The 2013 class was supposed to be all about the forwards, but with Jordan Hill's commitment earlier this week it's become all about the guards with three commited so far. So, with only one or two scholarships left who's in line to take it/them?
By now you should know that the position is an easy one to figure out, it has to be a forward.
Why? Well, gone from the team following this season will be a trio of players up front in Jared Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz, and Ryan Evans. It was only natural to think that Wisconsin would go heavy up front in the class, even after getting the commitment from Bronson Koenig at point guard early on in the process.
Fast forward to now and we're three guards deep in the class of 2013 and unless Zak Showlater gives up the scholarship he earned after the transfer of Jarrod Uthoff, Wisconsin has just one scholarship left to hand out in the 2013 class.
Take a look at the roster for this upcoming season and you'll see that they've got 7 forwards/centers and 8 guards. Only Dan Fahey will be gone from the guard position after this season, so it'll be a crowded backcourt in the next few years.
What the commitments of Hill, Riley Dearring, and Koenig mean is that the Badgers are really going to have to hit on the one remaining scholarship for a front court player. If you've been following the class then you know the top target has always been Semi Ojeleye, a 5 star recruit that would fill a void at the swing spot for Wisconsin.
However, expecting him to commit to the Badgers is stretching it, even for the most optimistic of Badger fans out there. Having names like Duke, Arizona, UCLA, and Indiana (gulp) very high up on his list it's hard to see Wisconsin becoming a player for his services on any real level this late in the game.
The best hope after Ojeleye is easily Kyle Washington, a consensus 4 star prospect out of The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. He's a solid 6'8" power forward prospect and Wisconsin has been on him hard for the get go. Washington has an offer sheet that reads like a who's who of college basketball just like Ojeleye, but unlike him it's more from the likes of the Iowa State's, Baylor's, and Ohio State's of the world, not exactly the upper crust 'elite' schools that would usually make Wisconsin a total underdog.
What are the Badgers chances of landing Washington? Well, he has already taken an unofficial visit this past March and it wouldn't be surprising to see him take an official visit to Madison sometime this fall and if that happens it's a big advantage for the Badgers. The biggest threat could come from the Baylor Bears, who have been one of his top teams all along, so watching what happens with Baylor will be key.
Another name to look for is Vitto Brown, a 3 star prospect by 247sports, Rivals, and Scout. He stands about 6'8" tall and holds offers from the likes of Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota, and Nebraska to name a few. Brown is believed to be pretty high on the Badgers with Minnesota and Nebraska also high on his list of schools. He also camped at Wisconsin over the summer and came away from that experience naming Wisconsin as the front runner.
What happens if neither sign? Well, an option that is a bit under the radar at the moment could be in state product Nick Fuller. He's listed as a small forward but is a nice sized 6'7" prospect that has really flown under the radar thanks to the attention paid to Washington and Brown. Personally, I really like what I've been able to see from Fuller, but he may be best suited playing at a school like Butler or Creighton. He does hold an offer from Nebraska and Wisconsin hasn't offered him as of yet, but should things fall through with their top options an offer is most likely to come his way.
In the end the final scholarship for this class is likely to come down to a race between Washington and Brown with Wisconsin playing a bit of a "whomever signs first" game as a way to really press the situation before signing day in Novemember. My money is on Brown being the more likely of the two to make that commitment early as Washington has more top level options and Baylor has come out as a front runner over almost all other schools to date.
No matter what, the Badgers need to hit on a solid forward if they want to avoid some major issues up front in the future. Don't land one in this class and you are looking at the prospects of having to use guys like Duje Dukan and Zach Bohannon as full-time players and starters, something that at this point in time should make every Badger fan nervous.