Tucked away amongst March Madness was the offer Wisconsin extended to Ohio sophomore Tony Farmer last week. Farmer plays for Garfield Heights, the same Cleveland-area high school as Rob Wilson. The Badgers have known about Farmer for awhile, as his school has been to Wisconsin's advanced team camps in the past.
Farmer is a physically mature specimen at 6'7", 220-lb. that can take over games when he wants to at the high school level by overpowering -- or jumping over -- opponents. If it helps, think of Farmer as a stronger Marcus Landry potentially. He slapped 30 on Normandy in late January and just a few days later, Wisconsin was out to see him put up 18 points and nine rebounds over then-No. 2 St. Edward.
Along with Penn State recruit Trey Lewis, Farmer forms a dynamic inside-out duo for the top-ranked Bulldogs (24-1). On Friday night, Garfield Heights will face No. 2 Columbus Northland (25-1), the basketball factory that produced Jared Sullinger, in Ohio's Division 1 semifinals.
See Farmer's prospect profile page for more info.
When you read through the game recaps for Garfield Heights this season, many of them read the same way: Farmer is slow to get going, but starts dominating in the second half. Double-doubles abound.
It's tough to say what chance the Badgers have of signing Farmer, but having Lamont Paris and his Ohio connections on the staff certainly helps. Wisconsin is Farmer's second offer from the Big Ten behind Penn State, but he has others from ACC (Virginia Tech) and Big East (Cincinnati, West Virginia) schools as well. Honestly though, Farmer is exactly the type of player Xavier wins with.
Here is how ESPN breaks down Farmer's game:
Tony is an athletic combo forward with a good motor and developing skills. He has a long, strong and athletic body. Tony is best right now as a skilled power forward. He scores mostly inside 17 feet. He is a decent face up shooter to 15 feet. He can also put the ball on the floor and get to the basket versus other post players. He is a bit of a mismatch problem as he is too quick and agile for posts and too big and strong for wings. Tony runs the floor very well and can finish with ferocious dunks.
Tony can disappear at times during games and he's not as assertive as he can be. Defensively he needs improvement as he can struggle in space versus smaller, quicker opponents. He is a good rebounder because he's 6'6, not because he's dynamic/assertive.
Despite having an opening left for 2012, Farmer's offer is proof that UW is full speed ahead recruiting the 2013 class. The staff is going hard after sophomore point guards as well, perhaps sensing that La Crosse Aquinas' Bronson Koenig is likely take North Carolina's offer at some point. Greg Gard was on the road recently to watch Chicago De LaSalle's Jaylon Tate, and the staff also has feelers out for Jalen James and Lance Whitaker.
Finally, even though it is a year old, the following highlight mix gives you a sense of what the kid was capable of as a freshman.