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Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Connected to Ball State Transfer



Wisconsin Men's Basketball target Payton Sparks.
Ball State men's basketball sophomore center Payton Sparks smirks after turning over the ball during a game against Indiana University South Bend at Worthen Arena Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. Ball State won 86-72

Madison, Wis. — Greg Gard and the Wisconsin men’s basketball coaching staff have recently checked in on a MAC big man that entered the transfer portal. 

Earlier this week, National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Dushawn London from 247Sports, reported that Wisconsin was one of the teams that inquired about Ball State center Payton Sparks.

“It has always been a dream of mine to play at the highest level of college basketball,” Sparks said in the Twitter post. “With that being said, I feel like it’s in my best interest to chase my dream and enter the transfer portal. There will always be a place in my heart that is Ball State!”

Along with UW, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Utah, Oklahoma, Seton Hall, Dayton, Arkansas, Iowa State, Loyola Chicago, Florida, Butler, LSU, Georgetown, Ohio State, and several other schools expressed interest in Sparks. 

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.

Why Payton Sparks Makes Sense for Wisconsin Men’s Basketball 

Dating back to the last offseason, Wisconsin men’s basketball had a clear need in its frontcourt following the departures of Chris Vogt (graduation) and Ben Carlson + Matthew Mors (transfer). 

However, UW never found a good fit in the portal and instead relied on former walk-on Carter Gilmore as his backup “big man” and unproven options like Markus Ilver and Chris Hodges. 

Coach Gard has already made it abundantly clear that he knows what his team needs and intends to fix this glaring hole going into 2023-24. 

I expect the Badgers to be heavy players in the portal as they pursue options to improve their front-court. 

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