Several recruits on Wisconsin's radar have turned in superb performances on the AAU circuit this spring. Chief among those stars has been 2012 signee Sam Dekker. Before suffering a high ankle sprain last weekend in the midst of the Adidas May Classic, the major scouts, talent gurus and even opponents have been gushing about how Dekker tore up tournaments like Knoxvegas and the Spiece Run 'N Slam.
Luckily for the Badgers, Dekker is a rock solid verbal pledge already, so the national respect he is earning is just a bonus. While names of seniors-to-be like Jalen Robinson, Steve Taylor and Mike Gesell pop up from time to time, Bo Ryan and his staff seem more focused on the 2013 class instead of filling the open slot next to Dekker.
So which rising juniors could be in line for the next Badger scholarship offer?
La Crosse Aquinas star Bronson Koening holds one of two official Badger offers in the class, but recently added a tender from Kansas to his existing North Carolina offer.
Wisconsin's high school junior class is impressive, but Illinois is utterly stacked with talent in 2013 -- especially at guard. I would be surprised if any Badger recruits came from outside these two states. With that said, Wisconsin does have an offer out to Cleveland power forward Tony Farmer and is hot on the trail of Pittsburgh native Geno Thorpe. The Badgers have made it clear they are expanding their horizons to find a lead guard in 2013 and Thorpe is one of several prominent point guards they have targeted recently.
*Geno Thorpe, Pittsburgh (PA) - Rumors that Thorpe was already offered a scholarship proved untrue, but he will visit Madison from June 14-15 during Wisconsin's advanced camp. Thorpe likely will transfer to St. Anthony's in New Jersey to continue his high school career. (Update: Thorpe will attend Blair Academy)
*Jalen James, Chicago (IL) - James' stock has exploded this spring and the entire Big Ten is after him. It was not encouraging when he stated on record that he prefers an "up and down tempo without a lot of sets" but continues to mention Wisconsin right away as one of the schools recruiting him.
*Jaylon Tate, Chicago (IL) - Offers from Northwestern, Xavier, and Providence are the first of many for this pass-first setup man. Plays on the same high school squad as PF Alex Foster, who is also getting looks from UW.
*Terry Rozier, Cleveland (OH) - Yet another point guard prospect, Rozier is an undersized (6'0") scorer but has risen quickly in April with the vaunted All-Ohio Red club. (Updated: Rozier is a 2012 prospect)
*Matt Thomas, Onalaska (WI) - An excellent shooter in UW's backyard that the Badgers may have been hoping to slow play. Now that Thomas has grown to 6'3" and received his first BCS offer (Iowa State, who else), Wisconsin will have to take a serious look.
*Malcolm Hill, Belleville (IL) - Perhaps one of the freshest names on the AAU scene, Hill played well enough at the Adidas May Classic to garner an offer from Missouri. Wisconsin and numerous Big Ten teams have taken interest in this shooting guard from the St. Louis area.
*Nate Taphorn, Pekin (IL) - Taphorn's shooting at Spiece got absolutely everyone's attention. The 6'6" wing appears to be an Illinois lean right now as he starts to pick up his first offers.
*Mark Donnal, Whitehouse (OH) - Wisconsin was one of the first high majors on Donnal when the staff visited one of his games this past season. Interest in the big man has spread across the region thanks to his play last weekend.
Around the Big Ten, teams are enjoying the talent revival in the coming classes. Indiana and Purdue have nearly filled their allotment of players in the 2013 and 2014 classes already, mostly with Indiana players. Michigan is also very active. John Beilein values a lot of the same traits in his recruits that Bo Ryan does and the Wolverines continue to pop up regularly in connection to players the Badgers are eyeing (ie: James, Hill, Donnal).
Closer to home, Marquette's recruiting has taken an interesting turn, offering a pair of players (read: white Wisconsinites) that Golden Eagle fans often deride Bo for signing. Buzz Williams has now offered three in-state juniors: Sun Prairie's Nick Fuller, Germantown's Luke Fischer and Whitefish Bay Dominican's Duane Wilson. Clearly Marquette wants to be a factor in the state's 2013 talent. Looks like the Badgers won't be getting any last-minute, Josh Gasser-level steals this time.