Badgers' 2013 recruiting class likely to see playing time
JUL 02, 2013 11:26a ET
The extent of information Wisconsin reporters and fans have on the Badgers’ six man freshman basketball class is limited to high school stats and YouTube videos. Wisconsin is now into its third week of summer workouts, but we know little about how each first-year player is performing on the court.
Last week, Badgers guard Josh Gasser provided a brief synopsis.
"I think it’s a pretty darn good class," Gasser told FOXSportsWisconsin.com. "We've got a really bright future and I think that starts this year. All six of them are not going to come in and play as freshmen. I think a couple of them are ready to go right away. A couple of them are going to learn a lot this year, get bigger, get stronger and be ready for the future. I think it's a great class."
In particular, Gasser cited the play of forwards Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown, who are in a position to earn immediate playing time -- a rarity during the Bo Ryan era. With Mike Bruesewitz, Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren all gone to graduate, Wisconsin loses its entire starting frontcourt from a season ago.
"Nigel Hayes and Vitto coming in, we’re kind of leaning on them to come in and give us a few minutes here and there or play big roles for us," Gasser said. "I think guys like them can step up and play right away. They're really talented players. Someone's got to step up. It could be a guy who's coming back. It could be a freshman."
We don’t know where each freshman stands just yet. But here’s another look at all six as the 2013-14 season approaches:
• Aaron Moesch, 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward, Green Bay, Wis.
Stats: As a senior at Green Bay Southwest, Moesch earned honorable mention WBCA Division 1 all-state honors. He finished second in the Fox Valley Conference in scoring (18.4 points) and averaged 12.1 rebounds per game. In three seasons on the varsity team, he surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Best-case scenario: Moesch holds his own and plays a few minutes against Wisconsin’s exhibition opponents before taking a redshirt season with five forwards ahead of him on the depth chart.
Worst-case scenario: Moesch is not ready for the college game and looks overwhelmed against Wisconsin’s exhibition opponents. He takes a redshirt season with five forwards ahead of him on the depth chart.
More on Moesch: His only Division I scholarship offer came from Eastern Illinois, but Green Bay offered him a preferred walk-on spot. Most of his offers came from Division II programs in Minnesota such as Winona State, St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth. He also received offers from Saint Leo in Florida and Michigan Tech.
Moesch on Wisconsin: "It was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up. I didn't want to look back on it 20 years from now and say, 'Oh, I wish I would have, or I could have, I should have.' I really just wanted to do what I wanted to do, and it was the best opportunity for me I think."
Stats: The Ohio Division 2 Co-Player of the Year, Brown averaged 23.7 points and 13.0 rebounds per game as a senior. He finished his career with 1,186 points to rank third in Bowling Green High program history. Brown left as the school’s all-time leader in rebounds (808) and blocked shots (336).
Best-case scenario: Brown establishes himself as an immediate impact player and provides Wisconsin with a starter at the power forward spot, rounding out a frontcourt of center Frank Kaminsky and forward Sam Dekker. He averages more than 20 minutes a game, becomes a defensive force and sets himself up as a leader on the team for years to come.
Worst-case scenario: Brown proves to be the second-best incoming freshman forward behind Nigel Hayes and finds himself buried on the bench behind the team’s upperclassmen. Senior Zach Bohannon and junior Duje Dukan are more reliable on the court and take away some of the minutes that could have gone to Brown.
More on Brown: Brown’s high school coach, Von Graffin called him a "great student" who scored a 28 on his ACT. He improved his game significantly as an upperclassman, jumping from 5.3 points per game as a sophomore to 19.2 points as a junior. He chose Wisconsin over offers from Kansas State, Nebraska, Iowa State, Minnesota and several Mid-American Conference schools.
Brown on his game: "I'm pretty versatile. I like to shoot mostly midrange right now but I can step out and shoot 3s also. I can also go inside since my first two years I was playing in the post all the time. I have a pretty well-balanced game."
• Jordan Hill, 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard, Pasadena, Calif.
Stats: During his one season at Exeter Academy, a prep school in New Hampshire, Hill helped his team win its first-ever NEPSAC Class A championship. He averaged 7.5 points, 8.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. As a senior at LaSalle High School in Pasadena, Calif., one year earlier, he averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.
