George Marshall’s departure from the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team opens up a scholarship for the Badgers.
Remember, UW was actively recruiting Milwaukee Hamilton star Kevon Looney, who chose UCLA over the Badgers and others. Where Looney’s scholarship would have come from was a bit of a mystery considering the Badgers had 12 underclassmen (including Marshall) on scholarship this season and already had a commitment from Ethan Happ in the 2014 class.
If each of those underclassmen remained with the program and stayed on scholarship, that would have filled up UW’s 13 scholarship slots for next season.
Now that Marshall’s gone, perhaps that opens up a scholarship for sophomore guard Zak Showalter. After committing to UW as a preferred walk-on, Showalter got a scholarship for his true freshman season when Jarrod Uthoff transferred to Iowa. But Showalter went back to being a walk-on this season. He told me last month, after announcing he’d redshirt, that, “I’ve just got to earn it. That’s what I’m playing for this year is to get the scholarship back.”
I asked UW associate head coach Greg Gard if the Badgers were still actively recruiting players in the 2014 class.
“We always look,” Gard said. “We always approach everything that there always can be possibilities. So we’ll consistently continue to look, and if we find the right fit, whether it be a four-year kid — junior-college kids are a little different in trying to find the right fit and then academically fitting the right profile we need — and then obviously on the flip end, there’s a lot of transfers out there, too. So there’ll be very good players that will be looking to make moves, and if something is the right fit at a certain point in time, I don’t think anything will be done here immediately.
“We’ve always got our antennas up and always talking to people and watching and following along, and guys emerge. There are guys playing in our league that maybe weren’t on people’s radar when they were sophomore or juniors (in high school) but had a breakout senior season or something happens on their decision to go somewhere else or change their mind or have an explosion in their senior season. It’s very fluid. You just deal with what you can control and keep moving forward.”