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Wisconsin basketball and football recruiting: some news and notes

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That’s right, we’ve combined two sports into one post!

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Wisconsin vs Nebraska David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any major college athletics team, but following it closely as a fan can sometimes be difficult and can often be time consuming. We’ll try and condense all the recruiting news you can use into this bi-weekly (or more often since we are in Uncertain Times and there aren’t actual sports going on) post. It’ll include updates on current commits, including stats from their high school games, as well as news on players the Badgers are still pursuing. Let’s get down to business!

Offered player goes elsewhere

  • Back in the middle of April the Wisconsin Badgers had offered 2021 4-star wing Isaiah Barnes (Oak Park, Ill.) who wasn’t even rated by 247Sports at the time. Since then, Barnes’ stock has gone through the roof as he’s now the No. 85 player in the nation according to 247 and the No. 106 player according to the Composite.

Michigan offered about 10 days after Wisconsin did and the Wolverines sealed the deal on Wednesday afternoon when Barnes announced his commitment via his Twitter account. Iowa, Illinois and Maryland among others were also after Barnes so it’s a bummer for much of the conference that he’s staying in the B1G.

This now leaves the Badgers with only two offers out there, neither of which are going to result in a player coming to Wisconsin (Patrick Baldwin, Jr. and Max Christie, two top-15 prospects who are both going to Duke most likely). Here’s how we think the rest of the 2021 recruiting cycle will go for Greg Gard and the gang.

Unofficial visit...I guess?

  • 2021 3-star TE Gunnar Helm (Englewood, Colo.) is heading to Madison on Thursday to check out campus. Helm is probably the Badgers top of the board TE target (Terrance Ferguson will most likely be committing to Oregon on Thursday) to pair with 4-star Jack Pugh, but Helm has a TOUGH offer list. Currently Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Iowa are listed as “warm” by 247Sports and Alabama, Texas, Tennessee and Southern Cal, among many others, have also offered Helm.

New 247Sports rankings

  • 247Sports has updated their Top 150 for the 2021 class and none of the three Wisconsin recruits, Matthew Mors, Chris Hodges or Chucky Hepburn, made the cut. While reading through the list I was wondering how such drastic changes were made to the list when no games had been played in March and that is addressed here. Basically, they say they’ve been watching full game films and that’s the best they can do for now.

A few rankings of note, for those that follow these things closely:

No. 57, 4-star, 95 rating, SF, James Graham, Milwaukee, Nicolet High School
No. 85, 4-star, 92 rating, SF, Isaiah Barnes, Oak Park, Ill., River Forest High School; Michigan Wolverines
No. 87, 4-star, 91 rating, SG, Louis Lesmond, Evanston, Ill., Notre Dame College Prep; Harvard Crimson
No. 116, 4-star, 90 rating, PG, Tyrese Hunter, Racine, St. Catherines High School
No. 144, 3-star, 89 rating, C, Logan Landers, Cedarburg, Cedarburg High School

As noted above, Barnes picked Michigan on Wednesday and Lesmond picked Harvard over the Badgers a couple of weeks ago. Graham, Hunter and Landers are all in-state kids that Wisconsin hasn’t offered or really looked at and it’s interesting to see them so highly ranked.

Now, the Badgers have a point guard and two bigs in their 2021 class, so Hunter and Landers would be superfluous, but Graham, who wasn’t ranked in the previous iteration of the list, has rocketed up the rankings recently, receiving offers from Marquette, Butler, Oregon, Arizona State, Iowa, Georgetown, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Michigan State and Xavier in the last month alone.

I don’t know if Wisconsin would get in on Graham late, or if it would even matter due to how many other offers he has gotten, but I guess we’ll see. The three current Badgers recruits are all still rated as 4-stars in the 247 Composite, but aren’t getting much love from 247’s standalone rankings.