To tap in to some of that knowledge, Badger Nation's new subscriber series will go around the country to ask the questions that impact Wisconsin recruiting. This week, we focus in on the first of three open recruiting periods for college basketball in July, which opens on Wednesday and runs thru Sunday, with National Recruiting Analyst Evan Daniels.
Badger Nation: Starting with the updated 2014 recruiting rankings that just came out, Kevon Looney from Milwaukee was elevated to a five-star athlete and No.9 in the country. Wisconsin is one of his many early offers. What did you guys like about him this spring that he really took off in the rankings?
Daniels: I think what filled out about him the most was his ability to rebounding. It wasn't just at one event, but it was four or five events. I think he impacts the game tremendously on the backboard. He has also developed an ability to score about the basket and is developing into a solid power forward. He has been as impressive as anyone this spring.
BN: Since you saw him last summer, what's the biggest part of his game that has grown by leaps at bounds? At 6-8, 200 pounds, he has the potential to grow into a real big bruiser.
Daniels: I think the biggest development I have seen is the effort he's putting on the glass. It's made a major impact in his basketball game. I think he can from move from the three spot over to the four spot, which if fine. I just love the energy level he plays with and I think he turned it up a notch.
BN: Wisconsin was the first to offer Semi Ojeleye, but he has really blown up. What do you like about his game and how do you see his recruitment playing out?
Daniels: Semi has really improved his ability to shoot the ball, especially from long range and after the catch. He turned himself into a pretty consistent shooter from that perspective. He is also a very strong athlete. He has a big strong body and likes to rebound. Going forward, he'll have to develop his ball handling and ability to score off the dribble. There's a lot to like about him.
BN: Does Wisconsin have an advantage that they were the first school to offer him or do you think that really doesn't matter much to kids nowadays?
Daniels: I think it depends. It goes from kid to kid. His recruitment has blown up since that offer with schools like Duke coming into the mix. That's one of those things that helps Wisconsin a little bit, but I don't think it plays a factor into ultimately being the decision. I think he is going to take a couple visits before he decides as far as I can tell.
BN: Kyle Washington is a kid that dropped a little bit in the last rankings, but is back up to a four-star in the updated 2013 rankings. He's a 6-9 kid with a big wingspan that Wisconsin loves. He hasn't done a lot of AAU stuff since transferring to a Connecticut prep school, but what do you like about his game?
Daniels: I really liked him at NBA camp. I am intrigued by him. He's improves a lot on the offensive end. With his energy, his effort level and how hard he plays, he rebounds, runs the floor and has developed the ability to block. He's gotten a lot better.
Daniels: Both are kind of big bruising forwards that can lead out, but neither bring much to the table offensively at this stage. There are guys that can impact the guy from a defensive standpoint and a rebounding standpoint, but both need to improve their scoring.
BN: Bronson Koenig was once a four-star point guard committed to Wisconsin, but has dropped to a three star. For the people that don't know what goes into the rankings, explain why his ranking dropped.
Daniels: What I like about him is I like his ability to shoot the basketball. I think he is actually a very good passer. What he needs to improve on his ability to get by guys and make plays off the dribble. He can pass, but what I think he is really missing in his game is to get by that first defender so he can find teammates and be productive in the paint.
The thing about Bronson is he is going to fit into the Wisconsin offense because of how well he shoots the basketball and he's a team guy. He's a high-energy guy that makes the right plays. I think fits in with what they are trying to do.
BN: How do you think Wisconsin is viewed on the national scene in terms of its recruiting efforts? They aren't going to be a Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State, etc., type program, but they have found some really good players for the program under Bo Ryan.
Daniels: I think they are a school that gets the most out of their talent and a school that looks for players that fits their system. Like I said, I think Bronson Koenig is a guy that fits exactly what they want. They are looking for guys that can fit their swing offense and plays tough defense. They've been successful with those guys and they will continue to be.
BN: What do you think the upside of Sam Dekker is going to be in Wisconsin's program?
Daniels: I think Sam Dekker really had a great final season, a final AAU season and impressed a lot of people. I think he impacts the game in so many ways with his scoring, skills and his size. He's athletic and he makes plays in transition and at the rim. I think he just brings so many things that are really going to help Wisconsin.