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Wisconsin basketball recruiting: Recruits eye weekend of Sept. 20 for visits

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A versatile forward and explosive guard in the 2015 class each aim to attend the Wisconsin vs. Bowling Green game as one of their five official visits.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the weekend of the Wisconsin football game against Bowling Green will be an important one for the Badger basketball team's recruiting efforts, as two class of 2015 targets, Jarvis Johnson and Esa Ahmad, have recently selected Saturday, September 20 as the date of their official visits to Madison.

Johnson is a 3-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite rankings and a generally regarded as a borderline Top 100 prospect. Though the Minneapolis De La Salle star is not as highly-rated as some of the other prospects we discuss, his importance should not be understated as the only potential point guard that UW's staff has offered a scholarship to in the 2015 class.

The Gophers get the first crack at him, but I wouldn't read anything into the order of the scheduled visits with Minnesota, UNLV or Baylor. Johnson has said he is still open to other schools. Baylor has ramped up their communication but doesn't appear to have even offered Johnson yet. Part of the allure in Vegas is fellow Minnesota native Rashad Vaughn, who is a freshman there this year.

Minnesota and Wisconsin remain positioned to battle it out for Johnson through the fall. The recent commitments of other guards and wings to Minnesota help UW's cause somewhat, no matter what the Gophers intentions are rumored to be. On top of that, Johnson said he hasn't spent much time in Madison before, so on the right weekend, the city itself can do work some magic on Wisconsin's behalf.

Shaker Heights, Ohio's Esa Ahmad is another prospect setting up official visits these days. Ahmad's father told InsideMDSports that Wisconsin would indeed make Ahmad's list of official visit destinations, and Monday the tentative date of Sept. 20 was revealed.

However, Maryland gets Ahmad's first visit this weekend, starting Aug. 29. The consensus 4-star forward will also see West Virginia, Michigan State and Tulane this fall. Ohio State will stay heavily involved as well.

While things are looking up for the Badgers in this recruitment, the wild card might be the decommitment of former 5-star recruit Mickey Mitchell from Ohio State last Thursday. This opens up another slot for the Buckeyes and creates a greater need for Ahmad in Columbus. On the bright side, Ahmad selected his official visit to Wisconsin well after news of Mitchell's decommitment broke.

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Wisconsin continues to branch out with forward offers, with Ahmad receiving his in July and Minnesota native Alex Illikainen recently getting one as we head into September.

A third power forward, Jeremy Miller, included Wisconsin among his top five schools ($) when he cut his list last week, despite the fact that the Badgers have not offered him. Yet Miller remains very confident that an offer is coming his way when he visits in the fall.

"I watched them a lot last year. They did really well last season. I really thought my style of play fits their offense. They use their bigs and their bigs can shoot it. That's my game."

It appears Florida State and Georgia Tech would be the main competitors for Miller if the Badgers decide to go after him. Xavier and Boston College, where Miller was once committed, round out his top five.

The other big recruiting stir last week came when local 247Sports recruiting guru Evan Flood updated his Crystal Ball pick for Diamond Stone from Kentucky to Wisconsin. I've remained cautiously optimistic since July that Stone would land in Madison. But I cannot stress that word "cautiously" enough. There is no doubt that getting a commitment from Stone would be a momentous moment in Badger recruiting. Wisconsin has grabbed very highly rated big men before, but not from Milwaukee.

Wisconsin will definitely attempt to get Stone and other prospects in the 2015 and 2016 classes onto campus for subsequent home football game weekends. September 27 (South Florida) will be attractive due to the fair weather, while a late-season clash with Nebraska at Camp Randall on Nov. 15 looms as a potentially big visitor weekend because that is typically right before the high school season really gets into full swing.

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