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Wisconsin Basketball Keeping Options Open in the 2024 Recruiting Class



Wisconsin basketball; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard reacts to a play against Michigan during the first half on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, at Crisler Center.

Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball program have their eyes on one last big fish in the 2024 recruiting class: five-star in-state guard Kon Knueppel. But if that doesn’t work out, the Badgers have kept their options open and maintained contact with top 150 big man Jaden Smith from Chicago, Illinois.

According to the industry-generated composite rankings, Smith is the No. 146 overall player in the 2024 recruiting cycle, the No. 26 C in the country, and the No. 5 player in Illinois.

As it stands, Smith holds offers from Georgia Tech, Arizona State, Dayton, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, St. Louis, TCU, and others. However, Badgers assistant coach Dean Oliver has kept in contact with the 6-foot-11 big man.

“They [Wisconsin basketball] showed heavy interest this summer,” Smith told BadgerNotes. My recruitment is wide open, but I would love to take a visit to Madison.”

Wisconsin Basketball Keeping the Door Open to Another Addition in 2024

With the college basketball recruiting landscape constantly evolving and the transfer portal looming large, the Wisconsin basketball staff should always keep its options open.

UW has struck out in the portal the past few seasons in search of a rotational rim protector like Chris Vogt, so why not consider bringing in one you can develop for the future?

Talent evaluators widely regard Jaden Smith as one of the best shot-blockers in the entire country. His athleticism, wingspan, and ability to play above the rim stand out. Smith might need some time to refine his game, but his game has the upside of a Power 5 defensive anchor.


Wisconsin basketball has several young big men currently on the roster, such as Gus Yalden, Nolan Winter, and Chris Hodges, but adding a new dimension could make a lot of sense. That’s why the Badgers coaching staff has plans to travel to Chicago to watch Smith play up close at an open gym session this fall.

We’ll continue to monitor this recruitment — which might not see any movement until Kon Knueppel decides where he will play college ball.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack newsletter best-selling author, publisher of AllBadgers, and the owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today's BadgersWire, Athlon Sports, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, Bucky's 5th Quarter, and FanSided.