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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On the Stove Top: NBA Draft Talk

Today Trevon Hughes participated in his third pre-draft workout of the month, this time for the Indiana Pacers. On Friday, Hughes joined five others in working out for the Charlotte Bobcats, who do not have a pick in this year's draft.

Prior to that, Hughes had worked out with the Sacramento Kings on June 3 and the Milwaukee Bucks in May.

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It's been a while since I touched on the Milwaukee Bucks here, but they made headlines today. Following the (expected) revelation that John Salmons will opt out of his contract this month, Milwaukee has reportedly shipped Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell to the Warriors in exchange for Corey Maggette.

Seems like another Richard Jefferson experiment to me. What is John Hammond thinking? Maggette is just another me-first wing player who came off the bench 20+ times for a 26-win Golden State team. Sure, Milwaukee is getting a player with actual skills, but the trade only saves money for one season since Maggette has three years of bloated salary remaining on his deal. Oh, and he can't shoot threes either.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recruiting Madness Continues

One day after receiving his dream offer from the University of Wisconsin, Sheboygan Lutheran's Sam Dekker pledged to play basketball for Bo Ryan's Badgers. Dekker became the first member of Wisconsin's 2012 recruiting class with his verbal commitment on Tuesday.

Dekker, now 6'7", was a scoring machine (25.5 ppg) last season as a sophomore after growing four inches. A knock on him as a prospect is the level of competition he faces during the high school season as a Division 3 team in the Central Lakeshore Conference, so it will be interesting to monitor his development. Dekker has enjoyed an impressive AAU season thus far, rising to among the top two or three players in Wisconsin in the 2012 class.

The Badgers also offered their first 2013 tender to 6'1" point guard Bronson Koenig. Koenig just completed his freshmen season at La Crosse Aquinas back in March, averaging just under 15 ppg. He is the second-ranked rising sophomore in the state according to

Considering Koenig's offer is one of the earliest ever handed out by Bo -- only two months behind J.P. Tokoto's last spring -- it's safe to say the staff is pretty enamored with the kid's abilities.

It also is another example of Bo's willingness to forgo the NABC guideline regarding offering scholarships to players prior to June 15th after their sophomore year. If memory serves, Bo was up front from day one that a soft guideline was going to be impossible to enforce and thus, potentially detrimental to programs that follow the guideline in lock-step. Some schools run through the dog-and-pony show of promising to offer as soon as the NABC guideline allows (ahem, North Carolina .. or Michigan under John Beilein), which is basically the same thing as offering except they get to pat themselves on the back for following a quasi-rule.

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In other news, Tom Izzo is staying put at Michigan State "for life." A very drawn-out, tense affair for Spartan fans, but a good end result for the Big Ten.

Prospect Profile: Bronson Koenig

Bronson Koenig, PG
6'1" :: 165 lbs.
Class of 2013
La Crosse (WI) Aquinas HS
AAU: Wisconsin Playground Warriors

Scout: NR (PG)
Rivals: NR (PG)
ESPN/Scouts, Inc. grade: NR

2010 Honorable Mention All-State (AP)
2010 First Team All-Mississippi Valley Conference

Recent Press
6/16: Wisconsin offers basketball scholarship to Aquinas' Koenig - La Crosse Tribune
6/15: Wisconsin extends scholarship offer to Aquinas' Koenig -
3/16: Green Bay extends scholaship offer to Aquinas' Koenig -
3/13: Blair-Taylor senior plays shutdown defense against Aquinas -
3/6: Freshman Koenig scores 24 in a regional title game -
2/6: Blugolds turn up the heat on Rangers -

The Verbal
No verbal commitment

The Hype
Observations from the Wisconsin Dells NCAA Exposure Classic - (7/30/10)
Observations from the Hugh Roberts Classic - (5/17/10)
Pederson, Koenig help Aquinas rally past Fennimore - (3/16/10)
Aquinas' Koenig, Onalaska's Thomas make instant impact - La Crosse Tribune (2/26/10)
Koenig key for Aquinas in victory over Holmen - (12/15/09)

