Having successfully recruited players like Jason Bohannon and Jarrod Uthoff, Wisconsin isn't shy about crossing the border for prospects, one of the main reasons junior Ted Friedman has been so impressed with the program just up the road.
Attending his first UW basketball game last weekend when the Badgers played Ohio State, Friedman – a 6-10, 220-pound junior from Ankeny, IA – got his first glimpse as to why Wisconsin has been so successful over the last decade.
"It's a great atmosphere," Friedman told Badger Nation. "Everybody comes ready to go. It's packed, the fans are into it and it makes it exciting. The fans fill the whole arena – they basically do it every game – and the fans really get into the games."
Friedman has become a familiar face among the Wisconsin coaching staff over the last several years, as UW assistant coach Gary Close was one of the first recruiters on his doorstep. Having attended a football game each of the past two years (he took an unofficial visit this year for the Nebraska game) and UW's Elite Camp in June, Friedman also was scouted by UW at AAU events in Milwaukee and Kansas City.
"I have a pretty good relationship with him," Friedman said of Close. "Wisconsin contacted me a long time ago early in the process and we've kept in touch a lot. They watched me quite a bit during the summer. Coach Close and I chatted a little bit after the (Ohio State) game and just talked about my game and my season."
Friedman has already picked up offers Drake, Northern Iowa and St. Louis but has gotten high interest from multiple Big Ten schools and Missouri Valley Conference schools. The dialogue he's gotten from Close and UW coach Bo Ryan is simple.
"They told me to just keep getting better, keep working hard and keep progressing," Friedman said. "If that happens, they said they would eventually offer me. Finishing the high school season will be big for me and having a good AAU season will hopefully prove myself."
The progression can be seen comparing Friedman's game to where he was just a couple months ago. Focused on getting stronger, Friedman's game has followed suit, especially when he refers to himself as a ‘system player.' The system is working for Ankeny Senior HS, which is 19-0 and ranked second in Iowa high school's highest division.
"My skills have gotten better and my whole game has stepped up," Friedman said. "Individually I have been doing pretty good. Our team is pretty balanced, so I don't have to score a ton. We do the little things that help our team win."