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Friday, April 30, 2010

Brust's Path To The Badgers Looks Clear

A Big Ten faculty committee sided with Wisconsin Friday morning and will grant a waiver to former Iowa recruit Ben Brust to allow him to receive an athletic scholarship at another school within the conference.

Based on the fact that Wisconsin formally went to bat for Brust in a second appeal, the Badgers are the odds-on favorite to sign the 6'2" guard from Mundelein (Ill.) High School before the spring signing period concludes May 19. Brust appears to be the most viable option to replace Ian Markolf on the roster, which would alleviate some of the depth concerns at guard next year caused by graduation and dismissals.

Iowa released Brust from his Letter of Intent without restriction back on April 12, after hiring new head coach Fran McCaffery to replace the ousted Todd Lickliter. Scholarship offers poured in from California to Boston College, but Big Ten programs like Iowa, Wisconsin and Northwestern continued to show varied amounts of interest in Brust, pending the interpretation the existing rule against transferring within the conference.

Brust was originally denied in the matter by the Big Ten's Academics and Eligibility Subcommittee.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Devon Hodges Reconsiders Commitment

The surprising news that Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School junior Devon Hodges is no longer committed to Wisconsin has a familiar ring to it.

According to Hodges' father, Dwan Friend, the decision came about rather quickly in recent days, citing conversations where Hodges expressed he might not be completely happy with the pledge he made last January as a 15-year-old sophomore. Friend, a professed Wisconsin fan, was concerned that Hodges may have originally made his choice, in part, to please his father.

"I said to him, 'I don't want you to make me happy, I want you to make you happy'," Friend said.

Hodges' father informed assistant coach Howard Moore over the phone on Tuesday. Friend dispelled any notions that his son was pushed towards this decision by the Wisconsin coaching staff, noting that Moore was visible at several of Bolingbrook's games this past season.

However, Friend echoed the sentiments expressed by former Badger recruit Vander Blue as he relayed his shock at some of the comments regarding Hodges made by Badger fans on Internet message boards. It should be absolutely clear now, if it wasn't before, that recruits and their families read what fans have to say about their sons and daughters. Some find it hard to ignore. In this case, the negativity affected Hodges.

"We paid attention to that," Friend admitted.

With so little information coming out on Hodges this past year, Friend said he told Hodges that many Wisconsin fans may be basing their opinions on what they see -- or don't see -- in the Chicago-area media. It is no secret that Hodges' stock has not improved in the eyes of certain local and national talent evaluators. Friend noted that one such scout did not even recognize Hodges when the player introduced himself last year. His family believes the trend started when Hodges left the well-known and respected Illinois Wolves AAU program.

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Ah yes, the AAU clubs. Hodges is now with his third travel team in as many summers, not to mention he transferred schools (from Romeoville to Bolingbrook) back in November. He moved from the Wolves to the D-Rose All-Stars last year before switching to Full Package Elite this year. In addition, Hodges is scheduled to play with an international travel team called Team USA Elite.

"I was with the Illinois Wolves since I was in 8th grade and when I decided to leave last year it was not an easy decision for me," Hodges explained over the weekend, "but after looking at the type of player I was and comparing it to the type of player I wanted to be there were some things I needed to change."

Though Wisconsin recruited him as a power forward, Hodges said he patterns his game after Evan Turner.

"I would like to show people I can make just as much happen on the outside as I do on the inside," Hodges said. "No one has ever gotten the chance to see me outside because I am constantly in the post and someday I hope to change that."

: : :

When I talked with Hodges recently, he gave no indication that he was having second thoughts about his original decision. The 6'7", 220-pound lefty seemed like the same well-spoken and motivated player he was a year ago. I was impressed with his willingness to discuss all the switching between AAU clubs.

"Each program was great," said Hodges, who has considered studying meteorology in college. "I was able to walk away from both programs with knowledge and able to say that I had learned some very important things. I did thank Coach [Mike] Mullins as well as Coach [Reggie] Rose for the opportunities that I was given."

Hodges thinks he has finally found the right fit. He was able to join his Full Package Elite team in the Swish N' Dish Spring Warm-Up in Milwaukee earlier this month after recovering from a concussion and said he was pleased with his performance. But it was the chance to go the extra mile in his personal workouts that sold Hodges on his new AAU home.

