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Wisconsin basketball recruiting: updated class of 2023 rankings see several UW targets move up

UW commit Gus Yalden earned his fourth star from 247 Sports this week.

Purdue v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

As schools around the country head towards summer break, high school basketball players are gearing up for a few months of tournaments and chances to make their impressions on various college coaches. 247 Sports just released their updated rankings for the class of 2023 and there are a number of Wisconsin targets that received new, oftentimes higher, rankings.

This updated release only ranks the top-150 players in the country

UW currently has two commits in the 2023 class:

  • No. 94 Gus Yalden (Appleton), The Asheville (N.C.) School, No. 13 center, 6-foot-8, 240 pounds
  • No. 200 (this is his 247 Composite rating, not a new 247 Sports rating) John Blackwell (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Brother Rice, No. 28 combo guard, 6-foot-3, 175 pounds

Yalden earned his fourth star from 247 while Blackwell, a 3-star, remains a bit under-the-radar as a prospect.

Other top Wisconsin targets:

  • No. 67 J.P. Estrella (South Portland, Maine), Brewster (N.H.) Academy, No. 10 center, 6-foot-11, 210 pounds
  • No. 78 Jamie Kaiser (Burke, Va.), Bishop Ireton High Schoo, No. 15 small forward, 6-foot-6, 200 pounds
  • No. 81 Devin Royal (Pickerington, Ohio), Pickerington Central High School, No. 17 small forward, 6-foot-6, 210 pounds
  • Asa Thomas (Lake Forest, Ill.), Lake Forest High School, No. 124 (247 Composite), 6-foot-7, 185 pounds
  • Nolan Winter (Lakeville, Minn.), Lakeville North High School, 3-star, No. 43 PF (247 Sports), 6-foot-10, 190 pounds

The Badgers have been after Winter and Thomas the longest and are thought to be in a good spot for both of them, although by no means are either player a slam dunk for Greg Gard’s staff. Winter attends the same high school as Tyler Wahl (and Nate Reuvers) did, so there is a Lakeville Pipeline that Wisconsin has developed over the years. I like Thomas because he is a gunner that can get hot quickly from deep and the Badgers can always use a player like that.

Wisconsin, who has an excellent track record of identifying talent before the blow up, was in on Kaiser, Estrella and Royal right before all three had an influx of offers from big name schools.

While I’m sure the Badgers wouldn’t say “no” if Estrella wanted to commit this weekend (he doesn’t), I don’t think UW will be a major player for him moving forward. With the commitment of Yalden and schools like Duke and Kansas considering Estrella, Wisconsin will probably be focusing their efforts elsewhere. Annoyingly, Estrella has an official visit set up to Marquette on June 1 and appears to be strongly considering them.

Kaiser and Royal fit the profile of the type of player Wisconsin wants to fill out their 2023 class. They are both athletic wings that can shoot and I’d guess that the Badgers are in a better position for Kaiser than Royal.

Kaiser has official visits lined up with Virginia (June 2) and George Mason (June 6) and has already taken a pair of official visits to Harvard (nerd alert!) and Wisconsin (back on May 2). Schools like Maryland, Indiana, Ohio State and Miami (Fla.) have offered recently and could elbow their way into the conversation with Kaiser.

The Badgers can probably take two more players in the ‘23 class, and probably should due to the high likelihood of losing a player or two in the transfer portal. They also have two open spots in 2022, which they are looking to fill via the transfer portal, so that will also effect their 2023 recruiting depending on how many years of eligibility the transfer player has left.

All in all, Wisconsin has had a successful 2023 cycle so far. Having two of three/four spots filled before the summer grassroots season kicks off is great and they are in good position with a handful of quality prospects to finish off the class. This doesn’t mean a whole lot, but currently the Badgers have the No. 9 recruiting class in the nation per the 247 Composite. Things will change a ton over the summer and into the fall, but I’d rather the Badgers be higher than lower in those rankings, ya know?