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Badgers men's basketball: Latest recruiting class has high grade

2012-11-13T04:55:00Z 2014-07-30T12:52:41Z Badgers men's basketball: Latest recruiting class has high gradeJIM POLZIN | Wisconsin State Journal | jpolzin@madison.com | 608-252-6473 madison.com

Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, the bookends of the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team's 2013 recruiting class, are also the headliners.

But two national recruiting analysts say the three players Badgers coach Bo Ryan and his staff landed between the time Koenig gave an oral commitment in September 2011 and Hayes did the same on Sunday night aren't too shabby, either.

As a whole, the class left those experts impressed with the collection of talent that will arrive at UW in time for the 2013-14 season.

"I like the makeup of the class," ESPN's Dave Telep said. "It's a rock-solid class. It's just like with most Wisconsin classes, nothing flashy about it, nothing spectacular about it, but four years later, those guys have won more than a 100 games together."

Van Coleman of Hot100hoops.com has UW's class second in the Big Ten Conference behind only Indiana, which has a six-player class that includes three of the top 58 players in ESPN's rankings.

"It's a strong class athletically," Coleman said. "When you couple (the three guards) with the people that are in the program that will be coming back, I think that the backcourt is very, very solid. I think up front, they've gotten better athletically and I think that's the real key."

Ryan can't comment on recruits until they sign national letters of intent, which they can do starting Wednesday. Here's a breakdown of UW's class in the eyes of the national analysts:

• Koenig, a 6-foot-2 combo guard from La Crosse Aquinas, turned down offers from Duke and North Carolina, among others, to play for the Badgers. He's No. 94 on ESPN's list of the top 100 players in the 2013 class.

"He's going to give them a confident ball-handler and a guy who can make a play for himself and somebody else," Telep said.

• Riley Dearring, a 6-5 swingman from Minnetonka, Minn., committed to UW in July, just a few days after the Badgers offered him a scholarship after watching him play in an AAU tournament in Mequon. Dearring had offers from Drake and Illinois State at the time but none from high-major programs besides UW.

"Every year there are undervalued stocks," Telep said. "And when you're a program like Wisconsin that has made a living off guys like that, you start to recruit to a profile. And I think when Riley Dearring started making shots at a high rate with the body type that he had, I think it kind of set off bells and whistles in the Wisconsin basketball office and they looked at him and said, 'This is a guy that can play in our system,' and they took him."

• Jordan Hill, a 6-3 guard from Pasadena, Calif., is playing at an academically prestigious prep school in New Hampshire this fall. Hill, who won't turn 18 until next month, committed to the Badgers in August, a few weeks after Ryan watched him play for the first time in person at an AAU tournament in Chicago and was apparently impressed by Hill's work ethic before the game even began.

Like Dearring, Hill didn't have any other high-major offers other than UW.

"He's going to be a guy that's going to surprise some people," Coleman said. "I think that athletically, he can defend both positions out top and is going to give them some versatility. He's definitely a guy that I can see down the road being a defensive stopper, but he can still play within their offense and score."

• Vitto Brown, a 6-8 forward from Bowling Green, Ohio, committed in September. He also had offers from Nebraska, Iowa State, Kansas State and Minnesota, among others. Brown, like Hill, is young for his class.

"He's a blue-collar forward," Telep said. "He plays inside the paint, and I could see him being a clean-up man for Wisconsin."

• Hayes, a 6-7 forward from Toledo, Ohio, shocked some by choosing the Badgers over Ohio State. His other finalists were Minnesota and Stanford.

"Nigel Hayes is a good player," Telep said. "I think this guy gives them a legitimate perimeter threat and a guy who is comfortable playing in the lane amongst a crowd, too. Nigel Hayes is a pretty important recruit to Wisconsin because what he does well, his skill set and his basketball IQ, match up with how they like to play."

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