Commitment Impact: Alex Illikainen

Comfortable on the perimeter and developing as a rebounder, three-star power forward Alex Illikainen is the perfect recruit to fit into Wisconsin under head coach Bo Ryan. BadgerNation examines the impact of the commitment.

Committed Over: Alex Illikainen committed to Wisconsin over Iowa, his other favorite. He also had a top group that included Minnesota and Oregon.

Rated: Illikainen is currently a three-star prospect by Scout.com and ranked the No.26 power forward by Scout.com

On Film: Alex is a solid kid, not someone who blows you away with any one skill. He can shoot the ball out to three-point range and is also a capable rebounder to go with it. That isn't to say he dominates on the glass, because he doesn't, but he will compete and grab his share. He doesn't feel comfortable with his back to the basket, but facing the rim in the mid-range he can also be very good. He is the type of kid who really fits into the mold of what Bo Ryan has worked well with in the past. – National Recruiting Analyst Brian Snow

Recruiting Impact: It’s been a tough few months for Wisconsin on the recruiting trail – seeing Esa Ahmad, Jarvis Johnson and Jimmy Whitt commit to other schools and Henry Ellenson not include the Badgers in his top three – that getting a commitment from a forward with high potential was a welcomed site.

The Badgers have three scholarships still available in the class of 2015 and have offers out to two confirmed prospects – four-star center Josh Sharma and five-star center Diamond Stone. The longer Sharma’s recruitment lingers on the more unlikely it will be that he comes to Wisconsin. He took an official to Boston College this past weekend and Stanford next month.

On the same account, Wisconsin appears to be gaining ground with Stone after being a long shot during the summer. Stone has talked about wanting to play with five-star forward Malik Newman, but it appears only Connecticut is aggressively the duo. Ryan has a good relationship with Stone’s father, who reportedly wants his son to go to Madison. Stone is expected to announce his decision on signing day, so time will tell if the Badgers can land the biggest recruit in school history.

Quotable: "Alex brings a skill set to Wisconsin that will great with Coach Ryan's system/ Alex has good mobility for a kid his size, and can shoot the ball out to three. Coach Ryan has done an excellent job with bigs who have a similar skill set to Alex, and I think that made the difference." - Brewster Head Coach Jason Smith.

Final Thought: Illikainen has been a Wisconsin lean over the last two weeks and it’s easy to see why. The strengths of his game fit exactly what Ryan wants out of his big men – ability to stretch the floor, confidence from the perimeter and good touch around the basket. He has to get stronger and become a better rebounded, but Illikainen is a nice consolation prize after the Badgers missed out on Ellenson and Ahmad.


Badger Nation Top Stories