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Should Wisconsin Basketball Consider Hiring an Ace Recruiting Specialist?

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Wisconsin Basketball coaching staff
Jan 7, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard watches his team play against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Greg Gard has been at the helm of the Wisconsin basketball program since 2015, taking over for legendary coach Bo Ryan midway through the season.

Coach Gard has had a successful tenure thus far, leading the Badgers to six NCAA Tournament appearances in his first eight seasons, winning two Big Ten regular season titles and two league Coach of the Year awards.

However, one issue that has plagued Gard and his staff nationally is their inability to bring in high-end talent consistently.

While Gard is considered an elite talent evaluator, as evidenced by the success of players he recruited and played a hand in developing, like Jordan Taylor, Ethan Happ, Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and Johnny Davis, he has struggled to close the deal on some of the top recruits in the country despite the programs early involvement.

It’s on Gard to ultimately close the deal with recruits, and he could certainly stand to be more aggressive, but it’s worth acknowledging that Wisconsin basketball could benefit from making a change on his coaching staff if the athletic department is willing to fork over the money.

Why Greg Gard Should Consider Making a Change on His Staff

First things first, I’m not suggesting any Wisconsin coach get fired because we’re privy to a select tidbit of information. We’re not present behind closed doors to know the coaches’ relationships with players or their role in developing some of the young talents.

That said, we have access to a small amount of Wisconsin basketball recruiting information from 247Sports that I found interesting + worth discussing.

Assistant coach Dean Oliver, who has been on staff since 2017, has secured a verbal commitment from four players (Taylor Currie, Lorne Bowman, Connor Essegian, and John Blackwell) that he served as the lead recruiter.

For comparison, associate head coach Joe Krabenhoft has landed 14 commits during that same time frame. And Sharif Chambliss, who is entering his third season on staff, has yet to secure a verbal commitment, although he’s made strong inroads in the Milwaukee metro area, which has tremendous value–especially in the 2025 in-state cycle.

Adding Context to the Wisconsin Basketball Recruiting Situation 

Now, the context in this situation is important because coach Oliver isn’t acting as the lead for players in traditional strongholds like Wisconsin and Minnesota. Instead, he’s communicating with players who often know very little about the program and would have to travel much further than Krabbenhoft’s targets to visit campus.

These assignments are certainly no easy task, but at the end of the day, if that’s your role, then you need to execute well enough for Coach Gard to get those recruits on campus for visits and have the chance to close on recruits.

Not saying that coach Chambliss should get a pass here because it’s time to start seeing some returns from him as well. Still, Dean Oliver hasn’t been able to bring in impact recruits outside of Connor Essegian consistently (I can’t emphasize enough how great of a find he was).

But I think it’s fair to say that from a fan perspective, you’d like to see more success from your assistants on the recruiting trail. Closing rates are unimportant without context, and we ultimately have no idea how good at recruiting anyone is or isn’t. Still, the more challenging assignments have led to few wins outside of more common recruiting areas.

Some Thoughts on Wisconsin Basketball Recruiting

Wisconsin Basketball coach Greg Gard

Mar 28, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard looks on during the first half against the North Texas Mean Green at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Suppose Wisconsin basketball decides it needs to allocate more resources to recruiting. In that case, I think Greg Gard would benefit significantly from prioritizing a coach outside his network, which has built a reputation as a top-notch recruiter.

Hiring an assistant coach known for his recruiting prowess could be the boost the Badgers need to elevate the program’s ceiling and work their way into the mix for some of the higher-ranked prospects in the country.

I firmly believe that Gard is an excellent in-game coach who gets the most production out of his players. Since taking over the Wisconsin basketball program, Gard has led the Badgers to the highest win total among Big Ten teams. He has also compiled the third most conference wins, despite averaging the No. 9 recruiting class in the B1G during that timeframe.

Still, his roster management and talent evaluations more recently have left the program with questionable depth and need an overall upgrade in talent from top to bottom.

Of course, bringing in a new assistant coach is not a guaranteed solution to Wisconsin basketball and its perceived recruiting woes. It will still be up to Gard and his staff to build relationships with recruits, sell them on the program, and close the deal.

Only time will tell if Greg Gard agrees and decides to make this move. Still, it’s certainly an idea worth considering because if Wisconsin can elevate its recruiting efforts even marginally, It could get the Badgers back on track and over the hump.


Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

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Wisconsin Basketball Fans React: Badgers Miss on 5-Star Recruit

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Wisconsin Basketball; Badgers recruiting target Kon Knueppel
Wisconsin Lutheran guard Kon Knueppel (33) handles the ball against Pewaukee guard Nick Janowski (25) on Tuesday January 3, 2023, at Wisconsin Lutheran High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Badgers basketball program was in the thick of the recruiting battle for in-state prospect Kon Knueppel. The five-star prospect out of Wisconsin Lutheran (Milwaukee) officially visited UW earlier this year. A sharpshooting wing and top-20 prospect in the nation, the leading scorer on Nike’s EYBL circuit was a highly coveted prospect. After official visits with the Badgers, Marquette, Alabama, Virginia, and Duke, he has made his decision.

Top Wisconsin Basketball Recruiting Target Commits to Duke

The 2024 recruit announced his commitment to the Duke Blue Devils on the website formerly known as Twitter. Wisconsin basketball fans used the same website to voice their opinions on his decision. Some took it in stride. Others, not so much.

