Now that the 2021 men’s basketball class can officially sign on the dotted line again, B5Q gives you a snapshot of each player joining the fold for the Wisconsin Badgers next season...here is the last member of the 2021 class!
2021 forward Markus Ilver
Weight: 200 pounds
Hometown: Tallinn, Estonia
High schools: Western Reserve Academy, Hudson, Ohio; Massanutten Military Academy, Woodstock, Va.
- 247 Composite: three-star, 88.62 rating (No. 204 nationally / No. 41 power forward), No. 6 in state
- 247 Sports: three-star, 88 rating (No. 43 power forward), No. 6 in state
- Rivals: three-star, (No. 47 power forward)
- ESPN: four-star, 80 rating, No. 25 power forward, No. 27 in region, No. 5 in state
Links to other B5Q posts on player
Committed to Wisconsin on January 13th, 2020
Let’s gooooo Markus!! Got a chance to spend some time in Latvia two summers ago at NBA Basketball Without Borders with him. Love his game. Huge get!!! Just a basketball player. @MarkusIlver https://t.co/mGwZ8FQl9M— Sam Dekker (@dekker) January 14, 2021
Ilver has some bounce when you watch his highlights (there is a dunk early in the clip below that made me yelp). He also has a quick trigger from three. He’s basically your prototypical modern wing player that can get to the tin and rain threes. His game is quite appealing in that regard and also probably places him closer to the SF side of things than the PF side. He has a quick first step and uses slight pump fakes well to get past his man and get into the lane.
While this may be a simplistic comparison since they’re both European, watching Franz Wagner beat up the Badgers a couple of time last season and seeing him rise up NBA Draft boards has me hoping that Ilver can be a similar player. He should, eventually, fill the role that Aleem Ford occupied last year as a tall, rangy, shot-making wing.
“I am extremely thankful for the opportunity that coach Gard is giving me,” Ilver said. “I’m very excited to be a member of the Badger family!”
UW Bio (courtesy UW Athletic Department)
Ilver recently represented Estonia at the 2020 Baltic Sea Basketball Cup, earning MVP honors after he averaged 15 points and 6 rebounds per game. Ilver helped lead Estonia to wins over Sweden, Finland and Latvia during the event.
A 3-star recruit according to 247 Sports, Ilver was ranked as the No. 6 player from the state of Ohio and the 40th-best power forward in the country in the Class of 2021.
Markus’ father, Priit Ilver, followed a similar path leaving Estonia to play basketball in the United States. Priit Ilver played two seasons at St. Francis Brooklyn from 1998-2000. He appeared in 28 games as a senior before returning to Estonia to play basketball professionally.
Prior to becoming a Badger, Ilver actually crossed paths with former Wisconsin standout Sam Dekker through the “NBA Basketball Without Borders” program in Latvia.
“Markus is an excellent addition to our recruiting class and program,” Gard said. “He impressed us from the very beginning with size, athleticism and a skillset that matches our style of play. Markus has a well-rounded game with room to grow in all areas. His ability to shoot the ball at his size has been his strength to this point. Playing at Western Reserve Academy under coach Pete Hutchins has helped Markus’ game continue to grow on both ends of the floor.
“His path to Wisconsin is unique and we are excited to add such a high-character person to our locker room. Like his father, Priit, who played collegiately at St. Francis Brooklyn, Markus came to the United States from Estonia to earn an opportunity to live out his dream of playing college basketball. We are looking forward to working with Markus to help him continue to reach his goals as a player and person.”