During Bo Ryan's tenure as head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, a similar strategy has played out with almost all of his recruiting classes. You sign with Wisconsin, you redshirt a year, you play sparing minutes a year, you make the leap to contributor the next year, and lastly you are a starter of a top-four team in the conference. It was a tried and true method that had worked wonders for many talented youngsters who weren't physically prepared for B1G play.
While he may still redshirt a year, there is no doubt that Charlie Thomas is physically ready to play in the B1G. Like, he could play in the B1G yesterday. The 6-7, 240 pound power forward out of Clarksville (River Hill), MD is what analysts might affectionately call "a wide body." Thomas averaged 20.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game for River Hill last year, according to the Baltimore Sun. The DMV product made his verbal commitment to Wisconsin late Tuesday night and became the third member of the Badgers' 2015 recruiting class. He was also considering DePaul and Rutgers.
RT @Tr33top_T4LL: Blessed to say that I have committed to Wisconsin #BadgerNation ⚪️ ⚪️— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) October 15, 2014
There is limited video on Thomas (this Bucky's 5th Quarter post has all the links you'll need), but the big fella looks athletic getting up and down the court. He could possibly play multiple positions at the next level and create matchup problems with either his size or his agility.
Wisconsin's first recruiting class after making the Final Four has been shaping up nicely so far. In addition to Thomas, the Badgers have verbal commitments from four-star guard Brevin Pritzl and four-star power forward Alex Illikainen. Adding Thomas solidifies the Badgers front court for the next couple of years and will offset the loss of Frank Kaminsky somewhat. With Thomas in the fold, the Badgers moved up to 24th in 247's team rankings. Getting a player from the talent rich DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area is also important for Wisconsin if they want to expand their recruiting imprint nationally. With Maryland joining the conference, that area will be ripe for B1G teams to come in and find players. Having an early "in" is paramount for the Badgers sustained success.
The Badgers still have three scholarships remaining, but only two targets they are pursuing doggedly. The third scholarship may be used on a late-blooming point guard or rolled over until next cycle (to find a better point guard). One is Josh Sharma of Massachussets, who has been trending away from UW recently and towards Stanford or BC, and the other is five-star center Diamond Stone out of Milwaukee. Stone is a name that has been on Badger fan's radars for years, and he is currently being pursued by UConn, Maryland, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Duke, and Wisconsin. The favorites appear to be the Badgers and the Huskies, and Stone's father is friends with Bo Ryan, but who knows how this whole saga will play out. For now, Wisconsin is extremely happy with the momentum they've gained on the recruiting trail with the addition of Thomas.