Despite what you might think, some level-headed people are on the internet. Even people in college basketball fandom. I know, shocking, right?


At the end of the day, these are teenagers trying to make the best decisions for the future. It is important to remember that. Watching Wisconsin basketball fans take a commitment to another program in stride is always a welcome sight.

Wisconsin Basketball Fans Have Harsh Reaction to Recruit’s Decision

Not all fans took the high road this time. Some had to get some pretty negative feelings out there.


Getting my head checked aside, these last two are so odd to me. “I am not saying this 17-year-old I have never met before is dead to me, but I did want to say it.” Or do you prefer, “I want to say a lot of mean things, but do not fret! I am showing restraint at this time!” Who asked? At least they make for good content for me to riff on!

Wisconsin Basketball Fans Want Greg Gard Fired

Check your watch! What time do you have? Mine must be broken because it says it is once again time to fire Badgers head coach Greg Gard. The Wisconsin basketball head coach, who has won two of the last four Big Ten titles, simply cannot manage to do anything right.


Maybe this was a bad metaphor. A broken watch is still right twice a day, after all. Oh well, it stays in.

Wisconsin Sports Celebrities Comment On Kon Knueppel Committing to Duke

Okay, “celebrities” (multiple) may be pushing it. I mean no disrespect to the Don – the one real celebrity here. Scary Alvarez and Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky added their thoughts on Knueppel’s commitment Thursday night.


Despite losing out on Knueppel, Wisconsin basketball still has a solid 2024 recruiting class. The group ranks 22nd nationally and fifth in the Big Ten according to the 247Sports Composite. It is comprised of two commits, Daniel Freitag and Jack Robison.

Wisconsin Football Fans React: Badgers Defeat Georgia Southern



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Wisconsin Basketball Announces 2023-24 Big Ten Schedule

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Wisconsin Badgers basketball head coach Greg Gard
Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard is shown during the second half of their game Thursday, March 2, 2023 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Purdue beat Wisconsin 63-61.

You read that right: Wisconsin Basketball is right around the corner. Although football season just started, it’s never too early to talk Badgers hoops.

The Big Ten released the 2023-2024 men’s basketball schedule. Just like last year, Wisconsin will have one conference game in December and then return to Big Ten play again in January. This is one of the toughest and most exciting schedules I have seen recently.

Let’s take a look at some early thoughts on the schedule.

Wisconsin Basketball Has a Tough First Week of December

I mentioned how tough this schedule will be for Wisconsin basketball, and the first week of December is indicative of that. The Badgers will host Marquette on December 2nd, travel to East Lansing for their Big Ten opener against Michigan State on December 5th, and then head to Arizona on December 9th.

Safe to say, Wisconsin basketball fans will get a good sense of how great this team can be early on.

Wisconsin Basketball Has an Exciting Home Schedule

The Kohl Center should be rocking this year. Wisconsin basketball has a plethora of really intriguing home games this season. UW will have 13 games this year where they face a NCAA tournament team from last year. With nine of those being at the Kohl Center. Five Friday night home games, which include matchups with Tennessee, Indiana, and Michigan State.

On top of that, 5 Saturday/Sunday home games, including matchups with Marquette, Purdue, and Illinois. With the addition of alcohol being served at the Kohl Center now, I expect the Wisconsin basketball home crowd to be rowdy this year!



Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Griffin Gamble on Twitter, @gamble_griffin3

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Where Wisconsin Basketball Commits Land in Recruiting Rankings Update

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Wisconsin Badgers Basketball court: The Kohl Center
Photo Credit: Dillon Graff

In college basketball recruiting, the latest rankings update can bring about waves of excitement and anticipation. The recent 247Sports 2024 recruiting class rankings update for Wisconsin basketball fans will likely elicit mixed emotions, as one of the Badgers commits saw their stock rise significantly — while another unexpectedly saw their stock dip.

Wisconsin, known for its rich basketball tradition, has always been an exceptional recruit and develop program, where players that need more seasoning make their mark at the collegiate level later in their careers.

The latest rankings update reaffirms that Greg Gard has done an exceptional job of identifying system fits early in the process and closing on his top-of-the-board recruiting targets.

Where Wisconsin Basketball Commits Landed in the Latest Recruiting Update.

As it stands, Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball program have the No. 19 rated class in the composite rankings and the No. 5 class in the Big Ten, with two Top 150 prospects.

In a surprising development, three-star wing Jack Robison from Lakeville North, Minnesota, jumped all the way from No. 178 to No. 101 and is now the highest-rated Wisconsin Badgers basketball recruit in the 2024 cycle.

On the flip side, prize point guard recruit Daniel Freitag, the highest-rated recruiting win of the Greg Gard era when he committed, dropped from No. 98 to No. 124.

Final Thoughts 

While these rankings updates are certainly cause for celebration, it’s essential to remember that they represent just one chapter in the journey of these young athletes. Regardless of the rankings drop, I refuse to believe there are 123 better players in this class than Daniel Freitag

The rising ranking of Wisconsin basketball commit Jack Robison serves as a motivating force for both him and the coaching staff. The rankings validate the hard work put in by all parties when Robison was unranked, and now the national pundits are catching a glimpse of the potential that can be unlocked in the years to come.

While rankings are a valuable measure of potential, the true impact of these commits will be felt in the games they play and the moments they create on the hardwood. Wisconsin basketball fans can look forward to an exciting era of Wisconsin Badgers basketball fueled by intriguing talents ready to leave their mark on the program.



Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

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