Another Unofficial Blast for Tokoto

Consider J.P. Tokoto the University of Wisconsin's good-luck charm, as the four-star shooting forward seems to always bring a Wisconsin victory and, perhaps, a court storming when he takes an unofficial visit to Madison.

MADISON – Upsetting a top 10 team, seeing fans storm the court and high euphoria coming out of the home locker room are not everyday occurrences for the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team, let alone any team in the country.

Fortunately for Wisconsin, they are all common practice when Menomonee Falls young phenom J.P. Tokoto comes into town.

Just like he did for last year's victory over Duke, Tokoto watched from behind Wisconsin's bench as the Badgers beat the No.1 team in the country for just the second time in the program's history on Saturday.

"It was a lot like last year when I saw them play Duke because the environment there was so crazy," Tokoto told Badger Nation Sunday. "Everybody was up on their feet and full of energy. The Wisconsin guys were playing their hearts out. They knew what was at stake, what was on the line with a possible conference championship. Just watching them was a blast and I enjoyed it so much."

A four-star recruit ranked the seventh-best shooting forward in the 2012 recruiting class by, Tokoto came to the game on an unofficial visit, the first basketball game he's been to at UW this season, but felt as involved and as passionate as the other 17,230 fans did when they tried to will the Badgers back from a 15-point deficit.

"Looking at them from last year to this year, they feel closer as a group," Tokoto said. "Down that much to the number one team in the country, I am not saying most schools would give up, but that's really tough to come back from. From them to go on a 15-0 run coming out of the timeout shows that they don't back down from anybody and they don't care what you are ranked, where you are or what you have. Wisconsin is going to come out and fight and give it their all every night.

"I was thinking if they were going to pull it out because I was kind of shocked they were down that much at home. So when they started coming back, I was like, ‘OK, this is what I expected. This is the Wisconsin team I know.'"

After the game, Tokoto, who was also in attendance when the UW football team upset No.1 Ohio State in October, made his way to the locker room with AAU teammate Bronson Koenig, a 2013 point guard from La Crosse Aquinas that has also been offered by Wisconsin. The two shared in the excitement in the locker room and spent time together after.

"Coach Ryan didn't say too much because the game spoke for itself," Tokoto said. "They played a great game. The environment in the locker room … they could tell that they are real close looking at the team, the way they interacted with coach and how he joked around with some of them. I've been in the locker room so many times and it feels great being in there.

"Me and Bronson talk three times a week. He's my boy, and we talk about college, school, all that stuff. It was fun being there with a teammate at a game like that because we have think alike and have a similar mindset, so it's fun to sit and talk about a game like that."

Tokoto continues to be highly coveted on the recruiting landscape, as the 6-foot-6 forward added a recent offer from Connecticut, adding to his already impressive haul of offers from Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina to name a few. "When I am on the court, I never think about which colleges are there watching," Tokoto said. "I am just focused on the season right now because I know I have plenty of time to focus on recruiting and making a decision. My dad and I have talked about it and we're going to make a list after the season ends, look at our options and make some decisions from there."

It's been easy to put recruiting on the backburner during an up-and-down high school junior season for the Indians. Losing a majority of the production from last year's team, Tokoto's production has been counted on more than ever. Averaging 21.1 points per game, Menomonee Falls has won three straight, improving its record to 9-9, and appear ready to make a statement in March.

"I look at this season as kind of a test, especially with the seniors we lost from last year's team," Tokoto said. "It was a test for me to show my leadership skills, lead the team, and I feel I could have done a better job in a few areas with helping the team out. It's a learning experience. Whatever you do wrong, you've got to learn from those mistakes and do right. We've shown a lot of heart, and hopefully that's going to help us make a run."

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