Harris Starting to Rise

Practically finished with its 2013 recruiting class, the Wisconsin basketball staff is already on its way to developing the class of 2014. One of the players the Badgers have started targeting is Sandburg (Ill.) High junior small forward Malek Harris, who is hearing from a number of Division 1 schools.

MADISON - Even with injuries to two potential starters playing havoc with its lineup, Wisconsin basketball has been able to generate some excitement going into this season, especially considering the often-overlooked Badgers opened the season ranked No.21 in the preseason poll.

One of the big reasons Wisconsin year in and year out are constantly making the tournament is because of the excellent recruiting. Already with one verbal commitment in the Class of 2014, Wisconsin continues to recruit the state of Illinois hard, and has stared recruiting Sandburg High junior small forward Malek Harris.

The 6-7, 195-pound Harris has seen his recruitment spike up lately and doesn't look like it is going to die down anytime soon.

"My recruitment is going good," Harris told Badger Nation. "I have three offers to Miami (OH.), DePaul and Iowa. I am also receiving interest from Wisconsin, Marquette, Indiana, Oregon State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Dayton, Boston College and Kansas State."

Harris is no slouch on his knowledge of the Badgers and has been impressed by all the success he has seen in the Big Ten and the NCAA tournament.

"I know that Wisconsin is one of the premiere schools in the Big Ten," Harris said. "They really develop their players there and they have been successful the past years. I like that the academics are also a top priority for them."

It has been a team effort from the Wisconsin coaching staff recruiting Harris, but the leader with the reins in his recruitment has been associate head coach Greg Gard.

"I've talked to Coach Gard the most and I really like him," said Harris. "I've talked to Coach Ryan about three or four times over the phone. In person we only talked briefly, but he said he wants there officially and he will be at my high school games."

Harris took an unofficial visit Wisconsin on October 6, watching the basketball team practice and getting a tour of the academic and practice facilities from Gard. He also stayed for the football game, a 17-point victory by the Badgers over Illinois, and is looking to visit against this winter for a basketball game.

"I will most likely be visiting Wisconsin this season," Harris said. "I have no clue when I will visit, though. I did not have any favorite college team growing up. I just always loved college basketball, no matter who was playing."

What makes Harris an impressive athlete and such heralded player, in his eyes, is his versatility, as he has played both guard and forward positions for his high school.

"I try to be a versatile forward, so I've experienced the game from every position," Harris said. "I will bring a tough kid that will guard the best player on the other team, and also make plays offensively."

With Josh Gasser tearing his ACL and forced to redshirt, Wisconsin is projected to have three scholarships available for the Class of 2014.

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