Madison, Wis. — Greg Gard and the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program put together a strong 2023 recruiting class and currently sit in a good spot with several key 2024 targets as they enter the spring evaluation period.
As it stands, UW has already received a verbal commitment from three-star forward Jack Robison from Lakeville North High School in Minnesota. According to 247Sports, he’s the No. 144 overall player in the 2024 cycle and the No. 33 SF in the country.
Typically speaking, the spring evaluation period is when Wisconsin gets aggressive in establishing its board, continuing to build relationships with prospects, and getting recruits on campus, hoping to close before July when the blue blood schools tend to get into the mix.
Coach Gard and his staff expect to take three or four players in the 2024 recruiting cycle. However, that number becomes increasingly cloudy with the transfer portal and the fluid nature of rosters in college basketball.
Having Robison in the fold allows the Wisconsin men’s basketball program the flexibility to put the full-court press on his top-of-the-board targets, which we’ll get to in a moment while casting a wider net in search of Plan B fits.
Here are, in no particular order, the three recruits Coach Gard will prioritize the most in the 2024 recruiting class moving forward.
Four-star SG, Kon Knueppel
Four-star wing Kon Knueppel, out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the crown jewel of the 2024 in-state recruiting class.
According to 247Sports, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound sharpshooter is the No. 39 overall prospect in the 2024 recruiting class, the No. 11 SF in the country, and the No. 1 player in Wisconsin.
He currently holds offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, Virginia, Marquette, Iowa, Ohio State, USC, and many others.
The Wisconsin native has taken official visits to Virginia, Notre Dame, and Stanford thus far. It’s believed that Wisconsin, Virginia, and Marquette are at or near the top of his list.
Kon Knueppel averaged 19.7 points on 62.1% FG and 51.5% 3P this season.
Very little wasted movement. He plays with balance, pace, and footwork to get to his spots @PhenomUniverse
No. 19 in the 2024 On3 150.
— Jamie Shaw (@JamieShaw5) April 18, 2023
Knueppel, who can shoot stationary, in catch-and-shoot scenarios, and on the move, could be a program-altering talent if the Wisconsin basketball program can keep him home.
It’s far from a sure thing, and several other schools will be fighting tooth and nail to add him themselves, but he’s a dream fit for the Badgers and is a real possibility, thanks to the diligence of the coaching staff.
Four-Star PG, Daniel Freitag
The proverbial keys to the car would be there waiting if Daniel Freitag chooses the Wisconsin basketball program, considering Chucky Hepburn would be a senior when he arrives on campus, making him a potential dream scenario successor to the Nebraska native.
Per the 247Sports Composite, he’s the No. 56 overall prospect in the 2024 recruiting class, the No. 7 PG in the country, and the No. 1 player in Minnesota.
“The Wisconsin staff have been great to me; Coach Gard and I are very close,” Freitag told BadgerNotes. “I am also very close to Coach Krabbenhoft and the other UW assistants.”
Freitag, a four-star prospect, has everything you could want from a point guard. He has good size, physicality, well-above-average athleticism, playmaking ability, and toughness. The Minnesota native can also slash, play above the rim, and shoot from beyond the arc. In short, he’s the total package.
Daniel Freitag (@DanielFreitag_) Highlights vs Eagan March 2023
30 points 5 assists
Howard Pulley Hoops @pulleyhoops
— StreetHistory Videos (@streethistory) March 12, 2023
Wisconsin basketball was the first Power 5 program to offer the 2024-point guard a scholarship after their advanced camp in June 2021. Since then, the Minnesota native has picked up offers from Baylor, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Virginia.
“Wisconsin was my very first offer, which I do not take lightly,” Freitag told BadgerNotes. “They’ve also shown seriousness in how much they want me by not offering any other point guards.”
His recruitment is an interesting one. Freitag is talented enough to play football, basketball, and the next level. But if you take that out of the equation, UW is arguably in the best spot with him right now, especially with Luke Fickell and company getting him back on campus recently.
The downside to him wanting to wait on a decision is that other blue-blood schools could start circling this summer and throw a wrench into things.
Three-Star PF, Jackson McAndrew
Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball program identified three-star power forward Jackson McAndrew out of Wayzata, Minnesota, well before he saw his stock take off this past year.
According to the 247Sports Composite, McAndrew is the No. 171 overall prospect in the 2024 recruiting class, the No. 34 PF in the country, and the No. 2 player in Minnesota.
Now the Badgers, who hosted McAndrew on an official visit in October, are in the thick of it for their top remaining forward target in the 2024 recruiting class.
“What I like about the Wisconsin basketball coaching staff is that they tell me what I need to hear and are real with me; they help me understand how to improve and provide guidance on that.”
On the court, McAndrew can flat-out shoot the ball. At 6-foot-8, he’s a legit sniper from beyond the arc with a quick, repeatable release. I’d go as far as to say that the Minnesota native is one of the top shooters at his position in the Midwest — if not the entire country.
Highlights of 6'9 2024 forward Jackson McAndrew in a big win for Wayzata yesterday! @JacksonMcAndrew
— Fresh Coast Hoops (@FreshCoastHoops) February 26, 2023
Coach Gard and Krabbenhoft are tag-teaming his recruitment and are impressed with the development he’s made in his game this past season.
He looks like the kind of stretch four Wisconsin basketball typically covets for their offense because of the systematic fit. But as it stands, Creighton is the other program firmly in the mix.
“Wisconsin definitely has a chance. They are in a good spot with me,” said McAndrew.
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