The Wisconsin Badgers are sitting high and mighty at the number three position in the preseason AP and are poised to make run to the Final Four once more this year.
Bo Ryan, who has always been one of the most underrated coaches in college basketball, seems just to do two things and that's pulling together tough teams to play plus not to mention the only thing that really matter which is winning. Building a winning program all starts with one thing and that's recruiting.
With seniors Traevon Jackson, Josh Gasser, Frank Kaminsky being in their last year in Madison and junior Sam Dekker maybe bolting for the NBA Draft next summer, Ryan is going to have retool for the next few years. Here's an overview of the Badgers' 2015 recruiting class at this point:
Pritzil just looks like your typical Wisconsin guard. A bit undersized for the shooting guard postion at 6'2", Pritzl has a sliky smooth shooting stroke out to about 20 feet but he's best attribute has to be his toughest and when comes to playing in the rough and tough Big Ten that's not a bad thing for a true freshmen to possess. Now Pritzl tends to be a little streaky from time to time but when he's has it going he can score buckets in bunches. While he is a knock down shooter, Pritzl has the ability to do somethings off the dribble to keep defenders honest. One area of improvement that he can work on is his defensive but being the solid athlete and the competitor that he is, Pritzl should have no problem with stepping up defensively. All in all, Pritzl should be a hand and glove fit into Bo Ryan's "Swing" offense.
Its almost in a Badgers team's DNA to have a big men that is capable of knocking down the outside jumper and that's what you it with Alex Illikainen. Standing 6'8", Illikainen is a stretch four who has a soft touch out to 3-point range and run the floor well in transition. He is a stronger rebounder with good hands who can deliver a well thrown outlet pass and finish around the rim but at times struggles going up against length inside. One area of Illikainen's game that is still raw and needs some tuning up is his post-up game. Developing a go-to move down on the block just as simple as a jump hook would add some much to his game and with his footwork that should be no problem.
One thing that is a must in the Big Ten basketball is the ability to rebound the ball and Charlie Thomas can do this that. With a 6'8", 245 pound frame, Thomas is a work horse on the glass at both ends of the court and not only has the motor to grab offensive rebounds but can finish at the rim through contact while drawing the foul plus got to the line and knock down his free throws. On defense, he communicates with his teammates very well and does a good job providing help defense with hard hedges and contesting shots. One thing Thomas needs to add is a mid-range jumper other than that he is going to be a very high energy and productive player for Wisconsin in the paint.
The prize of Wisconsin seems to be big man Diamond Stone. With excellent footwork for his size, Stone is a very skilled post player with a variety of moves down on the low block from jump hooks with either hand, power drop step and turnaround jumpers. He also has displayed the ability to face-up and knock shots from mid-range and out from behind the arc. He is a good solid rebounder with great hands and a solid on the ball shot blocker as well. Stone seems carry his 6'10" 250 pound frame extremely well but will need to play with a higher motor and learn how finish through contact at the next level.
Stone has narrowed his list down to four schools with Wisconsin and Connecticut being the frontrunners but don't count out Maryland and Oklahoma State who are right in the thick of things.
Wilson is an athletic guard who can get to the rim and finish through contact. He has very nice pull-up mid-range game when in rhythm and when he gets his feet set can knock it down from beyond the arc. At times, Wilson can get a bit streaky with his jumper and will need to keep working to make it more consistent also needs to improve his ball handling when under pressure. On the another end of the court, Wilson can match-up with either one of the guard positions with his high motor just needs to cut down on taking unnecessary gambles defensively.
Wilson list of colleges include Wisconsin, Colorado State, Northern Iowa, and Creighton.
Other Possible Badgers
Either way the pendulum swings with Stone and Wilson, the Badgers look to be putting together a solid 2015 recruiting class.