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Top Wisconsin Basketball Prospects Don’t Attend Wisconsin

Stadium’s very own Jeff Goodman released a pretty interesting article on Friday morning, ranking the Big East men’s basketball coaching spots based upon various factors, such as facilities, fan base, recruiting, tradition, and so on. He’s been doing this for all of the conferences, and I don’t particularly care what people think is the best job in the Pac 12 or whatever, so I’ve just been sitting back patiently waiting for Goodman to get around to the Big East.

Your Marquette Golden Eagles ended up behind Georgetown and Villanova to nab the #3 spot. Not bad! In fact, I’d recommend reading the article, it honestly is well put together and, for the most part, well-reasoned and sound. Also, mad respect to Goodman for the hustle involved in all of this, as the article leads off by saying that Goodman and/or Stadium as a whole “polled a handful of veteran coaches in every league” to assemble the rankings. It’s important to note that none of the quotes are Goodman’s opinion on anything, but is actually the composite views of the various coaches, assistant coaches, and administrators around the league. He’s just publishing the quotes that outline the consensus view of things.

Each school’s blurb summarizing their overall place in the league, a “where they win” which is the thing that the program does best, and a “knock,” which is highlighting the job’s biggest drawback. The “knock” against Marquette was summarized in a comment from a Big East assistant coach, and that’s where we start to get into problems. It states, and I quote:

“Not a ton of kids in Wisconsin, and the ones that do come out of there want to go to Wisconsin and not Marquette.”

Let us pause and reflect on this statement for a hot second. There is, somehow, a person who is this ignorant, and not only are they that ignorant, but Jeff Goodman decided to let that ignorance actually get published as a fact.

BEGIN THE RECITATION OF FACTS ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL PROSPECTS IN THE STATE OF WISCONSIN!

In the interest of full disclosure, these rankings were taken from 247Sports. The parenthetical numbers are their national rankings.

2018: Okay, so Tyler Herro (#37) originally committed to Wisconsin before choosing the rational, sane route and going to known powerhouse Kentucky instead. However, he is not a Badger, even if he did pick the Badgers over Marquette originally, and therefore they don’t get to claim this one. The next best Wisconsin player this year? Joey Hauser (#52), noted Marquette redshirt freshman. The one after? Jordan McCabe (#114), who is at West Virginia. In fact, Wisconsin did not pull anyone ranked in the state of Wisconsin from 2018. Interesting.

2017: Terrence Lewis (#119) was the top player in the state and went to Iowa State and did not include UW in his final four. You know who was in there? Marquette. Wisconsin got the next best player in the state this year in Kobe King, but he was ranked 197 nationally. Down year for Wisconsin high school basketball? Anyway, I guess if you want to do that, Wisconsin did TECHNICALLY beat Marquette to King. To be honest, not counting it again. Marquette was guard heavy and he probably projected to get little to no playtime there. Meanwhile, Wisconsin had just graduated Bronson Koenig and Zak Showalter, D’Mitrik Trice hadn’t really forced himself into a large amount of minutes (same with Brevin Pritzl), and Khalil Iverson was still growing into his role on the team. Much more manageable for an incoming freshman to deal with.

2016: #1 – Sam Hauser (#83). Wonder who he plays for? Definitely not Wisconsin, as the general accepted concept is that Wisconsin didn’t really bother to try to recruit the elder Hauser. #2 Kostas Antetokounmpo (#102) – Dayton. #3 Te’Jon Lucas (#138) – Illinois. Of the 5 players ranked in the top 500, zero choose Wisconsin. Wisconsin brings in only two 3-star players, both ranked just outside the top 300 (D’Mitrik Trice, Aleem Ford), both from IMG Academy in Florida, but neither originally from Wisconsin. Trevor Anderson, #5 in the state and #408 nationally, chooses Green Bay before transferring after one year to Wisconsin.

2015: #1 Diamond Stone (#6) – Maryland. Insert stereotypical Wisconsin Badger fan on Twitter screeching about grades here. #2 Henry Ellenson (#9) – Marquette, and from what I can tell, never even remotely close to being recruited by Wisconsin. #3 Brevin Pritzl (#94) – Wisconsin. Hey, look, kids! A top 100 prospect in the state of Wisconsin choosing the Badgers! We only had to travel back in time to before Stephen Colbert took over as host of the The Late Show to find one. #4 Matt Heldt (#136), aka Yung Milkman, noted Marquette legend.

Are you guys sensing a trend here yet?

