Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball program might not be finished with their 2024 recruiting class just yet, considering the Badgers are hosting five-star wing Kon Knueppel on an official visit in September.
However, the Badgers already have a head start on the 2025 cycle, holding a commitment from three-star guard Zach Kinziger from De Pere, Wisconsin. But Kinziger is hardly the only in-state product in the 2025 recruiting class UW’s staff has their eyes on.
Let’s dive into the topic of in-state recruiting in college basketball and identify some of the Badgers targets from the 2025 class with whom they’ve expressed interest & where things stand.
Addressing In-State Recruiting as It Pertains to the Wisconsin Badgers
In-state recruiting has been a bit of a taboo discussion amongst the Badgers faithful the last few seasons. Before landing Zach Kinziger, Greg Gard hadn’t secured a commitment from a scholarship Wisconsinite since Johnny & Jordan Davis in the 2020 cycle.
But anyone who follows my work knows my stance. In-state recruiting is important to some degree and can give you a leg up against blue-bloods occasionally. But football and basketball recruiting are incredibly different because of how involved AAU programs are in peddling their athletes.
That’s why you’ll notice that a lot of schools, particularly the Wisconsin basketball team, net most of their recruits from the same couple of AAU programs. Howard Pulley, Wisconsin Playground, D1 Minnesota, and the Illinois Wolves are a few that come to mind. There are obviously outliers, but these partnerships are often mutually beneficial and have a certain layer of trust that coaches gravitate toward.
Plus, if the Badgers can continue to pillage the talent-rich state of Minnesota the way they have been for the last two decades and treat that as their version of in-state recruiting, who cares?
But I digress…
Wisconsin Basketball Has a Dynamic 2025 In-State Recruiting Class
Getting back to the 2025 in-state class, it’s clear that Coach Gard and his staff have emphasized building early relationships with some of their homegrown players to try and steer them toward The Kohl Center.
As we all know, UW is pretty reserved with the amount of scholarship offers they dish out any given year. That’s why it’s noteworthy that of the nine offers the Badgers have out — five of them are to in-state products.
That’s a ton of talent within Wisconsin’s borders. That’s why winning in-state recruiting battles in the 2025 cycle needs to be a top priority.
Where Wisconsin Basketball Stands With the Talented Crop of Recruits
From the abovementioned group, Wisconsin basketball is in a great spot with Will Garlock and Davion Hannah, thanks to Coach Krabbenhoft & Chambliss. Both players make a ton of sense as realistic top-of-the-board targets.
Garlock is far from a finished product, but his size, rim protection, budding faceup game, and mobility make him a high-upside player who would fit the system exceptionally well. It’s also worth noting that he already holds a crystal ball prediction to land at the University of Wisconsin.
Hannah, the No. 32 player in the country according to 247Sports, is a tremendously physical athlete who can get to the bucket at will and play above the rim. There’s NBA potential, without a doubt. UW’s staff sees a ton of Johnny Davis in him and has hardly missed a chance to watch him play: all gas, no breaks in his recruitment — they want this one bad.
Although Kai Rogers recently took an unofficial visit to Madison this summer and appears interested in UW, I’ve been told by a trusted source that once the other shoe drops and the “blue-bloods” make their move, the Badgers chances will be meager.
There have also been rumors that Fenderson will reclassify to the 2026 recruiting class — so Wisconsin basketball getting in early on his recruitment here is a smart move for a player likely to be considered the top in-state talent for that cycle. Working on getting intel here.
Making a Bold Prediction for Greg Gard and the Badgers on the Recruiting Trail
Most years, you’d expect Wisconsin’s over/under for in-state recruits to hover around 0.5 players. In 2025, I’ll put that over/under at 2.5 players and take the over.
There is a LONG way to go before the players from this class make their decisions — and I also expect them to make another in-state offer in the next month or so (I’m looking at you, Xzavion Mitchell), but I think Greg Gard and his assistants are in deep with the right players from this group.
And more than that, I think they can close on another in-state recruit well before the July evaluation period, which has proven critical for the Wisconsin basketball program.
Most years — I don’t read too much into in-state recruiting because the Badgers prioritize fit on and off the court over anything else. But this group presents stylistic fits and top-tier talent that would be a noteworthy loss to let escape the great state of Wisconsin.
I think UW will change the recruiting narrative that Greg Gard can’t recruit in-state prospects in 2025, if only for a year.
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