MADISON - Wisconsin basketball only had room for one scholarship player in its 2014 class, but that didn't stop Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and his staff from adding a pair of quality in-state players as walk-ons.
Appleton Xavier swingman Matt Ferris and St. John's Northwestern Military Academy shooting guard T.J. Schlundt have been admitted to Wisconsin and will join the team this fall, the program announced Monday. Ferris (6-5, 190) accepted UW's offer in late March while Schlundt (6-5, 200) decided in May.
"We're excited to welcome both Matt and T.J. to our program," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said in a statement. "Both young men come from outstanding families, are superb academically, and have a complete understanding of the commitment necessary to contribute to a successful program."
A prep standout in basketball, football and baseball at Xavier High School, Ferris was a three-year starter on the court, culminating in Eastern Valley Conference player of the year honors as a senior. Ferris led the Hawks to an 18-5 record and a league title while averaging 14.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game and shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc. Ferris was also an honorable mention all-state pick for Division 2.
On the turf, Ferris set state football records as a senior for passing yards in a season (3,949), touchdown passes in a season (50) and touchdown passes in a game (eight). Both the Associated Press and Gatorade recognized Ferris as state player of the year, while the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association named him offensive player of the year. As team captain, he led Xavier to an 11-2 record and a trip to the Division 2 state semifinals. Ferris was also a four-year starter in baseball, receiving second-team all-conference accolades as a junior.
"Matt is coming off a tremendous career in multiple sports at Appleton Xavier," Ryan said. "I've always held an affinity for multi-sport athletes and Matt is no exception. His ability to balance heavy loads of academics and athletics will serve him well here at Wisconsin. We are excited to get started with Matt beginning his journey as a Badger next month."
Schlundt joins Wisconsin after becoming the first senior to play for the St. John's Northwestern Military Academy post-graduate team. The Oconomowoc native averaged 17.5 points per game at SJNMA, earning 2014 National Honor Society and SJNMA Dean's List. Prior to transferring, Schlundt was a three-year varsity starter at Oconomowoc High School where he totaled 1,053 career points and finished as the third-leading scorer in school history.
As a junior at Oconomowoc, Schlundt averaged 16.1 points per game. He earned first all-conference and all-area honors after both his sophomore and junior seasons.Schlundt had scholarship offers from St. Joseph's, UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee, Drake and Northern Kentucky. He also had the option to walk on at Marquette where his father, Terrell, was a four-year starter for the Golden Eagles from 1979-83.
"TJ had an outstanding career at both Oconomowoc and St. John's Military Academy and declined numerous scholarship opportunities to be a Badger," Ryan said. "He is excited to join us and start working in June with our returning players and staff. I'm looking forward to helping him strive toward all his goals on and off the court in the coming years."
Both players also have strong academic backgrounds. Ferris maintained a 4.1 GPA, a 2014 WIAA Scholar Athlete and was a member of the National, Spanish and Business Honor Societies. Schlundt earned the Oconomowoc High School Scholar Athlete Award for outstanding achievement in Athletics and Academics both years.