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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 Friend, a professed Wisconsin fan, was concerned that Hodges may have originally made his choice, in part, to please his father.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.

: : :

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.


  1. Interesting. Thanks so much, Phil. I hope Devon continues to consider Wisconsin.

  2. this is a surprise, perhaps Devon feels he is taking the next step in his game development and is having second thoughts about being in BO's system.[ala; Turner].
    The meteorology school at Madison is one of the best in the country---so that can't be it.

    As for bad blog comments, i don't recall seeing those? There hasn't been that much written to coment on!?!?

  3. Best wishes to you Devon wherever you go, and please don't make a decision about UW based on a few stupid bloggers who have nothing better to do with their lazy lives[ its usally the same bad bloggers that criticize EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY. So don't take it too personnel.

  4. The Evan Turner example is stupid. You could say Jerry Smith would have been more successful as a Badger. The same with Manny Harris. You just don't know.

  5. Are you kidding? No loyalty, selfish and in the end a weak player. Why would anyone want to risk a six figure education on a guy who has been to three different high schools, three different AAU teams and all in the last three years? Playing at the D-1 level is more than being 6'7" and what he has in size he lacks in loyalty and heart. Double Double waiting to happen, yeah as long as he plays for Bolingbrook.

  6. To the best of my knowledge, Hodges has only attended two different high schools, not three. No need to embellish.

  7. Actually, he did attend three high schools.

  8. Nequa Valley during the beginning of his freshman year. Transfered to Romeoville right before the basketball season. Transfered to Bolingbrook this year.


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