"What I liked about choosing to play with Full Package compared to other teams was the opportunity to get individual training and development, which is very important to me," Hodges continued. "I was sold on the fact that I would be training with Coach Steve Pratt and still being able to play with a great program."

At this time, adding strength and developing his perimeter skills are Hodges' main objectives.

"I am in the gym six days a week,” Hodges said. “Between that and school in addition to getting my legs and upper body stronger, my days are very busy. I normally get up at 4 a.m. and I am out the door by 5 a.m. so it can be really hectic."

Hodges averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game for his high school team this season, despite facing frequent double-teams in the post.

"Nine times out of 10 I'm the one doing the job no one else wants to do. And that's being down low, which is what I do well," Hodges said.

"Devon is an outstanding young man," said Bolingbrook head coach Rob Brust. "He is a solid rebounder and scorer who can face up and hit the 15 to 18-foot jumper. He is a double-double waiting to happen every time he steps on the floor."

At least 13 Division 1 schools had shown interest in Hodges the first time around, according to Friend, and he has not ruled out Wisconsin.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Recruit Review: April '10

With Mundelein's Ben Brust almost certainly out of the picture, Wisconsin's 2010 class size might be set at three players. That leaves another scholarship to possibly add to the 2011 class, which has two important pieces already starting another summer travel season. Here's how each Badger recruit finished up the high school portion of the year ...


:: Though Duje Dukan could conceivably arrive in Madison as the lowest-rated prospect in Wisconsin's 2010 class, he is undoubtedly the incoming freshman about whom Badger fans are most excited. Dukan averaged 22.9 pts and 9.3 rebs this season to lead Deerfield (Ill.) High School to a share of the Central Suburban League title.

Deerfield's Dukan led the Warriors (25-4) on an remarkable 18-game winning streak that peaked when Dukan scored 19 straight second-half points to beat Riverside-Brookfield on Valentine's Day. The very next game, Glenbrook North basically had to throw the Jordan Rules at Dukan to halt the streak. Fresh off scoring 32 points against Conant, Dukan next capped a furious rally with a game-tying 3-pointer to send the Waukegan game to overtime, but Illinios recruit Jereme Richmond's squad prevailed, 93-87.

There was more. Deerfield's second round state tournament opponent, Libertyville, got "Dukan-ed" when the senior scored the final 12 points of the opening quarter. He finished with 28 of Deerfield's 56 points in an easy win. However, Schaumburg ended Dukan's senior season unexpectedly in the sectional semis despite his 22-point, 12-rebound effort.

In addition to earning Second Team All-State laurels, Dukan was invited to the Nike Hoop Summit on April 10 as a part of the World Select team. Though he struggled in the team's loss [box score], Dukan was honored to participate [practice video]:

"Any time you are mentioned as one of the better players in the world, in your age group, it's just incredible. Being able to represent Croatia is very special. As a whole, being able to compete with the top players in America will help prepare me for the Big Ten."
:: Port Washington's Josh Gasser piled up plenty of honors of his own at the conclusion of his prep career. The 6'4" combo guard just missed his third straight season averaging a double-double, posting career high averages in scoring (23.9) and assists (4.8) to go along with 9.8 rebs and 2.7 stls per game. Following in the footsteps of Ben Averkamp, Kwamain Mitchell and Tim Jarmusz, Gasser was named Wisconsin's 2010 Gatorade Player of the Year for his contributions on and off the court.

The Pirates (19-5) went 6-2 in February to clinch a share of the mighty North Shore Conference crown, as Gasser continued to make a killing from the charity stripe. The team won its final regular season game with Gasser on the sidelines nursing an ankle injury and set out to return to the state tournament. After a bye, Gasser returned to score 33 points as Port advanced to the regional finals, but his state title dream ended with 26-point showing in a tough loss to Whitefish Bay.

:: The jump in Evan Anderson's production never really materialized under the new coaching regime at Eau Claire North, but Anderson did set a personal best in averaging 10 ppg (up from 8 ppg last season). Anderson, who was Honorable Mention All-State, has become a capable passer out of double-teams but needs to work on keeping the ball high and away from smaller guards.

His Huskies began February with a loss before winning eight in a row, including two games to win their WIAA tournament regional as the #5 seed. North (18-7) bowed out to top-seeded Antigo as Anderson was held to two points.