Interview: Bronson Koenig Interview (8/7/10) -

Freshman: 2009-10 (Aquinas) -

Additional Info
2010-11 Schedule :: La Crosse Tribune


Prospect Profile: Sam Dekker

Sam Dekker, SF
6'6" :: 195 lbs.
Class of 2012
Sheboygan (WI) Lutheran HS [team site]
AAU: Wisconsin Playground Warriors

Scout: 3 Stars * * * (#19 SF)
Rivals: 3 Stars * * * (#32 SF/#133 overall)
ESPN/Scouts, Inc. grade: 88 (#35 SF)

2010 Honorable Mention All-State (Div. 3, WBCA)
2010 Honorable Mention All-State (AP)
2010 First Team All-Central Lakeshore Conference
2009 Second Team All-Central Lakeshore Conference

Recent Press
6/14: Sheboygan Lutheran's Dekker earns scholarship offer from Wisconsin -
3/5: Oostburg downs Sheb. Area Lutheran, 71-38 - Preps On The Net

The Verbal
Dekker only needs a day to accept Badgers' offer - WiSJ (6/15/2010)
Sheboygan Lutheran's Sam Dekker commits to Wisconsin - Sheboygan Press (6/15/10)
Dekker gives UW men's hoops oral commitment for 2012 - JSOnline (6/15/10)
Sheboygan Lutheran's Dekker verbally commits to Wisconsin - (6/15/10)

The Hype
Las Vegas Day 1: Underdogs and unknowns shine at Fab48 - MaxPreps (7/22/10)
Observations from the Hugh Roberts Classic - (5/17/10)
Observations from the Spiece Run-n-Slam - (5/3/10)
Dekker having breakout season for upstart Sheboygan Lutheran - (2/17/10)

Interview: Sam Dekker Interview (8/7/10) -
AAU: Wisconsin Playground vs. East Troy 16U (7/30/10) -
Highlights: Playground Warriors vs. Wisconsin Blaze 16U (5/15/10) -
Game: Oostburg 71, Sheboygan Area Lutheran 38 (3/15/10) - Preps On The Net

Sophomore: 2009-10 (Lutheran) - MaxPreps
Freshman: 2008-09 (Lutheran) -

Additional Info
2009-10 Schedule :: Sheboygan Press


Monday, June 14, 2010

Keeping the Pipelines Open

This past weekend was an important one for Wisconsin recruiting news as Bo Ryan landed two new verbal commitments and extended yet another offer in the Class of 2011.

Center Frank Kaminsky from Benet Academy in Lisle, IL, and combo guard Traevon Jackson from Westerville South near Columbus, OH, add to a 2011 class that already includes Chicago point guard George Marshall. On Friday night, Jarrod Uthoff of Cedar Rapids Jefferson in Iowa officially became the latest competitor for that class' final scholarship.

As soon as Wisconsin extended an offer to Kaminsky in May, this 6'10" coach's son with an inside-outside game looked like a good fit for the Badgers and personally, I considered his verbal commitment only a matter of time. It didn't take long. The staff, led by Howard Moore, bought into his stock low and saw Kaminsky's value grow immediately.

It's interesting that Kaminsky said Wisconsin recruited him as a power forward. I have been insisting that Bo should take two big men this cycle to replace Leuer and Nankivil, and it appears Wisconsin would still take Marshall Plumlee at center if he wanted to sign.

Wisconsin has been recruiting Jackson for a long time, but the fact that he showed a commitment to developing (and showcasing) his point guard skills by switching AAU teams seemed to indicate he would not wind up in Madison. Then a week ago, Jackson said he was choosing between Arizona State and Wisconsin, at which point most Badger fans probably were confident in his commitment. With Marshall already on board, maybe Bo enjoys the three-guard lineup even more than we thought.

No one is labeling Jackson a recruiting coup even though he is the son of hoops legend Jim Jackson, mostly because he had only two BCS-level offers as a rising senior. That's fair. Jackson is not an explosive athlete and I would bet many schools probably didn't bother getting involved early with him because the shadow of dad's alma mater loomed nearby. However, Jackson does possess the strength, leadership, basketball IQ and passing skills that will be a perfect fit in the program. Comparisons to Jordan Taylor are legit. Plus, it's good to have another Traevon/Travon/Trevon in the fold ...

