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Wisconsin Basketball Recruiting Roundup: Frontcourt Transfer Portal Targets



Wisconsin Badgers Basketball
Oct 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, US; Wisconsin Badgers men's head coach Greg Gard speaks to the media during the Big Ten Basketball Media Days at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Madison, Wis. — Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball program have been active in the early stages of the offseason, reaching out to numerous transfer options, particularly in the frontcourt.

Wisconsin had a severe lack of depth among post options in 2022-23 following the departures of Chris Vogt (graduation) and Ben Carlson + Matthew Mors (transfers).

Unable to land a viable option in the portal last offseason, the Badgers were forced to make do with former walk-on Carter Gilmore as its top forward off the bench and unproven options like Markus Ilver and Chris Hodges to fill in whenever necessary.

Senior forward Tyler Wahl has yet to decide if he’ll exercise his COVID year and return for a fifth season in Madison (I think he will), which could leave the cupboards awfully thin if he chooses to pursue a pro career.

With the roster lacking any proven options behind him, there is a significant need to bring in at least one experienced frontcourt option that can immediately slot into minutes for the Wisconsin basketball program.

Here is an early list of some notable players Wisconsin has contacted this offseason.

Payton Sparks (6-foot-9 forward; Ball State)

National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Dushawn London from 247Sports, reported that Wisconsin was one of the teams that inquired about Ball State center Payton Sparks, who recently entered the transfer portal. 

Notre Dame, Arkansas, Florida, Butler, Ohio State, and others are involved. 

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound center was an All-Mid-American Conference Second Team member this past season, averaging 13.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 58% shooting from the field. 

Sparks started all 31 games he appeared in for the Cardinals this past season and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

John Hugley (6-foot-9 forward; Pittsburgh)

Perhaps the most notable frontcourt target of the Wisconsin basketball program, Pittsburgh transfer forward John Hugley, who Joe Tipton of On3Sports reported the Badgers expressed interest in. 

UW, Michigan, Oregon, Miami, Rutgers, Xavier, Arkansas, LSU, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Maryland, Nebraska, Butler, Georgia, and several others are also involved.

The 6-foot-9, 265-pound forward played eight games this past season before deciding to sit out the remainder of the season to focus on his mental health. 

In 2021-22 however, he led the Panthers in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per game and 7.9 rebounds on 47.1% shooting en route to All-ACC honorable mention honors.

Hugley has up to three years of eligibility remaining.

Dame Adelekun (6-foot-8 forward; Dartmouth)

The first frontcourt player Wisconsin basketball reached out to was Dartmouth forward Dame Adelekun, according to a report from Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers. 

Arkansas, Ohio State, Wichita State, Boise State, Clemson, Arkansas, Seton Hall, Maryland, Vanderbilt, Rhode Island, Seton Hall, Loyola Chicago, and several others are also in the mix. 

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 blocks, and 1.0 steals on 56.3% shooting from the field this past season. 

Adelekun has up to two years of eligibility remaining. 

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