Sole Focus

After being worried about getting noticed by college coaches and improving his game during last year's AAU season, Taylor Ridge (IL) Rockridge forward Ethan Happ is only focused on him this summer, as he remains firmly committed to Wisconsin.

While many high school basketball players will approach the July evaluation period for college coaches will pressure on their shoulders to earn scholarships, Taylor Ridge (IL) Rockridge forward Ethan Happ won't be one of them.

Approaching his one year anniversary of ending his college recruitment, Happ could not be happier with his decision to commit to Wisconsin.

"It's relieving to know where I'm going and I'm still excited about my decision," Happ told Badger Nation. "I know some other kids who are freaking out because they don't know where they are going, so it's definitely nice that I don't have to worry about it."

Committed to Wisconsin since June 26, Happ's junior season at Rockridge was filled with high and lows. Happ averaged 23.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and two steals this season on his way to earning a first-team all-state selection. Despite the honor, Happ had to deal with a slight MCL tear which forced him to miss four games.

"It was frustrating missing those games because I want to be out there with my teammates," Happ said. "But I'm lucky that when I did return from the injury I was able to play through it. Making first team was an honor and I couldn't have done it without my teammates."

Happ was proud of his individual accomplishments but despite his team winning the regional title, Happ knows he and his teammates could have achieved more, which has already set the tone for this upcoming season.

"We didn't quite achieve our goals as a team but next year when I'm a senior I know I'll take a bigger leadership role which I expect and I'm looking forward to," Happ said. "I think were going to have a good team and were going to have to put in a lot of hard work in order for us to accomplish our team goals."

Although Happ is firmly committed, the Wisconsin coaching staff has still maintained a presence in his development. Recruited in part by assistant coach Gary Close early in the process, Close drove down to watch Happ compete during the winter.

"I know it's difficult for the coaching staff to come out because of the distance and with their season going on at the same time," said Happ, "but it meant a lot to me that Coach Close was able to find a time to make it out to one of my games."

Even though the Badgers coaching staff may not get to see Happ play as much as they would like, they have been able to consistently stay in touch with him, which gets Happ excited for the opportunity to officially sign in November.

"Coach Bo Ryan will call me once every two months," Happ said. "Coach Close is in more contact with me because he's the one who recruited me. He'll shoot me a text or call me to see how I'm doing. When we do talk on the phone its usually more personal stuff, like how's the family and what some of my likes and dislikes are. If we do talk basketball he wants to know how I thought I played in my recent game. We definitely have a good relationship."

Happ was able to make it to four of the Badgers home games this past year taking in all victories over California, Milwaukee, Illinois and Ohio State.

"It was great being able to attend those games," said Happ. "Even when they were up big against Illinois and Ohio State, the crowd was still into the game. I can't wait till I get up there and play for Wisconsin."

Feeling that he consistently improved throughout his junior season, Happ says his team's need to bring the basketball up court against pressure defense has improved his ball handling in transition, furthering adding to his skill level and confidence in his game.

After trying to get noticed by college coaches last AAU season, Happ's sole focus this summer is improve his game even more so he can make an impact as soon as he gets to Madison.

"I definitely want to improve my side to side defense and defending guards, basically I will be looking to try and improve my defensive game," Happ said. "I'll also be working on my jump shot as well. I'm just want to be at my best when I become a Badger."


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