CANOON BALL: Head coach Gary Andersen and his staff went hard over the weekend, garnering four commitments for the class of 2015 (five since Thurdsay). Texas linebacker Chris Orr got the party started on Friday, and he brings a deep family lineage of football. Offensive lineman Sam Madden and defensive end Nate Howard made their commitments on Saturday, while wide receiver Brandyn Lee closed the weekend with his commitment. Mike rounded up everything, including where the Badgers' class now stands within the Big Ten.
Seeing as how a whole host of mock drafts have him slated in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, it might be a given Melvin Gordon will declare after the 2014-15 season. ESPN.com's Mel Kiper reaffirms this by calling Gordon the second-best underclassmen running back (Insider).
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What are the realistic expectations for Gordon and his teammates? You can decide by voting in our latest poll.
ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg has a story on Big Ten coaches and how Dave Aranda's networking has helped him reach his current position.
In the June 5 edition of Badger Bits, I mentioned Tony Bennett's seven-year extension to stay with Virginia. I also pondered if Bo Ryan could coach for another seven seasons, but I've come to a conclusion: let's put that argument to rest.
When I was watching the dominant performance of the San Antonio Spurs throughout the 2014 NBA Finals, I noticed they were built a lot like Ryan's squad. Great fundamentals, characterized by unselfishness and an innate sense how to play solid defense, have led the respective teams to their postseason success, with the Spurs yielding a tad bit better of an edge. From the head coaching perspective, Gregg Popovich and Ryan both excel at developing their players within their own system and very rarely have to rely on outside help in order to achieve this. Wisconsin hasn't welcomed a free agent since Shariff Chambliss in 2003; San Antonio only seems to selectively pick their free agents, in which they turn to gold, i.e. Patty Mills.
Within this, Popovich will, most likely, be succeeded by a long-time assistant that knows his system inside and out; as long as the heir to the throne doesn't completely mess it up, the Spurs will be among the league's best for quite some time. And that's the same mentality I have grown to align with the Badgers' coaching carousel, whenever that may come. As the saying goes: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." In other words, there's no need to deviate from the norm of unbelievable success the UW program has grown accustomed to since Ryan started to stroll, or crouch, on the sidelines. His coaching staff, to no surprise, hasn't fluctuated much at all during that stretch.
Yes, I realize Bennett's former connections to the program make him an obvious choice. Plus, his recent heralded accomplishments with the Cavaliers makes him an inevitable, yet warranted selection to follow up Ryan and Bennett's father, Dick. But you have to realize the immense intricacies of this maneuver. Maybe Tony wants to get away from his dad's spotlight and form his own path at a different school. Maybe Tony likes playing in the best conference on paper. Who knows?
All in all, the wheel won't be broken in the next basketball coaching search for the Badgers.
Jake chronicles Kyle Penniston's excitement for attending UW to play his collegiate ball.
Cornerback Duke Shelley, who was one of the many prospects visiting this weekend, came away impressed with Wisconsin ($).
Jake and Scott discuss the big recruiting weekend as well as the Milwaukee Brewers' strong start to the season on this week's episode of Kielbasa Kings.
I've never been to a Madison Mallards game, but they seem like a real hoot. Jake writes about just how fun they are during the dog days of summer.
It was a great weekend for Wisconsin's track & field program. Women's runner Molly Hanson earned second-team All-American honors and was joined by Georgia Ellenwood. Men's runner Mohammed Ahmed earned first-team All-American honors in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, a feat accomplished by only one other Badger in program history.