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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Keeping Track of Hughes News

Trevon Hughes has had a busy month preparing for his professional basketball career. But he still had time to speak his mind as he works toward new opportunities.

During the first week of May, Hughes chose his representation by signing on with Kyle Weaver's agent, Mike Hodges. Hodges represents at least three other players in this year's pool of pro hopefuls, including likely NBA draft picks Darington Hobson (New Mexico) and the underrated Dominique Jones (South Florida).

Then about 10 days ago, Hughes got his feet wet in a pre-draft workout with the "hometown" Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks typically invite former college or high school stars from the area to showcase themselves at these workouts whether or not there is a good fit for them on the team. I think it's a good practice.

But Hughes really made headlines that day with a couple bizarre remarks in an Associated Press story in which he admitted he often thought Bo Ryan "hated" him during his Wisconsin career. A week later I am still baffled by Pop's comments and left to wonder what effect they could have on an incoming recruit. I have always thought that Hughes' success on and off the court could be instrumental to bringing in some of the younger players Wisconsin has courted. Who do you think guys like Vander Blue or George Marshall identify with when they consider the Badgers?

Hughes went on to say he didn't think Bo's swing offense hampered his chances of making the NBA, even though he said the system "probably hides your talent" somewhat. What kind of opportunity Hughes gets at the next level remains to be seen. (**Update: Hughes worked out for Sacramento on June 3**)

I actually didn't realize that Hughes was already 23-years-old until I found his profile on Draft Express while looking for pre-draft measurements. There wasn't much info available for Hughes and the measurables didn't particularly stand out from this year's crop either. He stands over six feet tall without shoes, with an average wingspan and a standing reach of just under eight feet.

For comparison's sake, Hughes looks a lot like Brandin Knight, Sean Singletary, Jonny Flynn or Lawrence Westbrook if you squint at 'em. Looking at some comparisons (Knight or Singletary), maybe Pop could have a cup of coffee in the NBA. But it's more likely that he's the next Badger destined to thrive in Europe or the D-League.

In April, Trevon Hughes survived a game two hiccup to average 12.3 pts, 6 rebs, 3.3 assts and 1.6 stls per game at the Portsmouth Invitational. While his assist-to-turnover ratio wasn't great, he kept it over 1:1 while playing the fourth-most minutes of any player. Pop exploded for 16 second-half points in his team's championship game victory. [box score]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wisconsin Gets Wolfpack In Challenge

The 2010 Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchups were officially released yesterday and some prognosticators already give an edge to the Big Ten. The general consensus is that Wisconsin should prevail over N.C. State on Dec. 1 in the friendly confines of the Kohl Center.

There is no reason to get deep into the matchup's specifics until this fall, but interesting tidbits abound as this popular series continues into its second decade ...

:: Wisconsin is one of only seven teams that have played in all 11 Challenges so far, due to the two conferences' size inequality over the years. The ACC had only nine active members until 2005 and has had 12 since 2006.

:: When the Big Ten had more members, a pair of randomly selected teams rotated in and out of the challenge every two years. Now that the ACC is larger, it's last-place team sits out of the competition the following year, leading to what some view as a slight advantage for that conference.

Before jumping to conclusions, one thing to consider is how good the ACC's "odd man out" actually wound up performing that season. The ACC usually does luck out, but the Big Ten may have dodged a bullet in 2007:

Only two times did the Big Ten cellar dweller miss the Challenge the following year (Penn State, 2003-04).

:: The Badgers are tied with Northwestern for the most road losses (5) of any team in the series, while posting the Big Ten's best home winning percentage (.750). N.C. State is nearly a mirror image to Wisconsin in terms of past challenge success. The tilt with the Wolfpack will be UW's fifth home game in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Both Maryland (@Penn State) and Wake Forest (home vs. Iowa) are 5-0 at home.

:: While Wisconsin will try to reach the .500 mark all-time in this series, the Big Ten is going for its second-straight win to swing momentum in its favor. After starting out competitively (the ACC led 20-15 overall after four years), the Big Ten got pummeled, 36-15, between 2003 and 2007.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

J.P. Tokoto Is Smoother Than Ever

Sophomore J.P. Tokoto doubles as the top prep player in Wisconsin and one of the hottest national recruits. I didn't get to see Tokoto play live this season, but watched him last summer in a few AAU games and saw a skilled, natural talent worthy of the hype.

Though he sat out last weekend's state AAU tournament in Stoughton (he's currently a little dinged up physically), Tokoto displayed his full array of skills with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run N' Slam tourney in Fort Wayne, Ind., to start the month of May. Judging by his highlights from that event, the 6'6" swingman has been working hard on his game in the past year.

In particular, note the ease with which Tokoto crosses his dribble over between the legs (see :34 and 1:28). He is a natural help-side shotblocker and his explosive ability to rise and finish is already well-documented.

Tokoto averaged 18.6 ppg and 10 rpg for Menomonee Falls last season.

Monday, May 10, 2010

April Showers Bring May Offers

The past week has been relatively newsworthy for Wisconsin from a recruiting perspective, despite the summer doldrums setting in.

It all started just over a week ago on April 30 when Ben Brust won his second appeal to re-sign within the Big Ten after his release from Iowa. All signs pointed toward Brust choosing either Wisconsin or Northwestern.

While Brust was playing in an academic all-star game out in California, the AAU circuit was heating up in Indiana, where 6'10" supernova Anthony Davis exploded at the Spiece Run 'N Slam tournament. The Chicago Perspectives star promptly received a scholarship offer from Wisconsin that Sunday.

