A look at the players in Wisconsin’s rotation and how they ended up playing for Bo Ryan:
(star ratings from Rivals.com)
6-2 junior guard • Westerville, Ohio (Westerville South HS)
Role: A shooting guard as a freshman who claimed the point guard job as a sophomore after Josh Gasser was injured, Jackson has 148 assists, more than double anyone else on the team. But the lefty has also been a big-shot taker, and maker, over the past two seasons.
Recruited (⋆⋆⋆): Jackson is the son of Ohio State great Jim Jackson. The Buckeyes never showed serious interest, and Traevon chose Wisconsin over Arizona State and Dayton.
What he said then: “Their loyalty toward me showed they really cared for me. That changed the whole situation.”
6-1 senior guard • Hawthorn Woods, Ill. (Mundelein HS)
Role: Brust became the Badgers’ all-time leader in three-pointers during the NCAA tournament, even though he made only two as a freshman. The Badgers’ second-leading scorer at 12.8 points per game, He can also score off the dribble.
Recruited (⋆⋆⋆): He signed with Iowa as a high school senior but was released when coach Todd Lickliter was fired. Big Ten rules prohibit a player accepting a scholarship from another conference school, but Wisconsin won an appeal.
What he said then: “I’ll do whatever I can to win. I can score a little bit. I can pass a little bit.”
6-4 junior guard • Port Washington, Wis. (Port Washington HS)
Role: A three-year starter typically assigned to defend an opponent’s top perimeter player, Gasser came back after missing last season because of a knee injury and was chosen for his second All-Big Ten defensive team.
Recruited (⋆⋆⋆): A two-time first-team all-state pick, Gasser was initially offered one walk-on year and four scholarship years before getting a regular offer after two players’ departures.
What he said then: “I felt comfortable with the coaches and players and want to play in front of my family and friends.”
7-0 junior center • Lisle, Ill. (Benet Academy HS)
Role: After two seasons averaging of 2.9 points per game and taking mostly three-pointers, Kaminsky became a first-team All-Big Ten pick by showing he can be a dominant post player as well. He leads the team in scoring (14.1 ppg), rebounds (6.4 ppg) and blocked shots (64).
Recruited (⋆⋆⋆): A 6-3 prep freshman who grew to 6-10 as a junior, Kaminsky was confident enough with his ballhandling to fill in at point guard as a senior. He was one of four Chicago-area players recruited by former Badgers assistant Howard Moore.
What he said then: “I’ve worked on every skill since I was a little kid. … I like to be able to do everything. I take pride in it.”
6-8 sophomore forward • Sheboygan, Wis. (Sheboygan Lutheran HS)
Role: With the graduation of last year’s frontcourt trio, Dekker and Frank Kaminsky moved into starting roles, with Dekker their third-leading scorer (12.4 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (6.1). He is a capable outside shooter but is most effective slashing to the basket.
Recruited (⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆): Dekker accepted a scholarship offer at Ryan’s camp the summer after his sophomore year. By the time he was a senior, he was a Parade All-America regarded as one of the top 25 players in the country.
What he said then: “It’s where I grew up, dreamed about playing, and it’s got everything I need. And they win.”
6-7 freshman forward • Toledo, Ohio (Toledo Whitmer HS)
Role: The Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year averaged 9.8 points per game in conference play, scoring by driving past defenders or by shooting midrange jumpers. He can also get to the line, although he is Wisconsin’s worst free-throw shooter.
Recruited (⋆⋆⋆): Hayes took an official visit to the Gophers campus and Tubby Smith, but he eventually chose Wisconsin over Ohio State, where his brother played football.
What he said then: “Wisconsin was just a great college town and it seemed like it would be a great place to go to school.”
6-3 freshman guard • La Crosse, Wis. (La Crosse Aquinas HS)
Role: The other freshman to see significant playing time and another gifted outside shooter, Koenig saw his value increase when sophomore guard George Marshall decided to transfer in December.
Recruited (⋆⋆⋆⋆): Like Dekker, Koenig was a highly touted in-state player, but unlike Dekker he was heavily recruited nationally. Koenig passed on offers from North Carolina, Duke and Kansas to stay home.
What he said then: “That was probably one of the toughest things I’ve had to do. It’s hard to turn down your dream school, which for me is North Carolina.”
6-9 junior forward • Deerfield, Ill. (Deerfield HS)
Role: After battling mono and redshirting in 2012-13, Dukan returned this season as another post player that can shoot from long range. Born in Croatia and the son of a Chicago Bulls executive, he has played 20 minutes only twice this season.
Recruited (⋆⋆⋆): Another Chicago-area player, he landed a scholarship offer after Madison prep standout Vander Blue reneged on Wisconsin to go to rival Marquette.
What he said then: “It definitely was a blessing to be around some of the best teams to play the game and see what they did, in their off time, how they worked.”
Compiled by KEN CHIA