NCB On The Trail: Wisconsin Badgers

In order to return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at Wisconsin and its chances of dancing again in 2015.

Quick references
2013-14 roster
2014 recruiting

Possible 2014-15 starting five:
G: Traevon Jackson
G: Josh Gasser
F: Sam Dekker
F: Nigel Hayes
F: Frank Kaminsky

Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

When you go to a Final Four, your legacy changes as a coach and a player. However, the way you recruit should not change because that philosophy is what got you to a Final Four and that should stay intact. Far too often I have seen coaches change their methods and try to go after higher-profile kids, thinking they can now land bigger fish. In the case of Wisconsin, coach Bo Ryan has a style when recruiting: He goes after skilled players with toughness and solid basketball IQs. He likes to find interchangeable players who can hurt a defense from different spots on the floor (think Nigel Hayes). The staff looks for big men with ball skills who can also produce inside and guards who like to score inside as well as behind the arc.

Making the Final Four won't instantly land Wisconsin better recruits, but the actual benefits come down the road with future classes, especially in 2016 and 2017 because it will be fresh in their minds when they start to think about schools. Going to the Final Four builds recruiting momentum for the upcoming years by opening doors and getting people's attention. When the Badgers want to pursue top 2015 prospects such as Diamond Stone, who is No. 5 in the ESPN 60, or Henry Ellenson, who is No. 47, it will certainly help. Wisconsin was already involved with these two prospects, but now they will get an even better look.

#AskCoachB: Better fit for Wisconsin

February, 20, 2014
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



The simple and best answer for the first question is: both. They are each outstanding big men in the Class of 2015.

Henry Ellenson is a strong and skilled post player with excellent shooting range and plenty of upside. The Badgers have been on him and are making him a priority. He was in attendance at the Kohl Center when Wisconsin recently beat Michigan State.

Diamond Stone is in the Badgers' back yard and his name has been on our boards since his freshman season. He is a legit 6-foot-10 post who has the skill to face the basket with post moves. That's rare at such a young age. He still needs to learn how to give maximum effort all the time, however.

Both fit extremely well in Bo Ryan's system because the Wisconsin coach has been successful utilizing big men who face the basket.

I believe Stone has the better chance of staying in state. He has two outstanding options in Marquette and Wisconsin.

USA developmental team camp recap 

October, 6, 2013
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The USA Basketball Developmental National Team minicamp featured some of the nation's best high school talent representing the classes of 2014, 2015 and 2016. Head coach Don Showalter and his staff put the players through numerous intense and competitive drills, controlled scrimmages and game situations in this four-workout, two-day minicamp.

Note: ESPN 100 No. 1 overall player Jahlil Okafor didn't play on Day 1 after rolling his ankle during a one-on-one in the post drill.

Here are a few players who were impressive this weekend from the ESPN 100, 60 and 25 rankings.

ESPN 100 Standouts

Best Motor
Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity)
C, 6-foot-11, 225 pounds
Considering: Kansas, Ohio State, Texas, Duke, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisville, Oklahoma State

Turner's talent and shot blocking is well-documented, but his consistent motor also makes the big fella special. Regardless of the outcome of the possession, Turner never stops playing. He runs, jumps and competes at a high level, which makes him stand out.


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ESPN 100 forward Kevon Looney (Milwaukee/Hamilton) confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday that he has narrowed his choices to six schools.

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VCU gets first 2014 commitment 

March, 2, 2013
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According to multiple sources, junior point guard Jonathan Williams (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's Prep) verbally committed to Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday.

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Badgers sign Top 25 class 

November, 15, 2012
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Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan officially annunced the signing of five players from the Class of 2013 on Thursday.

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PF Nigel Hayes headed to Wisconsin 

November, 11, 2012
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Four-star power forward Nigel Hayes (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer) verbally committed to Wisconson on Sunday, ESPN.com has confirmed.

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Vikings nab PF DeMonte Flannigan 

October, 22, 2012
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Cleveland State landed a verbal commitment from two-star power forward DeMonte Flannigan (Richmond Heights, Ohio/Villa Angela-St. Joseph) on Sunday, according to the News-Herald.

The 6-foot-8 Flannigan chose the Vikings over DePaul, Wisconsin, St. Bonaventure, Xavier and Akron, among others.

"Every school who offered wanted me," he told the paper. "The biggest difference is Coach (Gary) Waters said he needs me. He wants me to come in and be a big part of what they are doing there."

Flannigan is the first recruit from the 2013 class for Cleveland State.

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Gophers land PF Alex Foster 

October, 13, 2012
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Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith landed a verbal commitment from Chicago power forward Alex Foster (Seton Academy) on Saturday, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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Badgers land PF Vitto Brown, their fourth 2013 recruit 

September, 14, 2012
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Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan landed his fourth recruit from the 2013 class on Friday, sources confirmed to ESPN.com.

Power forward Vitto Brown (Bowling Green, Ohio/Bowling Green) committed to the Badgers over offers from Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota and Nebraska.

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The power forward Ohio State coach Thad Matta is looking for might be just a few hours away.

Nigel Hayes (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer) announced his five official visits and Ohio State is one of them. He’ll also visit Stanford, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Dayton.

Here’s what the 6-foot-7 Hayes had to say about each school:

Nigel Hayes
Courtesy Corey Albertson/Cincyprephoops.comNigel Hayes called Ohio State a 'dream school.'
Wisconsin (official visit scheduled for weekend of Aug. 31): “Wisconsin has been on me the hardest. They recruited me with Coach [Lamont] Paris and Coach [Bo] Ryan. They have big plans for me. I’m real excited to see the campus and see how everything will be.”

Minnesota (weekend of Sept. 7): “Tubby Smith, he’s a great coach. They have a great system. I was talking to him earlier about how I would fit in. I just want to go down there and see what they have to offer.”

Dayton (tentatively scheduled in between Minnesota and Stanford): “They’re a program that’s up and coming. They have a great coaching staff as well. They’re doing some things and getting better and better. The coaches have been talking to me and telling me how I fit in and how I can help them become even better. I want to get down there to see what I can do and how I will be able fit in.”

Stanford (weekend of Sept. 28): “Stanford has a really great staff. With Coach [Johnny] Dawkins being in the NBA and the fact they have other staff members that have also played at the highest level. You can’t go wrong when you’re being coached by the people that have been where you want to go.”

Ohio State (tentatively weekend of Oct. 5):“Ohio State has always been one of my dream schools that I have always wanted to go to. I’m real excited to get down there and take my visit.”


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Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan recieved a verbal commitment from class of 2013 shooting guard Jordan Hill (Pasadena, Calif./Phillips Exeter Academy) on Tuesday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The 6-foot-3 Hill had interest from Santa Clara, Tulane, Rice, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and Yale. He caught the eye of Ryan during the King James Summer Showcase in Chicago last month.

"Jordan Hill ended up having the game of his life," his summer coach, Robet Icart told the paper. "He is always great defensively, but he was phenomenal offensively. He made every open three. He got to the basket. He had double-digit assists."

Hill becomes the third member of Ryan's 2013 class, joining ESPN 100 point guard Bronson Koenig (La Crosse, Wisc./Aquinas) and shooting guard Riley Dearring (Minneapolis, Minn./Hopkins).

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A power forward with a familiar last name picked up an offer from Ohio State -- his third offer from a Big Ten school.

Nigel Hayes (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer), whose brother Kenny is a redshirt freshman on Ohio State’s football team, nabbed an offer from his home state school after a monster junior season.

The offer was confirmed by his mother Talaya Davis and Panthers basketball coach Bruce Smith on Wednesday.

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