Anderson headlines the recently announced North roster for the WBCA All-Star game to be held June 19 at the UW Fieldhouse, where he will go head-to-head with state champion seven-footer Ben Mills of Arrowhead.


:: February and March were not kind to Bolingbrook. The Raiders started off well, winning two games to extend its streak to four wins in a row. Junior forward Devon Hodges used a big second quarter to power the 'Brook into a tie for the conference lead on Feb. 5, but the team would get no closer to the Southwest Suburban Conference title.

The following game Hodges put together a monster game with 25 pts, 9 rebs and 2 blks. But Bolingbrook was unable to take advantage and was upset by Kankakee. The loss started a season-ending six-game losing streak from that point on culminated in a crushing defeat in the Class 4A regional semifinal. Hodges did lead the team in scoring that game with 10 points, adding a couple rebounds.

Bolingbrook posted a 13-13 record this year. Hodges was named Third Team All-Area by the Chicago Sun-Times and head coach Rob Brust called him "a walking double-double." Hodges will play some AAU tournaments with the Full Package Elite 17U team this summer.

:: After regaining his health at the end of January, George Marshall helped Brooks Prep to six straight blowout wins spanning the city playoffs and the start of the state tournament, including revenge against Carver. But Marshall managed only two free throws as the Eagles (24-8) fell to Crete-Monee to end the high school season.

Once the travel team season began, Marshall started making headlines along with his new teammates on the Mac Irvin Fire. The Fire list Marshall at 6'2" and 190 lbs. but that's probably a result of the standard "program height" boost.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vote for Postseason Awards

Tuesday night was the Wisconsin men's basketball postseason reception. In particular, the season highlight video put together by Matt Ryan was very well done and is worth a look.

Along the same lines, online voting ends today for the 2009-10 men's basketball awards. When I watched the nominees for Play of the Year or Individual Performance of the Year, I got a renewed sense of appreciation for the great year this group of Badgers really had. Now that a few weeks have passed since the end of the season, it doesn't seem so bad that the team peaked earlier than you'd like -- the enjoyable part is that Wisconsin reached a significant peak, highlighted by three home wins over teams ranked in the Coaches' Top 5.

Voting is closed -- see the winners now!

Allow me to make a case in each category:

1. Best Game of the Season: 73-69 win over Duke
A no-brainer really. Duke is a combination college hoops royalty and the evil empire all in one, so this was a big hill to climb. A wire-to-wire win eradicated a bad memory from 2007 and this contest was close enough throughout that the outcome was truly up for grabs. A not-so-close second place goes to punishing Michigan State, 67-49, at the Kohl Center in February.

2. Greatest Individual Performance: Trevon Hughes vs. Duke
Several good options here, but Hughes played perhaps the finest game of his career against the Blue Devils. Not a stat-stuffer event (he added just 2 rebs, 2 assts, 1 blk & 1 stl), but Hughes was the one Badger who the team was counting on to athletically get his own shot that night. He delivered with 26 pts. And had zero turnovers to boot. The sheer variety of way in which he scored was dazzling.

I would be remiss if I didn't reiterate how much I enjoyed watching Keaton Nankivil hit 7-of-8 treys in the losing effort at Purdue. Just amazing, which is more than I can say about Jason Bohannon's barrage against Indiana I'm afraid. The Hoosiers are just terrible. But both Hughes' night on the road in Evanston and Jordan Taylor's performance against Penn State both received heavy consideration for my vote. I remember feeling resigned to Wisconsin dropping a home game to the Nittany Lions of all teams while listening to that game on the radio. Then Taylor became possessed ... and a minor miracle ensued. Good times!

3. Play of the Year: Hughes' steal and alley-oop to Nankivil vs. Iowa
Showtime at the Kohl Center showcased Pop's defense, ball handling and knack for the moment, as well as Nankivil's athleticism. Gave the crowd exactly what they wanted to punctuate a big win.

Note this wasn't called the "most important" play of the year or else I would have voted for Jon Leuer's winner against Wofford, which was incredibly clutch. And the prettiest has got to be Hughes' spin and rainbow J against Duke. That one is etched in my memory for good.

4. Greatest Team Accomplishment: Beating three Top 10 teams
This is one of those things that happens once in a generation really (at least for Wisconsin it had been 21 seasons). Kind of ties into the 16-1 home record also. Leading the nation in fewest turnovers looks nice on the résumé, but I'd trade it for a few more wins in a heartbeat.