Best-case scenario: Hill impresses the coaching staff early and decides he doesn't want to take a redshirt season. He plays sparingly in a mix of guards that include Traevon Jackson, George Marshall, Josh Gasser, Bronson Koenig and Ben Brust.
Worst-case scenario: Hill takes a redshirt season and spends the year learning from Jackson, Marshall, Gasser and Brust.
More on Hill: Wisconsin was the only high-major program to offer him a scholarship. He was also recruited by Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Florida Gulf Coast, Kent State, Santa Clara and Yale. Badgers coach Bo Ryan spotted him while he played at the King James Summer Showcase, an AAU tournament in Chicago.
Bo Ryan on Hill: "His length, quickness and demeanor can help him become an exceptional defender in time. He's very young for his grade, so we believe his ceiling is still very high."
• Riley Dearring, 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard, Minnetonka, Minn.
Stats: Dearring averaged 19.2 points last season and guided Minnetonka High to a 20-5 record. He was a Minnesota Mr. Basketball finalist and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career during his senior season.
Best-case scenario: At 6-5, Dearring is the biggest guard on the team and uses his length to provide a different look in limited minutes off the bench.
Worst-case scenario: Dearring lacks the physicality necessary to compete in the Big Ten and takes a redshirt season. He works on his strength and becomes a better ball handler and passer.
More on Dearring: He attended three high schools in the Minneapolis area during his career. As a freshman, he went to Hopkins High School and transferred to DeLaSalle High School as a sophomore. But a tornado tore the roof off his family's home, and they moved into the Minnetonka school district for his junior year.
Dearring on Wisconsin: "I like that they have a winning program, a good history. They have great coaches. They're really about developing their players. I feel like that's somewhere where I could really flourish. That's what I like the most."
• Nigel Hayes, 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward, Toledo, Ohio
Stats: Hayes averaged 15.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 blocks for Whitmer High School. He guided the Panthers to an 18-6 record and a No. 10 ranking in Division 1. He left as the school’s all-time blockers leader (163).
Best-case scenario: Hayes holds his own against Vitto Brown and takes to Ryan’s concepts faster. He earns a starting role at the 4 spot alongside Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker and splits time with Brown.
Worst-case scenario: Hayes plays limited minutes as a freshman with so many frontcourt players fighting for time. Brown gains an early edge on him and becomes the coach’s choice in important situations on the floor.
More on Hayes: Hayes had a grade-point average above 4.1 and ranked in the top 10 of his Whitmer Senior class that had more than 500 students. He scored a 26 on his ACT and intends to major in business at Wisconsin.
Bo Ryan on Hayes: "He's got a great nose for the ball, can rebound out of his area and has worked really hard to make himself a perimeter threat. Nigel's potential is sky-high, and I know our coaching staff is eager to help him develop into the player we think he can be."
• Bronson Koenig, 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard, La Crosse, Wis.
Stats: Koenig was named the Wisconsin Player of the Year by the Associated Press as a senior after averaging 17.0 points and 4.4 assists per game. He also shot 45.5 percent from 3-point range. He led La Crosse Aquinas to its second WIAA Division 3 state title in three seasons and was a McDonald’s All-American game nominee.
Best-case scenario: Koenig's talent is too good to keep off the court, and he finds himself playing backup minutes at point guard. Josh Gasser’s recovery from an ACL injury prevents him from running the point, which opens up time for Koenig alongside Traevon Jackson and George Marshall. Koenig scores the edge on his teammates because of his versatility.
Worst-case scenario: Josh Gasser handles point guard responsibilities, and Bo Ryan uses a starting lineup that consists of three frontcourt players. This pushes Traevon Jackson and George Marshall into backup point guard roles, which makes Koenig the No. 4 point guard on the roster and limits his minutes considerably.
More on Koenig: He picked Wisconsin over North Carolina and also had scholarship offers from Duke, Kansas and Virginia, among others.
Bo Ryan on Koenig: "Bronson has exceptional court vision, great feel for the game and has the ability to take over a game or makes plays for his teammates. He also wants to be really good and play for championships. All the best guards we've had through the years have had that internal drive and motor to be the best, and Bronson definitely has those traits."
Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter
+ SHOW COMMENTS +