Steal of the Class?

One of the most underrated prospects in Wisconsin's 2010 recruiting class, shooting guard Duje Dukan has already been selected as one of the 11 members of the 2010 World Select Team at the Nike Summit and has helped Ben Brust commit to Wisconsin. Needless to say, his stock is rising.

MADISON - Not highly ranked or highly sought after on the national recruiting scene, it's a fair assessment that Duje Dukan has been the most productive since signing with Wisconsin last fall.

After all, he's had one week of basketball change the outlook of his entire career and helped recruit one of his talented friends to the University of Wisconsin basketball program.

A finalist for Illinois' Mr. Basketball honor and an all-state pick, Dukan, a 6-foot-8 guard from Deerfield (Ill.), was selected to the World Select Team roster for the prestigious Nike Hoop Summit on April 10.

"Overall, it was just an incredible experience getting to play amongst some of the best players in the world and playing on such a high stage," Dukan told Badger Nation. "Playing in front of scouts, you couldn't ask for a better situation. Meeting players from all across the country and world and developing those friendships is something I hope will last as well."

A person at Nike contacted Dukan's father, Ivica (the Director of International Scouting for the Chicago Bulls), and asked if his son would be interested in playing in the event. One of the country's premier annual basketball games for high school-aged boys, the Summit featured some of America's elite athletes, such as North Carolina commit Harrison Barnes and Ohio State commit Jared Sullinger, playing against a World Select Team comprised of top international players 19-years-old or younger

Held at the Rose Garden, home of the Portland Trailblazers, Dukan and his World teammates were out there for seven days, practicing Monday through Friday and competed on Saturday.

"The high school season and the AAU season were big eye openers getting me ready for the road ahead, but playing against players that I am going to be playing against the next four years of my life, a guy like Sullinger, it's the top competition you'll find," Dukan said. "Being able to measure myself against them, it gave me good perspective on what to work on if I want to make it to the highest level."

Dukan averaged 23 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Deerfield High School, while earning first-team all-state honors from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and being named Lake County Player of the Year, but knows he has more work to do to reach the level of a Sullinger or Barns.

That duo combined to shoot 19-of-31 from the floor (61.3 percent) and score 47 points in a 101-97 victory for the U.S.A. squad. Dukan finished 0-of-4 (0-of-3 from three-point range) with no points and two assists in 12 minutes.

"I would say I am close, but I am not at that five-star level," Dukan said. "The one thing I think is preventing me from getting there is my strength. A lot of those guys and pretty strong, which made it difficult to go against them and guard them. Being able to use height was a key for me but I think it I can work on my strength and solidifying my offensive and defensive game, I will be happy with where I am at."

He hasn't stepped on campus yet for summer conditioning, but Dukan's Wisconsin career is already off on the right foot, having a hand in getting Illinois shooting guard and good friend Ben Brust to sign with the Badgers during the late signing period.

Brust's recruitment was a whirlwind after being released from his Iowa letter of intent, going through multiple appeals and waiting for the green light to find his future program. On an official visit with Dukan to Wisconsin, Brust signed the scholarship papers, making him the fourth member of UW's 2010 class.

"The year we played against each other, I think that definitely brought us together even more so because we thought we would be playing against each other in college," Dukan said. "We would be sharing that competition against each other for four years, so we developed that bond to make the road easier for each other.

"When I found out, I gave him a call and told him about Wisconsin. I kind of gave him the recruiter's pitch and my experiences with the coaches … and it all worked out."

With Brust and Port Washington's Josh Gasser expected to fill in the vacant guard position, Dukan isn't sure what his role is going to be once he steps foot on campus in June. What he does know is that he is anxious to carry on the UW tradition, and bring the positives from his Nike experience with him.

"I would love to play," he said. "My theory is that players get better by playing, whether it is practice, working or running the offense. There are a lot of positives of sitting and watching, but there are a lot of positives of being on the court, getting a year under your belt and being more prepared as a sophomore after having played with most of the guys.

"With that, I am going open minded when I come up this summer. I will be training hard, focus on school and get a feel for the guys and the team. I will see what the coaches want and go from there."

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