5. Team MVP: Jon Leuer
This one was tough. I believe Leuer is the most talented player on the roster and he really came into this own this year. As the only legit post presence on the team, he was the single player most vital to UW's success. Wisconsin's success without Leuer was admirable, but the way Hughes reverted to his old ways at the season's end pretty much clinched this one in my mind. A close third to J-Bo, who really stepped up when Bo needed him most (during Leuer's injury).

6. Most Improved Player: Jordan Taylor
Just a sophomore, Taylor had basically become Wisconsin's true point guard even before he was inserted into the starting lineup. His mercurial assist-to-turnover ratio (3:1) stands out the most, along with his assists, but it was his confidence that took the biggest step. Perhaps that's why he improved his 3-point shooting from 19% to 32.5% and his overall FG% from 26% to nearly 40% (a 71% and 51% improvement, respectively!!).

This category was clearly a two-horse race between JT and Leuer. Leuer started the year as a bit player with potential to a potential NBA draft pick and one of the favorites for next year's Big Ten Player of the Year award.

7. Which non-starter are you most excited about: Ryan Evans
And of the four players, this was my order: Evans > Rob Wilson > Mike Bruesewitz > Jared Berggren. Wilson was my first thought, since I believe he will blossom with a bump up to more playing time as a junior. Love his aggressiveness. The more I thought about it though, aggressiveness is Evans' game too. And as a freshman, Evans played even more than Wilson did, despite still being such a raw prospect. His skill set is much different than anyone else on next year's team. Evans is a big x-factor -- I'd love to see that haircut in the starting five next year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Prospect Profile: Ben Brust

Ben Brust, SG
6'2" :: 185 lbs.
Class of 2010
Mundelein (IL) HS [team site]
AAU: Rising Stars

Scout: 3 Stars * * * (#41 SG) Previous: #40 SG
Rivals: 3 Stars * * * (PG)
ESPN/Scouts, Inc. grade: 90 (#52 SG)

2010 Second Team All-State (Class 4A, IBCA)
2010 All-Area Team (ESPNChicago)
2010 All-North Suburban Conference
2010 Academic All-American Classic

Recent Press
4/30: UW wins appeal on behalf of Brust - JSOnline
4/22: Big Ten denies waiver for ex-Iowa recruit - Cedar Rapids Gazette
4/20: Badgers hot on the trail of Illinois shooting guard -
1/20: On the Sideline with Mundelein's Ben Brust - Chicago Tribune
1/9: Mustangs, Brust get best of Smith, Z-B - Chicago Sun-Times

The Verbal
Brust commits to Badgers men's basketball team - WiSJ (5/8/10)
Brust re-opens recruitment - (4/14/10)

The Hype
Richmond, Leonard top 2010 - City/Suburban Hoops Report (4/30/10)
Quick playoff exit puzzling to Brust - Chicago Sun-Times (3/9/10)
Iowa-bound Brust, Sawvell, Mundelein too much fo Ohio-State bound Smith, Zion-Benton - Chicago Tribune (1/9/10)
Scouts survive Brust's big night, win in OT - Chicago Sun-Times (12/8/09)
Healthy again, Brust a force for Mundelein - Chicago Sun-Times (6/16/09)
Brust scores 45 in Mustang victory over Cats - Chicago Sun-Times (12/10/08)

Game: Second annual High School Academic All-American Classic (5/1/10) - Fox Sports
Interview: Ben Brust - HawkeyeNationTV (2/28/10) - YouTube
Highlights: Lenzelle Smith and Ben Brust (1/29/10) - YouTube
Highlights: Ben Brust 2009-10 (12/21/09) - YouTube
Highlights: Ben Brust 2008-09 II (7/7/09) - YouTube
Highlights: Ben Brust 2008-09 (4/23/09) - YouTube


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


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Departing Seniors vs. The Record Book

Now that the books have closed on the careers of Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon, it's time to take a look at what statistical mark they actually left on the program. The duo graces many of Wisconsin's career leaderboards after a successful senior campaign that brought both players all-conference honors.

Hughes was Second Team All-Big Ten and made the conference's All-Defensive Team this season. Bohannon, the 2007-08 Sixth Man of the Year, was a Third Team All-Big Ten choice and received Wisconsin's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award as well.

