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The offseason does not lend itself to many basketball stories besides occasional recruiting tidbits. Maybe the most frustrating part of the process is that the courting of teenagers routinely makes no sense whatsoever.
Considering the absurd drama of the Jarrod Uthoff saga and the recently concluded Sheldon Jeter recruitment, Wisconsin hoops fans are eager for some good news on the recruiting front. Unfortunately I don't have any right now.
What I can offer is a touch of perspective. I went back over eight years and researched exactly when Badger recruits committed to the program as well as each time there was an unexpected departure. The result is a fairly comprehensive recruiting timeline. Even though the odds favor a slow summer, let's just say the early fall has been generous to the Badgers when it comes to recruiting gems.
I found this exercise to be useful for a couple reasons. For starters, it tempered my expectations for when -- and of what caliber -- upcoming commitments might be. Secondly, in light of the always fluid roster situation at places like Marquette and Indiana, I came across plenty of evidence that Wisconsin's recruiting tactics and promises are pretty honorable on the whole. Even previous players who have transferred out appreciated that the coaching staff was honest about forcing recruits to earn their playing time. We know that is not always the case.
More on my thoughts after the timeline below. Brush up on your nontraditional right-to-left reading skills and have at it.
Recruiting Timeline - Calendar format
Jordan Smith ('11)**
Zach Bohannon ('10) transfers**
Zak Showalter ('12)**
|24th: Bronson Koenig ('13)|
|2010||19th: George Marshall ('11)||6th:
Ben Brust ('10)
Frank Kaminsky ('11)
Traevon Jackson ('11)
Sam Dekker ('12)
|19th: Jarrod Uthoff ('11)|
Devon Hodges ('11)
|14th: Jeremy Glover ('09)**||16th:
Taylor & Glover dismissed
|10th: Duje Dukan ('10)|
Josh Gasser ('10)
Mike Bruesewitz ('09)
|6th: Diamond Taylor ('09)||7th:
Ryan Evans ('08)
28th: Vander Blue ('10)
Evan Anderson ('10)
Jared Berggren ('08)
Rob Wilson ('08)
|17th: Ian Markolf ('08)|
DeAaron Williams quits
Tim Jarmusz ('07)
|17th: Keaton Nankivil ('07)||15th:
Jon Leuer ('07)
|6th: Jordan Taylor ('08)||22nd:
Boo Wade quits
Jason Bohannon ('06)
Trevon Hughes ('06)
Joe Krabbenhoft ('05)
Devin Harris declares early for NBA
Mickey Perry ('05)
J.P. Gavinski ('06)
Marcus Landry ('05)
Certainly 2011 was the year of the walk-on. Three high-quality players, including one transfer from Air Force, agreed to become preferred walk-ons at Wisconsin within a four-month period last summer. And thank goodness. Otherwise there would have been nothing to talk about with regards to recruiting.
Besides the huge verbal from La Crosse Aquinas junior Bronson Koenig last September, Wiscosin has not received a commitment from a recruited scholarship athlete in the past 22 months. The only similar stretch in the last nine years was a 16-month period between Evan Anderson and Josh Gasser, with Devon Hodges committing in between. With the opening of Uthoff's scholarship, one or two of those walk-ons will have the opportunity to earn a scholarship for the upcoming season.
Lack of traditional recruiting success could stem from two situations. Part of it has to be attributed to transition on the coaching staff. When Lamont Paris replaced Howard Moore, UW lost its primary recruiter in the Chicago area. Like Moore, Paris has had a learning curve recruiting in the Big Ten. Another factor was the small 2012 class size and the staff's decision to hold a scholarship down to the wire for J.P. Tokoto.
Other quick hits:
1. If you had to bet, put your money on the first 2014 recruit popping before another 2013 prospect. The Badgers have a four-year streak going where the first recruit of any class commits at least two years prior to that class beginning its first practices. That is the nature of the landscape these days as kids are recruited earlier and earlier.
2. The best time to grab a recruit is just before the season starts. Nothing happens in October (practices begin) or March (tourney time), but UW has made a big impact in August and September. While the success rate looks extremely high for the September commits, on average the highest-rated Badger recruits verbal in August, when 75% of commitments have been ranked in the Top 80 of the initial RSCI ranking for their class. I would be interested to see if that is a common trend across the country. Unfortunately, the only Wisconsin commit during August in the last five years has been a walk-on. Overall, 12 of the 28 (43%) commitments studied were either ranked in the final RSCI Top 100 or Rivals150 for their class.
3. Flurries of commitments are exciting, but there's no evidence that it's a desirable pattern for Wisconsin.
Example A: Two summer ago, the Badgers reeled in Ben Brust (2010) and 75% of its 2011 class over a six-week span. A couple of those players (Kaminsky, Dekker) look especially promising, but it's not good that the young group already has a 25% attrition rate (Uthoff). This was also the only stretch that I studied in which more than one player committed during the May-June-July months of the summer.
Example B: Spring 2008. UW got five commitments during a 10-week period. However, the following year Vander Blue decommitted and Diamond Taylor was kicked out of school. Ryan Evans appears to be the biggest success out of the group.
Example C: Success! Starting the last day of June in 2006, Wisconsin pieced together its entire 2007 class plus added the foundation of its 2008 class (Jordan Taylor) in a span of just over four months. It was not a flurry, just a measured, successful autumn.
4. The unanticipated departures and decommitments from the basketball team have usually come at the expected times around semester breaks or at the end of a season. Nobody was pushed out to free up a scholarship. Ian Markolf quit before Ben Brust was even released at Iowa and Devon Hodges' decommitment only affected the following class. Wisconsin doesn't oversign, although it should be noted that Bo Ryan is willing to offer prospects before the NABC's recommended date (June 15 after the recruit's sophomore season).
Recruiting timeline - Linear format
April 11: Uthoff released
September 24: Bronson Koenig (Class of 2013) - y
August 16: walk-on Zak Showalter (2012)**
May 9: walk-on transfer Zach Bohannon (2010)**
May 5: walk-on Jordan Smith (2011)**
July 19: Jarrod Uthoff (2011) - y
June 15: Sam Dekker (2012) - #31/?
June 12: Frank Kaminsky (2011)
June 12: Traevon Jackson (2011)
May 7: Ben Brust (2010)
April 27: Hodges decommits
April 6: Markolf quits
January 19: George Marshall (2011)
December 22: Perry released
November 6: Jordan Taylor (2008) - y
September 15: Jon Leuer (2007) - /#86
August 17: Keaton Nankivil (2007) - #79/
June 30: Tim Jarmusz (2007)
January 6: DeAaron Williams quits
Rankings: y=Rivals150, #/# = initial/final RSCI rank
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