The Chart: 2014 Basketball

Losing guards Ben Brust and Josh Gasser along with Duje Dukan, Wisconsin basketball is targeting playing of talent south of the state line to fill the void. Badger Nation looks at the class of 2014.

MADISON - Should everything go according to plan, Wisconsin will have inked four impressive players in the 2014 recruiting class – guys like Bronson Koenig, Semi Ojeleye, Matt Thomas and Kyle Washington (hey, wishful thinking right?) – and will have three scholarships available to allocate to 2014.

It's a good thing, too, because the state of Illinois is loaded with super sophomores, a number of whom have been on UW's campus already. The Badgers also just made a move on arguably the top in-state sophomore this month after monitoring him for quite some time.

After our interviews and research, here are the main prospects the Badgers are looking at to possibly fill the void (interest listed implies to the prospect's interest in Wisconsin):

Five-star center Jahil Okafor (Whitney Young HS, Chicago)


Scout's Brian Snow says Okafor could be the best low block scorer in all of high school basketball. He's not kidding. Rated the top center in the class by Scout.com, Okafor has the skill and strength to be a force in the low post. He's also a true center, meaning the only time he's on the perimeter is when he's running past it to the paint.

"It is something I have been working on since about eighth grade," Okafor told Arizona's Wildcat Authority about his post game. "I spent a lot of time with it over the summer and it is something I am really comfortable with."

When asked who is recruiting him, Okafor said "pretty much everybody," and he's right, as his offers are a who's who of college basketball. Arizona, Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Michigan State, North Carolina and Ohio State are all coming at him.

"I am looking at a school with a history of producing good big men, producing players that go to the NBA, and also a good academic program," Okafor said.

That doesn't sound like Wisconsin, so this would qualify as a super long shot, especially since Okafor has not been spotted on campus.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Little to no interest

Five-star center Cliff Alexander (Curie HS, Chicago)


Having Alexander sit behind the Wisconsin bench while Jared Sullinger badgered the Buckeyes actually presented a great recruiting pitch to the third-ranked center in the country.

"Ryan said that he could have used me against Sullinger," said Alexander.

Helping his team finish the regular season off 20-1, Alexander averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Ryan scouted Alexander when Curie HS faced off against Okafor's Whitney Young HS and he responded to the challenge, guarding Okafor and still managing 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Heading into the spring, Alexander claims offers from DePaul, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Tennessee. Alexander's trip to Wisconsin was his first and judging by his enjoyment of the atmosphere, odds are he'll be back.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium interest

Four-star power forward Paul White (Whitney Young HS, Chicago)


Playing alongside Okafor, White knew he was going to have a lot of college coaches in the gym to watch his team play. Good thing for him that he's a pretty darn good player in his own right, able to play the wing, handle the ball coming up court or dabble in the block. Despite missing the summer with a finger injury, White managed to grab offers from Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, Marquette and Ohio State.

He picked up his Wisconsin offer when he visited the campus unofficially for the UW-Nebraska football game in October. Here is what Scott Phillips wrote about White following the Curie-Whitney Young game:

"When Whitney Young needed a shot in the arm, it was often White that delivered. Playing a tremendous overall floor game, White often had the ball in his hands, running the offense in a point-forward type of role. He's improved his handles and passing ability, already strong given his age and size, to the point where he can knife passes through traffic with either hand to find scorers. A four-star prospect, White is also more comfortable in his body and this has helped lead to a more aggressive and assertive role attacking the basket, rebounding, and blocking shots."

It's hard to gauge White's interest as he has done no interviews since the start of his sophomore season, but it appears Lamont Paris has spent plenty of time working on another trip to Madison.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium interest

Three-star guard Rashad Vaughn (Robbinsdale Cooper HS, New Hope, MN)


Vaughn averaged a double-double to go along with four assists per game, a big jump up from his 11.6 points per game he averaged his freshman year and has made him one of the top prep players currently in the state of Minnesota.

Vaughn has been rising up the recruiting charts with offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Boston College, Georgetown, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon State and Texas. Vaughn has been down to Wisconsin twice since UW offered over the summer and is being recruited by Greg Gard, who has been responsible for recruiting Minnesota since coming on staff.

"We've been talking every now and then, but he's been reaching out a lot," said Vaughn of Gard. "When I came down for my visit, he showed me around. He's a pretty good coach … I know it's a good school and a good team. I'm real comfortable with Wisconsin. I like them."

Vaughn praised the facilities, the Kohl Center, the coaches, the program and the atmosphere following his visit to Wisconsin for the Ohio State game. It might be a challenge with some of the offers he has but as long as Gard is recruiting him, Wisconsin has a very good chance with him.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium interest

Four-star forward Kevon Looney (Hamilton HS, Milwaukee)


Averaging 22.5 points per game and leading his team to a fourth-place finish in the loaded conference, the 6-5 Looney was named the conference's player of the year, the first sophomore to earn that distinction in the conference's rich history.

Looney told us earlier this week that Georgetown, Marquette and Wisconsin have offered him scholarships, an impressive list that arguably makes him the top player in the state for his class. Looney impressed the Hoyas over the summer during open gym while coaches from the Golden Eagles and the Badgers have been scouted him closer this season.

Looney got his offer from Wisconsin following the Badgers' game against Ohio State in Madison earlier this month, a game in which he attended on an unofficial visit.

"It's a pretty good relationship (with the UW coaches)," Looney said. "It's fun going there and watching games. I have a fun time down there. I like that their fans love their team. Every time I go, the place is sold out and the fans seem like they have a lot of fun at the games. The team plays really well."

Looney has no timetable for his decision and no visits scheduled. The only thing he's focused on is what's on his plate at Hamilton.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium to medium-high interest


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