The 2011-12 college basketball season gets underway this weekend with the first official practices of the year. At many schools, this means Midnight Madness events and an important time for hosting recruits.
At Wisconsin, Bo Ryan adheres to a no-nonsense approach. That means the kickoff showcase for the Badgers will be the traditional Red/White Scrimmage on the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 30. In fact, there will not even be a "Night of the Grateful Red" event this year.
Luckily, UW has a a Top 5 football program to help promote its campus culture. At least two power forwards in the 2013 class are planning visits to Wisconsin this weekend to coincide with the Indiana football game: Germantown native Luke Fischer and Joe Aase from Austin, Minnesota.
Wisconsin is involved with other prospects, meanwhile, who will be attending flashier events across the country starting late Friday night. Power forward Kyle Washington will attend Connecticut's event, after pickup up several new big-time offers (Louisville, West Virginia).
The most recent flurry of Badger offers have been in the sophomore (2014) class. The first was to five-star center Cliff Alexander, who will visit Michigan State's Midnight Madness nonsense. The next offer went out to fellow Chicagoan Paul White, a highly versatile 6'8" forward who was also scheduled to appear in East Lansing. But it sounds like White is prioritizing his involvement with the USA Basketball Developmental Team.
DePaul has a whole gaggle of Illinois recruits coming Sunday. Paul Turner, a 2014 SG whom UW has offered, will be there as well as F Keita Bates-Diop ('14) and PG Jordan Ash ('15). Turner was in Madison on Monday for an unofficial visit and will be in Memphis tonight for Rick Ross. Both Bates-Diop and Ash will also attend the Madness event at Illinois, along with Ohio PF Devin Willams ('13). Indiana will host Grant Evans ('14) among others, but interestingly, not Fischer.
New prospect profiles
Geno Thorpe watch
Pittsburgh-area guard Geno Thorpe is gaining momentum in recruiting circles, much like Washington. Both Washington and Thorpe have appeared to be very attainable targets for Wisconsin at different times, but the competition keeps getting tougher.
St. Joseph's was the latest school to offer the 2013 prospect, but now Kansas is on the prowl as well. Thorpe has pushed back his Wisconsin visit to Nov. 19, the third such time he has moved the date. He is seen by some as an ideal backcourt running mate for Bronson Koenig and his style fits with Wisconsin's apparent push to grab some longer, more athletic kids in the coming classes.
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