2014: #1 Kevon Looney (#11) goes to UCLA. #2 – Sandy Cohen (#76) chooses Marquette (now a Green Bay player. I miss you Sandy, you’re the best). #3 Riley LaChance (#122), while seemingly a perfect fit for Bo Ryan and his system, chooses Vanderbilt. First Wisconsin player to appear on the list is T.J. Schlundt, #5 in the state, #312 nationally, 217 total minutes played in three seasons.

2013: #1 Matt Thomas (#55), Iowa State. #2 Duane Wilson (#59) chose Marquette. #3 Luke Fischer (#90) chose Indiana, and then transferred to Marquette after one semester. #4 is the first appearance of a Wisconsin commit, Bronson Koenig (#110). Strangely, Deonte Burton is not mentioned here, but in the New Hampshire section. He played for Brewster Academy for a while, but did play at Milwaukee Vincent for his senior year. In any case: Deonte Burton was at #50 nationally and thus was the true #1 in the state, giving Marquette two of the top three prospects in one class. Wisconsin? None of the top four.

2012: Sadly, our streak of beating Goodman’s source over the head and chest with a blunt object has come to an end, because #1 in the state this year is Sam Dekker, who ranks 12th nationally and who has claimed in the past that Marquette was not particularly interested in him. Hey, it’s his recruiting process, who am I to argue with him about what he remembers? Marquette does land #82 Steve Taylor out of Chicago, and has a loaded roster of great junior players, so you can see where Marquette doesn’t try to pull down a bunch of other guys. Marquette also doesn’t manage to close the deal with #65 nationally JP Tokoto, who goes on to have one hell of a career at North Carolina, but Marquette fans react to this news with an amazing amount of personal restraint relative to some other people that we know.

2011: TIME TO START A NEW STREAK! #1 Paul Jesperson (#112), Virginia. #2 Martin Breunig (#129), Washington. #3 Brandon Mobley (#139), Seton Hall. That’s it for top 300 players in the state. Notice the lack of Badgers here.

2010: #1 Vander Blue (pauses for dramatic effect). #28 nationally, chooses YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles, and everyone acted totally normal about it. Wisconsin grabs #2 Evan Anderson (#139) and #3 Josh Gasser (#197).

Hey, look, the 247 archive just keeps going here.

2009: #1 Jamil Wilson (#50) goes to Oregon before transferring back to Marquette after one year. #2 Jeronne Maymon (#72) commits to Marquette and enrolls before choosing to transfer to Tennessee instead. Jake Thomas (#541) picks South Dakota before transferring to Marquette and has a very nice senior year, statistically speaking. Wisconsin gets no top players from this year, and by “top,” we mean that 247 Sports goes out to at least a top 619 and none of them become Badgers.

2008: #1 Korie Lucious (#78) goes to Michigan State. Kwamain Mitchell (#168) picks Saint Louis. There are nine Wisconsin prospects in the top 1000 in the country, and none of them choose the Badgers. None of them choose Marquette either, but that’s not really the point here, is it?

Finally, we have exhausted the depths of the 247 database. Sure, not all the best players in the state want to play for Marquette, and that’s understandable and totally cool. But outside of Dekker, they certainly don’t want to play at Wisconsin instead of Marquette. In fact, we can actually say this: The best high school prospects in the state of Wisconsin, generally speaking for the last decade, have either decided to attend Marquette, have transferred to Marquette, or have left the state instead of choosing to play at Wisconsin.

Please join me in laughing.

We didn’t even get into the issue of addressing the future of Wisconsin state high school prospects. The full quote says “not a ton of kids in Wisconsin” in it, so we have to address both that which has already happened, and that which is still to come. The Class of 2020 currently has three top 150 prospects hailing from Wisconsin, two of which were in the top 100 and both of those guys attended Marquette Madness this year. The Class of 2021 has two Wisconsin kids in the top five in the country. Look, maybe that qualifies as “not a ton of kids,” so maybe the quote is accurate from that perspective. However, you’re not going to see any Marquette fans crying themselves to sleep at night if any combination of Jalen Johnson, Jamari Sibley, Patrick Baldwin, and Michael Foster end up wearing blue and gold.

At this time, Anonymous Eagle would like to request that the other nine Big East head coaches (obviously this wasn’t a Marquette assistant that said this) to conduct a rigorous internal investigation of their basketball programs. Someone (my guess rhymes with Lave Deitao) or perhaps multiple someones have an assistant that thinks that the best Wisconsin players enroll at Madison. This is wholeheartedly and factually not true, and with that being the case, this assistant is very clearly not doing a good enough job recruiting for whichever team that employs him.

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