MADISON - Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan announced Wednesday that high school seniors Alex Illikainen, Brevin Pritzl and Charlie Thomas have all signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Wisconsin and play basketball for the Badgers beginning in the fall of 2015.
The class ranks No.29 overall and fifth in the Big Ten by Scout.com.
“We are extremely excited to have these three young men joining our program,” Ryan said in a statement. “They all have the potential to be very good players here at Wisconsin and are extraordinary people from terrific families. It’s wonderful to see all the enthusiasm and excitement they have for this university and the people here.
“Our coaching staff did a tremendous job identifying, evaluating and recruiting each of these fine young men. The relationships that have been built between our staff, our current players, along with Alex, Brevin, and Charlie, and their respective families have been fantastic. All three have a burning desire to be Badgers and to experience success both on and off the basketball court during their upcoming college careers.”
6-9, 225, Forward
Grand Rapids, Minn. (Brewster (NH) Academy)
A native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Alex Illikainen will spend his senior year playing for Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Illikainen is a two-time all-state selection and averaged 26.5 points and 15.2 rebounds per game as a junior at Grand Rapids High School. He also averaged 26.2 points and 12.0 rebounds as a sophomore and is the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder with 2,185 points and 1,402 boards. He is ranked as the No. 95 player in the country by ESPN.com and attended the NBAPA Top 100 Camp in the summer of 2014.
“Alex is an individual we’ve had our eyes on for a long time and have enjoyed watching him mature into a very good player and fit for our program,” Ryan said. “Wisconsin fans will love watching Alex play. He brings a ‘lunch pail and hard hat mentality’ with him every time. His willingness to do the little things to help his team succeed are evident. You don’t carom over 1,400 rebounds without some toughness and a fearlessness to stick your nose in some rough places. Alex’s offensive game is becoming more diverse as he continues to develop. We’re looking forward to working with Alex and are very excited to be the staff that will be able to help him develop both on and off the court.”
6-3, 185, Guard
De Pere, Wis. (De Pere High School)
Brevin Pritzl averaged 20.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as a junior at De Pere High School last season en route to first-team All-State honors from the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A shooting guard with deep range, Pritzl has already scored 1,082 points and hit 131 3-pointers in his prep career. Pritzl enters his senior season ranked as the 48th-best player in the country by Scout.com.
“Brevin is one of the best shooters in the country in his class,” Ryan said. “His ability to continually improve his capability to score in a variety of ways has made him an extremely diverse scorer. As he continues to improve and develop, Badgers fans will undoubtedly have some exciting moments watching Brevin. The willingness to find the basket offensively will not be a problem for Brevin and I’m looking forward to helping him become even a more complete player in the future. It’s been neat to watch one of the nation’s best high school shooters grow up right here in Wisconsin. Brevin will be fun to coach and watch progress during his career at Wisconsin.”
6-8, 245, Forward
Clarksville, Mary. (River Grove High School)
A native of Clarksville, Maryland, Charlie Thomas averaged 20.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game as a junior at River Hill High School earning first-team All-County honors from the Baltimore Sun & Howard County Times. The school record-holder in points (1,137), rebounds (612) and blocks (120), Thomas also earned first-team All-County honors as a sophomore.
“We think we’ve found a diamond in the rough with Charlie,” Ryan explained. “Being a year young for his actual grade, we believe he’s got a tremendous future as he continues to grow and develop his game. He’s part of a wonderful family that understands the entire collegiate experience. His pedigree, with his Dad being a former player at Wake Forest, gives him a head start into a more complete comprehension of what it takes to being a successful student-athlete. His size, physicality and athleticism will be fun to watch take shape over the span of his career as a Badger. He’s been exposed to excellent competition in the summer AAU circuit that I know will only help him blossom more here as he gets into a regimented routine and the player development aspect of our program. Our staff is looking forward to working with Charlie on and off the court over the next few years.”