Unlike many schools throughout the country, Wisconsin's men's basketball program went about early signing day publicly as if it were any other day.
The three prep seniors the Badgers landed, after all, were no secret. In-state stars guard Michael Flowers and center Greg Stiemsma committed in April and February of 2002, respectively. Guard/forward DeAaron Williams, meanwhile, rounded out the class in early August of this year.
Wednesday, though, the trio made it official. Flowers, who is recovering from an ankle injury, is a rated as a three-star prospect by The Insiders. Williams is the No. 15 small forward, while Stiemsma, who is recovering from an ACL injury, is the No. 6 center in this year's senior class.
Far from the glitz and glamour of a press conference or other proclamations, though, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan did not comment on the recruits aside from releasing a statement late Wednesday evening. His statement, including prepared comments on each player, follows:
Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan announced Wednesday that high school seniors Michael Flowers, Greg Stiemsma and DeAaron Williams have signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Wisconsin and play basketball for the Badgers beginning in the fall of 2004.
Flowers, a 6-2, 175-pound guard from Madison, Wis. (La Follette High School), was a first-team all-state selection by the Associated Press as a junior averaging 15.6 points, 5.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game. As a sophomore, he averaged 13.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.0 steals. Flowers led La Follette to the 2002 state title and to a state tournament appearance last season. He is a two-time, first-team all-conference performer as well as a two-time all-area selection by both the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times.
"Competitor-that might be the best word to summarize Michael," head coach Bo Ryan said. "Like Greg, he has wanted to be at Wisconsin and wear the Badger uniform since we've been here. We've always loved how hard and tenacious Michael has played. He has the potential to be a very versatile player in our system that can thrive at both ends of the court. Our staff has known Michael and his family for many years and it will be great to have an opportunity to coach him. Michael has had tremendous success at La Follette and knows what it takes to succeed at a high level. His tenacity and fearlessness will endear him to Badger fans across the country. Our staff is ecstatic to be able to call Michael a Badger!"
Stiemsma, a 6-11, 240-pound center from Randolph, Wis. (Randolph High School), joined Flowers as an AP first-team all-state selection last year, averaging 14.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.5 blocks and 2.7 assists per game. He was also named conference MVP and to the Wisconsin State Journal all-area team as a junior. As a sophomore, Stiemsma averaged 13.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 6.1 blocks. He has led Randolph to back-to-back Division 4 state championships and a 50-4 overall record in the last two seasons.
"Greg has wanted to be a Wisconsin Badger from day one with us, which will make him a true joy to coach and Badger fans extremely appreciative," Ryan said. "We are elated to have Greg and his family joining us and are looking forward to helping Greg reach his full potential. Greg brings a dominating presence with his ability to rebound and block shots. He knows what it takes to be successful and has enjoyed monumental success at Randolph. He already plays within our offensive system in high school, which should help his progression as he begins with us next year. Greg is extremely competitive and Badger fans will really enjoy watching him wear Cardinal and White during his career at Wisconsin."
Williams, a 6-5, 185-pound forward from Bartonville, Ill. (Limestone HS), averaged 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals per game as a junior, leading Limestone Community High School to a 27-2 record and earning second-team all-state honors from the AP and the Illinois Association of Basketball Coaches. He was also named to the Champaign News-Gazette's all-area team as well as to the Peoria Journal Star Class AA first team. Williams has been a first-team all-conference selection in each of his three seasons.
"DeAaron has been truly enjoyable to talk with and get to know during the recruiting process," Ryan said. "We are very excited to have DeAaron, and his family, join our Wisconsin Badger Basketball Family. Badger fans will enjoy watching DeAaron's progression and growth over his career here. He has an unbelievable personality and an enthusiasm for the game of basketball that is second to none. He plays with tremendous heart, much like our teams have here over the past two years. His explosiveness and athletic ability set him apart from many throughout the nation. He has the ability to attack the rim with a rapidly improving offensive game and has shown the potential to be a tremendous defensive player. Like both Michael and Greg, DeAaron is a winner and knows what it takes to be successful on the basketball court and in life and we're elated to have DeAaron joining us at Wisconsin!"