The Wisconsin Badgers are one of the programs hoping to continue building upon their relationship with the Illinois Wolves and have already managed to land former Wolves star and incoming Badger freshman Diamond Taylor. Additionally, the Badgers have already offered juniors-to-be Chasson Randle and Nnanna Egwu and are recruiting junior-to-be Jacob Williams and sophomore-to-be Bobo Drummond, all of which suit up for the 16u Illinois Wolves squad. The Badgers recruiting efforts within the Wolves program have been led by assistant coaches Greg Gard and Howard Moore.
In the first of a two-part series, Badger Nation basketball recruiting analysis Michael Langlois talks with program head coach Mike Mullins regarding Randle and Egwu, two of Wisconsin's top targets for the 2011 recruiting cycle.
2010 Guard Chasson Randle
Badger Nation: What interest is Chasson, a four-star prospect and rated the 13th-best shooting guard in the 2011 class by Scout.com, receiving from UW and what other schools are interested?
Mike Mullins: Chasson is a priority recruit for the vast majority of the Big Ten and just won a gold medal with the 16U USA squad down in Argentina. He is still in the process of selecting the school that best suits him and has been down to Wisconsin for a visit. He has visited most of Big Ten schools and is hearing from a lot of Big 12, SEC and ACC schools.
Badger Nation: Who is recruiting Chasson the hardest?
Mike Mullins: All of the Big Ten schools have been recruiting him equally hard; he's one of top players in country. Most of the Big Ten schools knew about him earlier in the process due to their proximity. The April live period was discontinued this year, otherwise other schools from around the country would have seen him sooner, but word got out about him this spring. Playing in Argentina has only enhanced his stock and increased his recruitment.
In regards to UW, Mullins stated "Chasson definitely wants to play for a successful program. Bo Ryan has done a great job building Wisconsin into a team that contents for a big ten title every year, which is attractive for any player."
Badger Nation: What are Chasson's biggest strengths on the court?
Mike Mullins: Chasson has a tremendous ability to make others better, he is a terrific teammate and has outstanding versatility. He can be either a scoring guard or a point guard, is good defensively and has a high basketball IQ. He is just a player who makes both his teammates and team better.
Badger Nation: What impact can Chasson have at the next level?
Mike Mullins: All the guards we have had for a while have become starters at the next level, Evan Turner, Demetri McCamey and Shaun Pruitt have been immediate contributors. Chasson is looking for a place where he can come in and play.
2010 Center Nnanna Egwu
Badger Nation: What interest is Nnanna, a three-star prospect and rated the 16th-best center in the 2011 class by Scout.com, receiving from UW and is his recruitment similar to Chasson's?
Mike Mullins: Nnanna also had a great visit up there, but it's really like comparing apples and oranges. He's only been playing the game for two years and is just becoming acquainted with the recruiting process. Chasson has been recruited longer than Nnanna has been playing. They are really at two different stages of their careers.
Badger Nation: Who is recruiting Nnanna the hardest?
Mike Mullins: His parents are going to get involved before he makes any type of decision. Right now it was been mostly his high school coach and myself who have gone on most of the recruiting trips with him. His recruitment started in the Midwest but is now going national. Being ranked in the top 40 by scout this week is going to make him even more attractive. He has the size, potential and upside that make him a very attractive recruit.
Badger Nation: What are Nnanna's biggest strengths on the court?
Mike Mullins: Nnanna has been a sponge while learning the game. He runs the floor really well and has an innate ability to block shots without fouling. His skills are improving on a daily basis, and he has developed a 12-to-15 foot shot, jump hook and drop step. His biggest impact is his ability to change games defensively, run the floor and out work people.
Badger Nation: What impact can Nnanna have at the next level?
Mike Mullins: It will probably take him a little longer to make the transition (than Chasson) but he can immediately impact a game defensively. Offensively he won't be able to carry team right away like Chasson, who will be able to come in and lead a team. A school probably will have to give Nnanna a year or two to develop. He is very similar to where Hasheem Thabeet was at this stage of his career.