Even before the news broke that Jarrod Uthoff would leave the program, Wisconsin had already increased its attention on a certain 6'8" forward in the 2012 class. Though the two events have zero connection, Beaver Falls' Sheldon Jeter is someone who could become very important to Wisconsin in the coming days as the coaching staff tries to add Jeter to its next recruiting class.
With the latest signing period spanning from April 11 through May 16, college coaches are applying all the tools at their disposal to convince high school recruits to join their program. For late risers like Jeter, the trick is to not rush a major decision -- which is probably easier said than done. When Bo Ryan himself is phoning and making in-home visits (scheduled for Sunday reportedly), you know Wisconsin is trying to close on a player.
Bo is primarily up against Penn State and South Carolina in this battle, though others like Florida State may still be involved. Grumblings from a Penn State message board suggest that Jeter's father Carliss is now playing a major role in guiding the son's selection process. The elder Jeter has been vocal about his affiinity for both Bo Ryan and new Gamecock head coach Frank Martin, who began recruiting Jeter while at Kansas State.
Speculation is that the father doesn't think much of Penn State, but Nittany Lions fans like to assume this is the only thing keeping Jeter from State College. His intended timeline for a decision keeps ballooning, which some connect to Carliss Jeter. Personally, I don't think the father is wrong to encourage his son to stay the course as new offers crop up. We already know Jeter has been tempted to commit or postpone a visit in the heat of the moment.
Jeter has already publicly stated via Twitter the closest to home option, Pittsburgh, is out of the running after continually offer its last scholarship up to other players.
So now Pitt wants to start calling again lol too late but luck wit my little brother.— Sheldon Jeter (@ChildOfGod_34) March 30, 2012
When it comes to Wisconsin, Madison can offer a great college town, a prestigious law school, and loads of basketball success, even though there would not be much early playing time available behind Ryan Evans and Mike Bruesewitz. But in Uthoff's absence, it appears a big hole has opened up on the future roster.
The latest sticking point in the Uthoff situation are the restrictions Wisconsin has placed on his release. Big Ten rules prohibit him from going on scholarship at another league school and he would have to sit another season after transferring to any other Division 1 program. Uthoff told his old AAU coach that he would even consider playing at a junior college to get on the court immediately.
Perhaps Jeter will find Madison a better fit. Hopefully Lamont Paris introduced Jeter to Traevon Jackson during his campus visit because I think the two kids might have a lot in common.
Each player is the son of a Division 1 college star. Everyone knows about former NBA star Jim Jackson, but Carliss Jeter averaged 18 ppg as a senior at Tennessee-Chattanooga as well. His extended family has basketball in the blood and the Jeter name is synonymous with Pittsburgh-area prep glory (ex-Nebraska guard Lance Jeter is one example).
Both Jackson and Jeter are very articulate and easy going in interviews, with thoughts on life outside basketball. Furthermore, Westerville, OH and Beaver Falls, PA are two towns on the eastern edge of the Big Ten footprint where football (Buckeyes and Steelers) is king, separated by a mere 3-hour drive.