behind the Hawkeyes and Gophers.

ESPN's Pat Forde attacked the merits of these rankings immediately, but mostly singled out the "midwestern bias" for his barbs. Basically he argues that success in more recent years should be given more weight. The Badgers get dinged by name when Forde points out how #32 Arkansas got the shaft from Sagarin. Point taken.

Really ESPN and Sagarin just prove yet again that there is no ranking system that everyone can agree upon. But for those interested in intrastate bragging rights, Marquette ranked slightly higher overall than Wisconsin, at 24th all-time. The Warriors/Golden Eagles ranked 3rd in the 1970s and 32nd this decade.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prospect Profile: Markus Crider

Markus Crider, SF
6'6" :: 190 lbs.
Class of 2011
Huber Heights (OH) Wayne HS [team site]
AAU: King James Shooting Stars / SYF Players

Scout: 2 Stars * * (SF) Previous: 3 Stars
ESPN/Scouts, Inc. grade: 89 (#25) > 88 (#45 > #51 > #52 SF)

2010 Honorable Mention All-State (Div. 1, AP)
2010 First Team All Greater Western Ohio Conference
2009 Second Team All Greater Western Ohio Conference

Recent Press
6/25: Elite Camp Player Evaluations - The Wolverine
3/13: Michigan coach sees inspired performance from possible Wayne recruit - Dayton Daily News
2/13: Wayne clinches share of division title - Dayton Daily News
1/23: Jackson plays flat, loses to Huber Heights Wayne in Columbus event -
1/19: CJ, Westerville North wins define final day of Flyin to the Hoop -
9/10: Wayne looking to challenge in Ohio - High Major Scoop
8/22: Flyers keeping tabs on two highly-touted Wayne stars - Dayton Daily News

The Verbal
Ohio forward Crider commits to Friars - Providence Journal (10/12/10)

The Hype
Summer Jam: Day Two - Rivals (7/14/10)
Who are the state's top players by position? - (6/9/10)
Flying to the Hoop: Day Three - Rivals (1/19/10)
2009 Next Level Invitational 16U Top Performers - NY2LA Sports (7/20/09)
Recruiting: Markus Crider - Miami Hawk Talk (6/12/09)
Wayne's Crider on the rise; Warriors nearly knock off nation's No. 2 team - (1/20/09)
Crider leads Wayne with 18 in fast-paced attack - Dayton Daily News (12/13/08)

Highlights: Video: Markus Crider (5/29/09) - YouTube
Highlights: Wayne Warrior Basketball Part 1 (3/19/09) - YouTube
Highlights: 2009 Wayne Warrior Basketball Part 2 (3/19/09) -YouTube

Junior: 2009-10 (Wayne) -
Sophomore: 2008-09 (Wayne) -

Additional Info
2009-10 Schedule :: Dayton Daily News


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?