Wisconsin aims to snap All-American streak

broberts@herald-leader.comApril 3, 2014 

It's been 12 years since a college basketball team won an NCAA championship without a McDonald's All-American on its roster.

That squad — Maryland in 2002 — had several top-100 recruits, but none who played in high school basketball's biggest postseason showcase.

Wisconsin will try to end that streak over the next few days in Texas.

The Badgers have zero McDonald's All-Americans. Saturday's opponent — the Kentucky Wildcats — have seven such players.

Three of the past five NCAA champions have had at least six McDonald's All-Americans, including UK's squad in 2012. Of the past 10 champions, only the Florida Gators of 2006 and 2007 didn't have multiple All-Americans (Corey Brewer was the only selection on those teams).

Here's a look at where the eight players who make up Wisconsin's normal rotation were ranked coming out of high school:

Frank Kaminsky, 7-0 junior forward: Wisconsin's leading scorer was considered a four-star prospect in the class of 2011 by ESPN, but he was not ranked among the country's top 100 recruits that year. He was a first-team all-state selection out of Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill. Kaminsky's other notable scholarship offers included DePaul and Northwestern. Rivals.com and Scout.com ranked him as a three-star prospect.

Ben Brust, 6-1 senior guard: He topped 40 points in a game four different times during his senior season, but Brust was considered only a three-star prospect in the class of 2010 by Rivals, Scout and ESPN. The Mundelein (Ill.) High School star also had offers from Minnesota, Iowa, Southern Cal, Butler, Oregon and several others. Scout.com ranked him the highest — No. 41 shooting guard in the class.

Sam Dekker, 6-7 sophomore forward: Easily the most highly touted recruit on the Badgers' roster, Dekker was considered a five-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and ESPN. All of those recruiting services ranked him among the top 20 players in the class of 2012, but he was not invited to the McDonald's All-American Game. Dekker — a Sheboygan, Wis., native — committed to the Badgers prior to his junior season and before he could accumulate many offers. He scored 2,629 points in high school, the fourth-highest total in state history.

Traevon Jackson, 6-2 junior guard: The Badgers' starting point guard was considered a three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout, and a two-star player by ESPN in 2011. Jackson — the son of former Ohio State great Jimmy Jackson — starred for Westerville South High School in Ohio, but he wasn't recruited much outside of the state. Arizona State was the only other school from a major conference to offer him a scholarship.

Josh Gasser, 6-3 junior guard: The Port Washington, Wis., native was considered a three-star prospect by all of the major recruiting services. He was the state's Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior in 2010 and also had offers from Maryland, Butler, Creighton, Arizona State and a few others. Scout.com pegged him as the No. 44 overall point guard in the class, which was his highest ranking.

Nigel Hayes, 6-7 freshman forward: ESPN ranked the Toledo, Ohio, star as the No. 83 overall prospect in the class of 2013. Hayes was considered a four-star prospect by that recruiting service, and a three-star player by Rivals.com and Scout.com. His other big scholarship offers included Ohio State, Stanford, Minnesota and Butler.

Bronson Koenig, 6-3 freshman guard: Koenig has the most impressive list of discarded scholarship offers of any of the players on Wisconsin's roster. He had already earned offers from Duke, Kansas, North Carolina and Virginia before committing to the home-state Badgers prior to his junior season. The La Crosse native was ranked as the No. 73 overall prospect in the class of 2013 by Rivals.com. He was also the Wisconsin player of the year as a senior.

Duje Dukan, 6-9 junior forward: Dukan was born in Croatia but moved to the United States when he was 10 months old. He blossomed into a star in Deerfield, Ill., and was ranked as a three-star prospect in the class of 2010 by all of the major recruiting services. Scout.com rated him highest — the No. 32 small forward in the class. Other notable offers included Arizona State, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon State and George Washington.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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