But Davis wasn't the only Illinois big man who caught the coaching staff's eye. Benet Academy center Frank Kaminsky of the Illinois Wolves, another 6'10" senior-to-be, received the same offer following his visit to Madison on Thursday. That move pushed the number of confirmed outstanding scholarship offers from the Badgers for the 2011 class into double-digits, with six of those players hailing from the Land of Lincoln.

Then on Friday night, Brust officially signed on to play for Bo Ryan during his official campus visit with Duje Dukan. Bo will look for Brust to do some of the things Jason Bohannon provided from the shooting guard position for the past four years. All in all, he's a pretty nice late addition to the 2010 class.

The news was not all perfect, however. One of Wisconsin's major Illinois targets, Mycheal Henry, was reportedly coming to Madison today, but chose on Monday to commit to the Illini instead. Henry picked Illinois over Wisconsin and Georgetown. Brust's commitment probably didn't have any bearing on Henry's choice, seeing as there is much more of a log jam at the wing positions in Champaign than here. Bruce Weber's team will be loaded for the next several years, though he definitely has high expectations to achieve.

The fast-rising Henry appeared to be a good fit for the Badgers, who told Henry he would fill the role of a go-to scorer on the team. Personally I was hoping that George Marshall could have done some recruiting for UW to that end, but the draw of the home-state school was too strong. Let's hope Marshall stays true.

I still have not gotten word on whether Milwaukee Vincent sophomore Phillip Nolan actually made it to campus last week for a visit as anticipated. Some speculated that Nolan was on the verge a receiving in offer for the 2012 class. Jarrod Uthoff is the next name to listen for in 2011.

: : :

As Wisconsin attempts to reel in three more players for 2011, it was a slight disappointment to hear who the team hosts in next season's Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Badgers will be able to invite recruits to a battle with North Carolina ... State.

However, I do like the idea of the league top teams going on the road. If Purdue, Michigan State and Ohio State are as good as advertised, each has a good chance of winning in any venue against any team. That means many of the swing games will be held in Big Ten arenas for a change. See, I can be optimistic sometimes ...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Prospect Profile: Frank Kaminsky

Frank Kaminsky, C
6'10" :: 220 lbs.
Class of 2011
Lisle (IL) Benet Academy
AAU: Illinois Wolves

Scout: 3 Stars * * * (#20 C) Previous: 2 Stars > 3 Stars (#17 C)
Rivals: 3 Stars * * * (C)
ESPN/Scouts, Inc. grade: 88 (#34 > #33 > #36 C)

2010: DuPage County All Area Team (Daily Herald)
2010: All East Suburban Catholic Conference

Recent Press
6/16: Benet's Frank Kaminsky chooses Wisconsin -
6/3: Sabbatical allows Frank Kaminsky to grow -
5/8: Frank Kaminsky receives second high major offer - Illinois Prep Bulls Eye
3/15: Redwings trying to bake fewer turnovers - Chicago Sun-Times
1/16: Kaminsky leads Benet to win over Oswego in historic gym - Chicago Tribune

The Verbal
Benet's Kaminsky commits to Wisconsin - Chicago Sun-Times (6/12/10)
Benet center Frank Kaminsky commits to Wisconsin - Chicago Tribune (6/12/10)
Jim Jackson's son among two commitments for Badgers - WiSJ (6/12/10)

The Hype
Kaminsky leads Benet in comeback - Chicago Sun-Times (3/2/10)
Size = Offers ... Kaminsky nabs big one - City/Suburban Hoops Report (5/6/10)
Redwings end St. Joe's 31-game win streak - Chicago Sun-Times (2/21/10)
Redwings pull off inside job - Naperville Sun (12/17/09)

Highlights: Illini Team Camp (6/24/10) - WEEK News 25
Interview: Frank Kaminsky - SWAGair Interview w/Dan Poneman (6/17/10) - YouTube
Highlights: Frank Kaminsky - 2011 Highlights - Illinois Wolves (4/20/10) - YouTube

2009-10: Junior (Benet) - ESCC

Additional Info
Team Schedule :: Chicago Sun-Times


Monday, May 3, 2010

Prospect Profile: Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis, C
6'10" :: 220 lbs.
Class of 2011
Chicago (IL) Perspectives Charter School
AAU: Mean Streets

Scout: 5 Stars * * * * * (#3 PF/#5 overall) Previous: NR (C) > 5 Stars (#4 PF/#9)
Rivals: 5 Stars * * * * * (#3 PF/#8 overall) Previous: NR > 5 Stars (#1 C > #2 PF/#7 overall)
ESPN/Scouts, Inc. grade: 93 (#13 PF/#77 overall)


Recent Press
5/5: Word gets out about Davis -- finally -
5/2: The Scholarship Offer Party Continues for 6'10" Chicago Perspectives Star Anthony Davis -
4/29: Perspectives' Davis getting noticed - Chicago Sun-Times

The Verbal
No verbal commitment

The Hype
Bill Hensley Memorial Run 'N Slam: Day Two - Rivals (5/2/10)
Bill Hensley Memorial Run 'N Slam: Day One - Rivals (5/1/10)
Perspectives-IIT tops Rauner - Chicago Sun-Times (3/2/09)

Highlights: Anthony Davis has a breakout weekend at Spiece (5/3/10) - YouTube
Interview: Anthony Davis Highlights & Interview with Dan Poneman (5/1/10) - YouTube
Highlights: Anthony Davis & Jamari Traylor "The Meanstreets Monsters" (4/26/10) = YouTube


Additional Info
Chicago Sun-Times


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