Besides the obvious benefit of acquiring quality student-athletes, the verbals were valuable toward maintaining UW's recruiting connections made over the last few years. Kaminsky plays for the Illinois Wolves AAU team, coached by Mike Mullins. Last September, Wisconsin had one former Wolf (Diamond Taylor) on its roster, one verbally committed (Hodges) and outstanding offers to two more (Randle, Egwu). That foursome evaporated completely over the last year. So it's good to get back in with an important AAU program in the region that produces good D-I talent and runs a clean ship.

The Wisconsin football team has seen its Ohio recruiting net some great talent and the basketball program seems to be buying into the same theory now. Jackson will be the second Buckeye on the UW roster during Rob Wilson's senior year.

As for Uthoff, his stock is rising on the summer circuit after earning first team All-State honors as a junior. Uthoff's passing will get the most praise based on his highlight reels. Though he is a skinny 6'8" now, Uthoff may wind up as the second big Wisconsin is looking for if he can add some muscle.

Iowa countered with a scholarship offer of its own two days after Wisconsin, joining a long list that includes Butler, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa State. Uthoff's cousin, Dean, is still the all-time leading rebounder in Cyclone history. Expect Uthoff to join Plumlee as Wisconsin's primary targets going forward in 2011. Gary Close is Bo's lead recruiter in Iowa.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Prospect Profile: Jarrod Uthoff

Jarrod Uthoff, F
6'8" :: 200 lbs.
Class of 2011
Cedar Rapids (IA) Jefferson HS [team site]
AAU: Iowa Barnstormers

Scout: 4 Stars * * * * (#18 PF/#77 overall) Previous: 3 Stars
Rivals: 3 Stars * * * (#150 overall) Previous: NR (PF)
ESPN/Scouts, Inc. grade: 94 (#19 > #17 PF)

2010 First Team All-State (Class 4A, INA)
2010 Second Team All-State (4A, Des Moines Register)
2010 Mississippi Valley Conference Player of the Year
2010 Area Player of the Year (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Recent Press
4/29: Cedar Rapids Jefferson basketball recruit Jarrod Uthoff is making the rounds - Cedar Rapids Gazette
4/19: Iowa Barnstormers 17's Win Spring Fling -
3/10: East opens tourney vs. CR Jefferson - Sioux City Journal
3/2: J-Hawks Clinch State Tournament Berth -
2/2: J-Hawks Continue Winning Ways -

The Verbal
Uthoff gives UW men's hoops oral commitment for 2011 class - JSOnline (7/19/10)
Uthoff says Wisconsin is 'best fit' - Cedar Rapids Gazette (7/19/10)
Uthoff picks Wisconsin - Iowa City Press-Citizen (7/19/10)
Cedar Rapids Jefferson's Uthoff chooses Wisconsin - Des Moines Register (7/19/10)
Badgers land Iowa forward - WiSJ (7/19/10)
Jarrod Uthoff Turns Down Illini To Join Bo Ryan's Badgers - BleacherReport (7/20/10)

The Hype
Illini offer Jarrod Uthoff, the next Gordon Hayward? - (5/7/10)
Jefferson Pulls Away from Prairie - (2/12/10)
J-Hawks Build Early Lead - Uthoff Dominates - (1/22/10)
Uthoff's play rekindles J-Hawk memories - Cedar Rapids Gazette (12/15/09)

Interview: Uthoff Picks Wisconsin (7/19/10) - KCRG
Highlights: Jarrod Uthoff - (7/1/10) - YouTube
News Feature: Jefferson's Uthoff Has Big Decision to Make (6/22/10) - KCRG
Interview: Dan Poneman chats with Jarrod Uthoff (5/10/10) - YouTube
Highlights: Jarrod Uthoff SWAGair Highlight Mixtape #1 (5/10/10) - YouTube

None available

Additional Info
2010-11 Schedule [2009-10] :: Cedar Rapids Gazette


Friday, June 11, 2010

Non-conference Schedule Finalized

Today Wisconsin announced the cupcakes that will fill the gaps in its 2010-11 non-conference schedule.

In addition to two preseason exhibitions, Wisconsin will play Prairie View A&M, North Dakota, South Dakota and Coppin State next year. Along with the Old Spice Classic, three annual in-state games and previously announced matchups, these four games complete UW's slate outside the Big Ten.

