In the Class of 2013, guard-forward Jordan Hill could be that kind of player.
With Ryan heading to Chicago for the King James Summer Shootout July 13-15, the 12th-year head coach arrived at the gym early to see Hill, who UW reportedly hardly knew of previously, working out and doing drills 30 minutes prior to his AAU BTI Pump ‘N Run team's 8 a.m. game.
While other players simply took shots and didn't take the warm-up seriously, the 6-3, 170-pound Hill was grinding and preparing to play … a trait that apparently reminded Ryan of the All-American point guard that just left his program.
"Coach Ryan said I reminded (the staff) a little of Jordan Taylor with how hard I play," Hill told Badger Nation. "They could tell that I really wanted it, which was how Jordan played. That's a great compliment to get because I look up to him as a point guard … Hearing from them was completely out of the blue, so I guess I did something right."
Altering his schedule to watch Hill compete, Ryan was so smitten by the guard that he had associate head coach Greg Gard call Hill to gauge his interest and to tell the multi-dimensional player more about the Wisconsin program. The comments Hill gave Gard likely were a surprise.
"There wasn't a lot about Wisconsin I didn't already," said Hill. "I watch them all the time because I am a Big Ten fan. I would wake up on Saturday morning to watch them play.
"Coach Gard told me coach Ryan had the highest winning percentage in the conference's history, they have a top 10 business school and are top 35 in education, period. They play a high level of basketball."
Once Hill arrived back in California the following Tuesday, July 17, Ryan called Hill to deliver him a scholarship offer.
"Whenever you get a call from Bo Ryan, I am sure anybody would be hyped," said Hill. "I had a few pretty good games, and everything was going pretty good. My phone was blowing up all weekend with a lot of schools calling me, and he told me what he saw in my game, what he liked about me and to offer me a spot in the Class of 2013. I was completely awe struck."
Wisconsin is the first big offer for Hill, who until the Badgers offered had only received offers from Brown, Dartmouth, Florida Gulf Coast, Kent State and Yale. He's so under the radar that Hill admits that Wisconsin is the only BCS school that has had any sort of lengthy contact with him.
"I can't believe how fast it's happened," said Hill. "I've always dreamed of playing at a level like that and just knowing that Wisconsin recognized that I have some talent and some potential makes me want to work even harder. I can see how fast it can happen. If I keep playing well, who knows who else will show up? When a dream school like Wisconsin offers you, it's pretty big."
Averaging 14.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.4 blocks as a senior for Pasadena (CA) La Salle High, Hill recently reclassified and will attend Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, a college prep school to improve his grades and his game.
"I wasn't on board with his first, but my coaches thought it would be a good idea because I am only 17," said Hill, who reports a 2.9 GPA and a 1740 SAT score. "It would be another year of growth for me – both athletically and academically."
Although he calls Wisconsin the ‘dream school,' Hill is adamant that he doesn't want to rush through his recruiting just to get it done. Hoping to take some official visits in the fall, Hill is simply enjoying the ride he's been on over the last week.
"I don't want to commit anywhere too quickly because I want to be comfortable," said Hill. "I see guys who are good make a big deal of where they are going and transfer within a year. I want to be somewhere for four years and love it. I don't know how it's going to happen just yet, but I know everything is going to work out fine."
Wisconsin currently has a commitment from point guard Bronson Koenig and forward Riley Dearring in the Class of 2013, and has at least two available scholarships available. All three players will playing in various tournaments in Las Vegas this weekend with Hill playing in the Las Vegas Classic – Big Foot Hoops tournament.
"I am definitely excited to play in front of coach Ryan," Hill said. "I am not nervous, but I just want to do what I have been doing and that's playing hard."