Wisconsin news and notes: Badgers hockey, recruiting thoughts

The Badgers are lucky to have Mike Eaves at the helm for his development of players on and off the ice. A new recruit will be able to undergone this transformation next season. All that and more in Friday's Badger Bits.

The past couple of seasons and early exits from the NCAA tournament -- plus, of course, the lack of appearances -- have not played up to the expectations held for Wisconsin hockey. Still, the program has added to the historical aura under Mike Eaves in his 13 seasons, winning a national title in 2006 and making it to the national championship in 2010. Plus, the Badgers have won back-to-back conference tournament championships. Yet Eaves doesn't just help improve players' skill sets for the short- and long-term, but he acts as an all-important father figure for the players he oversees each and every season. The Daily Cardinal, one of UW's student newspapers, chronicled this nurturing magnificently. It's easy for Division 1 head coaches to think they are above the team. Coaches like Eaves embody the player-coach relationship to the nth degree, and fans should be lucky to have him as the leader for the school's most prestigious sport.

Eaves and co. continued their strong presence on the recruiting trail, snagging 2014 forward Cullen Hurley of the Muskegon Lumberjacks (AHL). Andy caught up with Hurley via telephone on Thursday and he had these words to say about joining Wisconsin.

"I grew up watching Wisconsin, they were obviously close by (to Minnesota). I love the way they played and the main thing was I love the way they played and the main thing was I really loved the coaching staff. Also, it's a great school education wise. It was really a no brainer for me."

Former UW skater Brendan Smith, currently with the Detroit Red Wings, was one of many players under Eaves to make the jump to the NHL. In the team's first-round matchup, it will be a family affair for the 2007-10 Wisconsin alum, as the Boston Bruins boast his brother, Reily Smith.

Personally, I don't put a lot of stock into recruiting. The Wisconsin football program has served as evidence for this argument, churning out former two-star recruits into All-Big Ten nominees. Looking at the grand scheme of college football; recruiting quintessentially equates to national championships. Alabama has been the king of the recruiting trail, and it has three national titles in five years to prove it. That being said, Gary Andersen and his staff have not been afraid to tap into an endless amount of regions for possible commits, focusing heavily on Georgia and the West Coast as of late. However, for 2015, they are only in the mix for one prospect within ESPN's top-300 list (Insider), No. 8 ATH Torrance Gibson. With one promising prospect in ESPN's top 300, Wisconsin is not one of the teams among ESPN's Top 15 for the Class of 2015. If you don't have an Insider account, check out our post-spring big board of recruits.

As I mentioned before, there is way too much hype and borderline obsession with recruiting stars and rankings, and former UW great and current Houston Texans' J.J. Watt is an unbelievable example of stars meaning absolutely nothing. His rags-to-riches story continues, as he will be in Houston until at least 2015.

Quick Hitters

The UW Athletic Department hosted its sixth annual Buckingham Awards earlier this week, honoring the student athletes. Football's Chris Borland and women's hockey's Alex Rigsby took home the titles of Male and Female Student Athlete of the Year, respectively. However, the co-host work by men's basketball's Nigel "Burgundy" Hayes and Volleyball's Kt Kavas was the highlight of the night.

UW linebackers graduate assistant Aaron Schwanz has been hired as the linebackers coach for Southeastern Louisiana (FCS).

Pending unforeseen circumstances, the Badgers will continue to compete against Brian Wardle and UW-Green Bay, with the head coach signing a new five-year contract.

I was playing some NBA 2K14 with one of my roommates and one of us ended up having former UW baller Zach Morley on our team (ALBA Berlin). Morley struggled mightily, registering 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field with four turnovers. To his defense, he was never really known as an offensive weapon during his time under Bo Ryan's system.

Video of the Day

How could you not remember No.18 Dustin Sherer? The quarterback who took over after Allan Elvridge (talk about a transfer quarterback situation gone wrong) and was succeeded by Scott Tolzien, Sherer started for only one entire season during his time in Madison. While he was under center, the Badgers hit the low point of Bret Bielema's UW coaching career, most notably a 42-13 loss to Florida State in the 2008 Champs Sports Bowl. Sherer completed 9-of-16 passes for 132 yards and one touchdown. For the season, he posted a 55 completion percentage with six touchdowns and five interceptions. Look at how skinny BB looks; oh, how the times have changed.

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