Dekker Talks Wisconsin

The recruiting process is over for Sheboygan Area Lutheran wing Sam Dekker. After four mid-major offers, Dekker's first BCS offer was the one he wanted, committing to Wisconsin on Tuesday. He fills in Badger Nation with the decision.

MADISON - In the last 48 hours, Sam Dekker's world has been a whirlwind. He wouldn't want it any other way.

Offered after day one of Wisconsin's elite camp, Dekker accepted after day two Tuesday, becoming the Badgers' first 2012 prospect and ending a recruitment that only started to get jump started last month.

Dekker opens up to Badger Nation in his first post-commitment interview.

Badger Nation: Congratulations first of all. Have you been able to let it sink in yet or is your head still spinning?

Dekker: It's still spinning. I just went to camp trying to play well. I never thought I would get like an offer or anything. The games started (Monday) and I started the game with some real nice plays. I saw Coach Ryan walk over and talk to my dad and they were talking for awhile, mostly the whole game. After the game, coach wanted to talk to me and told me that I was offered a scholarship. I wasn't thinking straight the rest of the day. I was so overwhelmed with how great it was.

Badger Nation: Was there any real debate with you and your family about picking Wisconsin?

Dekker: When I got it, I had this huge smile on my face. I didn't commit right away because I hadn't talked to my parents or anything. My dad went home, I stayed in the dorm and he told me to think about it over night. My mom said the same thing. They said to call them in the morning and we'll talk about it. I thought about it all night, I slept on it, I played and then I talked to coach to tell him I was committing.

Badger Nation: How excited was Coach Bo Ryan and all the other assistant coaches when you told them?

Dekker: I told them and Coach Ryan gave me a big hug and gave my family a hug. Coach Gard came over to give me a hug and welcome me to the family. That's what I liked. That's what I felt, too, a family and that everyone is together and everyone is included.

Badger Nation: When did Wisconsin first touch base with you Sam? When did the coaches really start to evaluate you and really start to take a closer look at you?

Dekker: That's the thing, I really didn't think they were. They said that they knew about me and that they've been following me for awhile. About two months ago, my dad took the real first call, but Coach Ryan said he'd been watching me for awhile. They weren't pressing on me to come to Wisconsin, so I didn't know exactly that they were seriously considering me. Obviously they were.

Badger Nation: What did Coach Ryan tell you during your Monday talk about how you fit in with the program?

Dekker: He said that I could play the one, two or three for him, that I could handle the ball and still go inside or shoot from the outside. He said I would be great for them. He said that guys like me – 6-foot-7, long and can play the point guard if needed to – don't come around too often. He said that he couldn't ever pass something up like that. He said that he loved I could see the court from the point guard path and that I play the game the smart way.

Badger Nation: In the last calendar year, you've gone from a 6-foot-2 kid to a 6-foot-7 player that is long and rangy and that your game has just developed. Can you talk about what the last year has been like for you as a basketball player?

Dekker: I've had to revamp my whole game. Last year, I played outside, wasn't strong, couldn't go inside and was thin. This year, I grew a ton, got long arms, but it was tough for me because I wasn't low to the ground anymore. I had to work on dribbling low and work on a new shot form because my arms had changed. I had to get used to being 6-foot-7. I am still trying to get comfortable with my body and everything, but I am pretty much there. My shot does need a little bit more work. When I get that down pat, it will be a whole new game for me. I love that I can go inside if there's a small guy on me, go outside if there is a big guy on me, take the ball off the floor or take it off the wing. I love being big.

Badger Nation: You threw some pretty good dunks during camp. Is that one of the biggest changes in your game that you can get to the rim and finish aggressively?

Dekker: Yeah. I've been able to dunk since last summer, but I didn't really attack the rim or thinking I am going to go in and dunk on a guy. In Indiana, I had my first one in AAU and I was like, "Wow, I can do this." I started going up (to the rim) whenever because that's a new thing in my game. I am long enough to get over people and strong enough to not have people hold me down. It's a new part of my game that not everyone has seen yet … but they will.

Badger Nation: Including the growth spurt, do you think you would be where you are today if you weren't a member of the Wisconsin Playground Warriors?

Dekker: I am sure that I would have some offers, but with Coach Ritchie Davis knowing a ton of people and marketing us, it really gives us an opportunity to show us what we can do. Everyone comes out to watch J.P. and those guys, so it allows us to showcase our game. I love playing with those guys and Coach Ritchie does whatever he can to get us scholarships and get us chances to play at the next level.

Badger Nation: It's been a pretty good day for the Warriors. You commit to Wisconsin, J.P. Tokoto gets a North Carolina offer and Bronson Koenig gets a UW offer. How excited are all of you for each other?

Dekker: I was super excited to be apart of Wisconsin because I always grew up liking them. I was just as excited for Bronson because he is one of my best friends on the team. When I heard he might have a chance to play for Wisconsin, I called him right away. I am going to try to get him to come down because he's a lot of fun to play with. Then I called J.P.'s mom and I am trying to talk her into it to.

Badger Nation: Basically you have turned into Wisconsin's lead recruiter for Bronson and J.P.?

Dekker: I am trying (laughing).

Badger Nation: Wisconsin fans are excited about what you are bringing to Badger Nation. What's the biggest thing you think you are brining to the table that fans will get excited about during your final two years at Sheboygan Lutheran and your four-five years at Wisconsin?

Dekker: That I can win. You can be a great player, but you also have to get your team to win. You've got to be a team player. I think I can find players off of cuts, I can score whenever they need me, I can box out on somebody that is killing us and get a big rebound, I can do whatever it takes. There's no one single attribute, but you can't win if you aren't a complete player. I think I can get my team to win whenever the coaches call on me. First, I want to try to get my high school team to state or as far as we can go. Then, hopefully I can get the Badgers winning when I get up there.


Badger Nation Top Stories