Wisconsin's initial opponent in the Old Spice Classic has not been determined yet, but the Badgers could play as a many as three games in Orlando if they advance to the tournament's championship.

Visits to the Kohl Center by North Dakota and South Dakota will be homecomings for three former prep standouts from Wisconsin. Redshirt sophomore Dan Stockdale from Sheboygan and Brookfield Academy's Troy Huff will be suiting up next season for the Fighting Sioux (no, not the North Dakota State Bison that upset the Badgers in 2006). Racine's Jake Thomas, a rising sophomore, is the leading returning scorer for the South Dakota Coyotes. Both schools are members of the Great West Conference.

2010-11 non-conference schedule:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Intro to Nebraska Basketball

The University of Colorado officially pushed over the first domino in conference realignment Thursday by accepting an invitation to the Pac-10, one day after several sources reported Nebraska plans to bolt from the Big XII as well.

Whether it's official on Friday, next week or six months from now, Nebraska's move to the Big Ten appears inevitable. So you might as well get to know your new conference opponent, known as UNL (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) or NU. Everyone knows about the massive nationwide following that the storied football program brings to the Big Ten Network. But the university is a good academic and geographic fit for the conference, despite being an unglamorous addition for hoops.

Though Nebraska's undergraduate population is much smaller than Wisconsin's -- it will become the smallest public university in the Big Ten in fact -- the two share some common bonds. Lincoln is the capital city of Nebraska, boasting a population similar to the Madison area. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez played football and earned a master's degree at Nebraska. And wearing their own "scarlet and cream" take on red and white uniforms, the Cornhuskers will appear like Badger doppelgangers on the field.

When it comes to basketball though, Nebraska's pedigree leaves a lot to be desired. If you're like me, you probably picture Eric Piatkowski and coach Danny Nee when you think of the Cornhuskers. As The Police sang, those days are over.

Nebraska is winless in six total NCAA Tournament appearances and has not danced since 1998. The school's basketball highlight is winning the 1996 NIT title. The Cornhuskers suffered through a mediocre decade after a nice run in the 90's and are 15-33 all-time in the Big XII conference tournament ('91 runner-up, '94 champs).

In fairness, Nebraska leads the hardwood series with Wisconsin, 10-6. The 16 matchups are the most between any Big XII team and UW. But in their last tilt back in 1998, the Badgers roughed up the Huskers, 78-41, which stands as the second-largest margin of victory away from home in UW's program history.

And if you want to compare marginal NBA track records, the Badgers hold the edge there also. Two season ago, the NBA featured former Cornhuskers such as journeymen Tyronn Lue and Mikki Moore in addition to Piatkowski. The most successful professional Husker hooper was a guy named Stu Lantz in the 70's. I'd take Michael Finley, Devin Harris or even Wes Matthews over those names.

Current head coach Doc Sadler is entering his fifth season in Lincoln, sporting a 70-58 record. However the Cornhuskers must recover from last season's dreadful 2-14 campaign in conference play (15-18 overall) without departing senior Ryan Anderson, their leading scorer and rebounder. Nebraska will look toward JUCO transfer Caleb Walker and junior guard Brandon Richardson to lead the way.

Nebraska's basketball arena at the Bob Devaney Sports Center seats 13,595, which would rank 11th in the current Big 10 landscape. However, Nebraska is in the midst of upgrading its basketball facilities so there is hope. In the next month, construction will begin on a new practice facility, the Hendricks Training Complex. Perhaps more importantly, in May the townsfolk approved a proposal for the new Lincoln Haymarket Arena, which hopes to hold around 16,000 for basketball starting in 2013. The new building's capacity would rank sixth in the conference, just ahead of Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

In non-revenue sports, Nebraska has been a strong presence for years, annually hovering around the top 10% in the Director's Cup standings, much like Wisconsin. The school brings a powerhouse women's volleyball team (three national championships), along with with titles in gymnastics, track and field, and ... women's bowling. Nebraska has trailed only Texas in total Big XII titles over the years.

Additional Links: - official basketball home page
Husker Hoops Central - free message board
Huskers Illustrated - coverage

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