Wisconsin could be battling Stanford for the services of 2015 center Josh Sharma. After wrapping up at Adidas Nations camp Monday (where he averaged three points and three rebounds in 14 minutes per game for Team Rose), Sharma will be making an unofficial visit to Stanford's campus with his mother Wednesday.
Sharma is focused on three schools right now: Stanford, Boston College and Wisconsin. There is both good and bad news in there for Badger fans. Wisconsin seems entrenched as a possible finalist and it's good to see Connecticut is not mentioned. However, Stanford is a real threat for any academically-minded kid, especially one who has some ties out west (waaaay out west, as in Hawaii) like Sharma. I don't get the feeling that Boston College is much more than a token local candidate.
Junior forward returns to Madison
Nick Rakocevic, an intriguing 2016 post prospect from Illinois, traveled to Madison on Tuesday. Outside of point guard Payton Pritchard, Wisconsin might be in the best shape with Rakocevic out of any other rising junior on its wish list. The Badgers offered Rakocevic a scholarship back in March, shortly after he attended UW's home win over Michigan State in February.
Four star 2016 prospect @nick_rakocevic1 gives his #Badgers visit a "8 or 9" today. Good marks. Story coming later— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) August 6, 2014
On his visit, Rakocevic was able to run with the current players at an open gym and had a lot of good things to say about how Wisconsin's style would fit him, per Evan Flood ($):
"I like how their big guys do a little bit more than just post up. They also have guards do post stuff. I feel like that's really important. They have a lot of versatility with all the big guys. I feel like that would fit in well for me."
A face-up big man in perfect Badger style, the 6'9" forward is being recruited by nearly everyone in the midwest, but also is receiving interest from Duke, Florida and Oregon. Rakocevic averaged around 9 ppg during the Peach Jam with the Illini coaching staff trailing his every move on the 16U Mac Irvin Fire team. He has mentioned setting up visits to Michigan State, Florida, Kansas, Indiana and Texas, among others.
Will Team USA spur more package deal talk?
The U17 men's national team begins play against Greece on Friday in the World Championships over in Dubai. Why is it pertinent to Wisconsin fans? Primarily because the state's own Diamond Stone and Henry Ellenson made the team.
It is also significant because Stone is reunited with Malik Newman and Ivan Rabb, two players who want to play together with Stone at the college level. Talk of a Newman-Stone package deal has epitomized the seesaw world of recruiting. Though Stone is aware he needs to choose a school independently of Newman and Rabb, I wouldn't be surprised for the talk to flare up again, however briefly, after the World Championships.
Stone has been limited in recent practices due to a groin injury, but you can catch Team USA's first game at 1 p.m. CDT on ESPN3 (or find the replays on ESPNU).