As expected, Bohannon finished among Wisconsin's all-time best in career free throw percentage when he set a personal best (87.3%) from the charity stripe in 2009-10. But J-Bo's steady contributions also allowed him to shatter the school record for minutes played in one season with 1,214, topping Kam Taylor's old mark. The Iowan ranks second all-time with 135 game appearances, behind only Krabbenhoft (136).

Pop, on the other hand, started 100 of the 132 games he played in his career, good for eighth and fourth respectively. His most prolific accomplishment was passing Michael Flowers to rank third in career steals. Hughes also edged Joe Krabbenhoft by one assist to reach the Top Ten in all-time assists.

But Jordan Taylor may surpass Hughes in assists as soon as next season. Not to be out-done by his older teammates, Taylor tied for the 7th-most assists in a single season, tying Mark Vershaw and Wes Matthews with 118 dimes. The sophomore also boasted the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio in Wisconsin history (3.03:1). But it was Jon Leuer, despite missing nine games, who got the only honorable mention league honors for the Badgers.

Player - Career Steals (Season Total)
1. Mike Kelley - 275
2. Tracy Webster - 183
3. Trevon Hughes - 177 (55)
4. Michael Flowers - 171
5. Mike Wilkinson - 169
6. Michael Finley - 168
7. Devin Harris - 164
8. Trent Jackson - 151
9. Hennssy Auriantal - 133
10. Claude Gregory - 131

Player - Career Assists (Season Total)
1. Tracy Webster - 501
2. Mike Heineman - 388
3. Michael Finley - 371
4. Mike Kelley - 344
5. Tom Molaski - 335
6. Mark Vershaw - 311
7. Devin Harris - 295
8. Arnold Gaines - 290
9. Michael Flowers - 278
10. Trevon Hughes - 277 (86)

Player - Career 3-Point Field Goals (Season Total)
1. Tim Locum - 227
2. Kirk Penney - 217
3. Michael Finley - 213
4. Jason Bohannon - 212 (68, tied for 9th-most in a season)
5. Trent Jackson - 193
6. Devin Harris - 187
7. Trevon Hughes - 175 (74, tied for 4th-most in a season)
8. Tracy Webster - 167
9. Sean Mason - 166
10. Kammron Taylor - 163

Player - Career 3-Point Field Goal Attempts (Season Total)
1. Michael Finley - 631
2. Kirk Penney - 561
3. Jason Bohannon - 559 (175, tied himself for 8th-most in a season)
4. Devin Harris - 499
5. Trevon Hughes - 487 (187, 5th-most in a season)
6. Tim Locum - 481
7. Sean Mason - 471
8. Kammron Taylor - 430 (tie)
8. Trent Jackson - 430 (tie)
10. Tracy Webster - 406

Player - Career Free Throws (Season Total)
1. Alando Tucker - 520
2. Michael Finley - 456
3. Claude Gregory - 433
4. Danny Jones - 408
4. Clarence Sherrod - 408
6. Mike Wilkinson - 394
7. Devin Harris - 362
8. Trevon Hughes - 334 (107)
9. Sean Mason - 332
10. Dick Cable - 316

Player - Career Free Throw Attempts (Season Total)
1. Alando Tucker - 817
2. Danny Jones - 599
3. Michael Finley - 593
4. Claude Gregory - 586
5. Mike Wilkinson - 534
6. Clarence Sherrod - 522
7. Joe Franklin - 476
8. Trevon Hughes - 464 (150)
9. Paul Morrow - 449
10. James Johnson - 429

Player - Career Free Throw Percentage (Season)
1. Rick Olson - .870
2. Tim Locum - .856
3. Jason Bohannon - .848 (.873, 6th-best single-season mark)
4. Wes Matthews - .817
5. Mike Carlin - .804
6. Dick Miller - .801
7. Kammron Taylor - .795
8. Sean Mason - .794
9. Clarence Sherrod - .782
10. Devin Harris - .778

Player - Career Minutes (Season Total)
1. Alando Tucker - 4,247
2. Mike Wilkinson - 4,023
3. Rick Olson - 3,962
4. Michael Finley - 3,945
5. Jason Bohannon - 3,749 (1,214, most in Wisconsin single-season history)
6. Mike Kelley - 3,712
7. Danny Jones - 3,623
8. Mark Vershaw - 3,466
9. Trevon Hughes - 3,438 (1,077)
10. Kirk Penney - 3,416

Friday, April 9, 2010

On the Stove Top: 4/9/10

Greg Gard is one of five official finalists for the UW-Green Bay head coaching position. The process is expected to drag into next week when a round of more formal interviews will take place on campus. Former Wisconsin interim head coach Brad Soderberg declined consideration.

