Krabbenhoft states his case

Future Badger sings Wisconsin's praises to recruits

About a year ago Joe Krabbenhoft committed to the University of Wisconsin. Three months ago he signed his letter of intent of join the Badgers in the fall of 2005, becoming the most highly touted recruit in this year's class to sign with a Big Ten school.

Sunday, he turned recruiter during an unofficial visit to UW for the Badgers' contest with Michigan State at the Kohl Center.

Before the game Krabbenhoft spoke with Jon Scheyer, a 5-star prospect for the class of 2006 who is considered the No. 4 shooting guard in the nation by

"First I talked to Jon Scheyer. I went and introduced myself to him and his family, I saw him sitting right in front of me," Krabbenhoft said in a recent phone interview. "He was a real nice kid. His mom and dad were real nice too… During warm-ups they were like, ‘Wow this is a nice place.' I just kept on talking it up and then I kind of asked him what schools and he just named Duke, Arizona and Illinois. We just talked about Wisconsin and he said he'll probably wait to decide after a while."

Scheyer's Glenbrook North (Northbrook, Ill.) team squares off with Milwaukee Vincent and UW recruit Marcus Landry Feb. 12 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Krabbenhoft, who will play alongside Landry next season, played against him in a tournament in Madison this season, so Scheyer asked for some pointers.

"They play Vincent so they play Marcus Landry," Krabbenhoft said. "So we talked about that quite a bit. He was just asking questions about how to defend him and stuff….

"He's a really nice guy and obviously he's a good player so it would be fun to have him."

After the game Krabbenhoft spent considerable time talking to Wauwatosa East star Jerry Smith, who, along with Delafield St. John's star Trevon Hughes, is considered one of the top two juniors in the state of Wisconsin.

Said Krabbenhoft: "I talked to Jerry Smith after the game quite a bit. I said hi to him during the game. Just talked to him, I asked him, ‘When are you thinking about deciding?' He said he wanted to get it over with this summer for sure. He said, ‘For sure I don't want to play one game of my senior year without the decision made.' Hopefully he'll make it soon and I really think he'd be a great guy to have on the team. I guess he's going to be a really good point guard. He'd be fun to play with. And it sounds like it's down to just a couple schools."

Smith, however, would not tell Krabbenhoft exactly what schools he was interested in.

"Not specifically," Krabbenhoft said. "He mentioned a couple. He mentioned Wake Forest for sure and Wisconsin for sure."

Krabbenhoft has not seen Smith play but he was impressed with the highlights he has seen and what he has heard.

"I've seen highlights on videos and I've heard about him a lot, but since I was hurt this summer I didn't get to see many guys play," Krabbenhoft said. "He's supposed to be really good. That's what the coaches have been telling me at Wisconsin."

"I hope he comes here a lot," Krabbenhoft said. "He's one guy I really want to come here."

"I think he really liked it during that game," Krabbenhoft said.

In a dramatic turn of events Sunday, Wisconsin closed on an 11-0 run to overcome a late 8-point deficit and extend its home winning streak to 38 games with a 62-59 victory.

"That was incredible. I just wanted to be out there so bad," Krabbenhoft said. "It was amazing. I can't believe they won. I even told [Wisconsin coach Bo] Ryan, ‘I thought you guys were done for.' I really did but they fought hard. They stuck with it. They played really well. They proved a lot that game I thought. They proved to everybody who thought they were down this year because Devin [Harris] was gone and [Boo Wade] is gone. I think it was a statement game to everybody out there who was kind of doubting them that they are for real this year.

"People at home were calling me at the end of the game. They were just going crazy, they thought it was over."

This was not Krabbenhoft's first trip to the Kohl Center for a game. He attended the Badgers' home wins over Illinois and Purdue last season and UNC Greensboro this season.

"I've never seen a close, close game like that at the Kohl Center," Krabbenhoft said. "It was loud. It was crazy."

"The atmosphere was like it has never been before," he said.

Krabbenhoft thinks the recruits in attendance were impressed as well.

"Definitely. I think that game alone in the future could wrap up a commitment from one of those guys hopefully," he said. "If I hadn't committed Wisconsin, after that game I definitely would. Hopefully a lot of us high school kids think alike. Michigan State's such a big name in college hoops and being able to beat them after almost losing throughout the course of the game, to come back and win — the atmosphere in that place was just awesome. I think that game definitely helped a lot. I'm glad they won with all those recruits there."

Krabbenhoft also spent time catching up with 2006 commit J.P. Gavinski, a center at Wisconsin Dells High School, and had the opportunity to meet fellow class of 2005 recruit Phillip "Mickey" Perry for the first time in person.

"I talked to J.P. Gavinski quite a bit," Krabbenhoft said. "We see each other all the time and I just talked to him just about how the season was going.

"I met Mickey Perry for the first time in person. I had met him on the phone because we talk on the phone once in a while but it was the first time I met him in person. He was real nice. I think we are going to get along real well. Obviously he's a good player, good 2-guard, shooting guard, maybe a point guard a little bit too. He was real nice. It was fun to meet him finally."

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