: : :

In a follow-up to Wednesday's post, day one at Portsmouth went pretty smoothly for Trevon Hughes. He led his team to a blowout victory with a well-rounded effort. Other Big Ten players in the tournament include DeShawn Sims and Lawrence Westbrook. Hughes goes up against Baylor's Tweety Carter as his team resumes play tonight.

: : :

Draft Express was on the scene as the Nike Hoop Summit practices began and incoming UW recruit Duje Dukan got a shout out for his shooting prowess. While Dukan measured over 6'8" tall in shoes, I found it interesting that his wingspan was only 6'7". So despite his nice height as a shooting forward, Dukan is not necessarily "long" in the hoops sense.
[Saturday's results] [box score]

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The premature speculation toward next season ran rampant after Duke's win over Butler Monday night. More often than not, Wisconsin is again being overlooked. Here's just a sampling of early Top 25 lists for 2010-11 and where (if) the Badgers ranks ...

Keep in mind these lists hang in varying degrees of accuracy due to the stream of NBA early entrant announcements. The Sporting News keeps a nice up-to-date list of those players.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hughes Eyes Post-Wisconsin Career

The long, often harsh, road toward a professional basketball career begins today for Wisconsin guard Trevon Hughes as the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament tips off once again.

Coincidentally, Hughes will be teaming up with Cornell's Ryan Wittman on the K&D Rounds Landscaping team. The PIT website will update with scores and stats as they become available throughout the week.

Hughes is one of 64 seniors hoping to make a good impression on even one NBA team. And if not, then at least some European scouts. The rosters have shuffled a bit since they were announced due to some injuries. Draft Express breaks down who the top prospects are and the surprising omissions. Stay healthy Pop!

Previous participants at Portsmouth include former Badgers Marcus Landry and Brian Butch, who both recently found themselves called up to the big leagues. Landry was recalled by the Celtics, meaning Boston now has two Badgers on its roster (the other: Michael Finley). Butch was signed by Denver for the remainder of this season after a stellar stint in the D-League.

Hughes acquitted himself just fine in last Friday's NABC College All-Star Game at the Final Four. It's no surprise that he jacked up a trey about 10 seconds into the game, but he also dished out four assists and stayed true to form with solid rebounding (six boards). Jason Bohannon started out hot in the weekend's 3-point shooting contest but was eliminated in the second round.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Markolf Says Adios To Basketball

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the story earlier today that Ian Markolf has left the Wisconsin men's basketball team, reducing the number of scholarship players on next year's roster to 12.

Markolf, an academic all-Big Ten honoree, will stay at UW as a student according to the program's official statement. At the very least, that seems like a compliment to the university and the relationships Markolf has already formed in his two years in Madison. I must admit that I'm little saddened that we will never get to see Markolf play somewhere where he was a better fit. Best of luck to him.

With Eau Claire's Evan Anderson set to join rising senior J.P. Gavinski on the team this year, the Badgers still have more than their share of aircraft carriers for the scout team and will be fine.

Calling Markolf's recruitment a surprise and his subsequent career an disappointment might be an understatement. The 7-foot Texan was a Howard Moore recruit that was apparently brought to the staff's attention by former Badger great Michael Finley when he played for the San Antonio Spurs. I cannot confirm, nor deny, rumors that no one on the staff ever saw Markolf play in person prior to his arrival on campus.

The timing of the announcement puts Wisconsin in an interesting position. It is tempting for Bo Ryan to use Markolf's vacated scholarship to fill an immediate need. Next season the team will have a great need for an experienced guard. That specific need (experience) would not be met by simply grabbing another incoming freshman however. Besides, with the exception of Vander Blue and then Cameron Wright, the Badgers basically got the guards they wanted from the 2010 class in Gasser and Dukan.

A junior college player would be more likely, though the right fit is even harder to find from that student-athlete pool. And only in rare circumstances would a transfer be eligible next season when the need for guard depth is greatest. So saving the scholarship for 2011 might make the most sense. Someone like W'quinton Smith would then be in line for a one-year scholarship in 2010-11, a la Tanner Bronson.

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?