Athletic Class of 2012 May be Best Recruiting Class in UW History


MADISON, Wis. — Head men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan announced Thursday that high school seniors Vitto Brown, Riley Dearing, Nigel Hayes, Jordan Hill and Bronson Koenig have all signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Wisconsin and play basketball for the Badgers beginning in the fall of 2013.

VITTO BROWN (6-8, 240, Forward, Bowling Green High School, Bowling Green, Ohio) An honorable mention all-state pick as a junior, Vitto Brown averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game last season at Bowling Green High School.

Bo Ryan on Brown: “Vitto brings immediate size and physicality to our future front lines. He’s got a college-ready body plus a 7-foot-2 wingspan and can cover a lot of ground in a short time. He really played well at our team camp this past summer and has improved immensely over the past 18 months.

“Vitto showed the ability to block shots, handle the ball in transition and knock down 3’s from the perimeter in addition to the game he’s been able to build in the paint. He’ll be able to play both the 4 and the 5 positions and has a chance to be a real force on the interior for us in the future. He’s a great student, comes from a superb family and will be a treat to coach as a Badger.”

RILEY DEARRING (6-5, 180, Guard, Minnetonka High School, Minnetonka, Minn.) Riley Dearring earned All-Lake Conference honors last season as a junior after averaging 15 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game for Minnetonka High School. Dearring, who is approaching the 1,000-career points plateau, is a four-year varsity player for the Skippers.

Bo Ryan on Dearring: “Riley is a long, skilled, athletic wing who can play multiple perimeter positions. He has deep range with a quick and smooth release. Scoring has always come naturally for Riley. His high school team was at our team camp in June and Riley put on a show several times. He showed the immense potential we think he has.

“He’s a very unselfish individual who understands how important the classroom is and has worked very hard to make himself a very good student and player. His father was an excellent player in his own right, so Riley has had excellent mentoring and teaching from him along with the coaches he’s played for. We’re excited to see what the future will hold for him. I know Riley is eager to have a great senior year at Minnetonka before coming to campus next summer.”

NIGEL HAYES (6-7, 230, Forward, Whitmer High School, Toledo, Ohio) A three-time MVP for Whitmer High School in Toledo, Ohio, Nigel Hayes averaged 14 points and 9.0 rebounds per game as a junior and is already the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots. A first-team Northwest District selection and second-team all-state honoree, Hayes was named to the 2012 OHSSA Division I State Tournament Team.

Bo Ryan on Hayes: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have Nigel and his family joining our program. Nigel has worked very hard to make himself into a very good player. He’s got the ability to play both forward positions and has the college-ready physique and wingspan to be a big contributor in the future.

“He’s got a great nose for the ball, can rebound out of his area and has worked really hard to make himself a perimeter threat. Nigel’s an outstanding student who ranks in the top 2 percent of his graduating class at Whitmer. He’s been coached really well and understands a lot of the nuances of the game that will really help him at this level. Nigel’s potential is sky-high and I know our coaching staff is eager to help him develop into the player we think he can be.

“His family has been a treat to get to know over the past few months and our staff is extremely proud to welcome Nigel and his family to the Badger program.”

JORDAN HILL (6-3, 175, Guard, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H.) Jordan Hill earned first-team all-Del Rey League honors as a senior at LaSalle High School in Pasadena, Calif., after posting per game averages of 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 steals. A second-team All-California Interscholastic Federation honoree, Hill graduated in May from LaSalle and is attending Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H. for the 2012-13 school year.

Bo Ryan on Hill: “Jordan really caught our attention this summer. He’s an extremely sharp young man who just keeps getting better and better. He’s watched a lot over the past few years as Jordan Taylor was his favorite college player. We have won a lot of games over the years with student-athletes who were hungry and had a special drive to be the best they could on and off the court. Jordan reminds our staff of those with the same qualities.

“His length, quickness and demeanor can help him become an exceptional defender in time. He comes from a fantastic family and is an outstanding student who is spending a post-grad year at one of the top academic prep schools in the nation. He’s very young for his grade so we believe his ceiling is still very high. Our staff is extremely excited to watch Jordan grow and develop during his time at Wisconsin.”

BRONSON KOENIG (6-3, 180, Guard, Aquinas High School, La Crosse, Wis.) La Crosse, Wis., native Bronson Koenig is looking for a strong senior season after missing the majority of his junior year with an injury. Despite missing several games, Koenig averaged 18 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season. Koenig’s breakout season came as a sophomore when he earned first-team All-State accolades after leading La Crosse Aquinas to the 2010 Division III State Championship. The co-conference Player of the Year that season, Koenig racked up 17.0 points and 3.0 assists per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field.

Bo Ryan on Koenig: “Bronson has developed himself into a terrific player and great young man on and off the court. We first saw him as a freshman at our Advanced Instruction Camp and knew at that point he had a chance to be a very good player. He’s played in a very successful high school program and knows what success is all about.

“Bronson has exceptional court vision, great feel for the game and has the ability to take over a game or make plays for his teammates. He also wants to be really good and play for championships. All the best guards we’ve had through the years have had that internal drive and motor to be the best and Bronson definitely has those traits.

“He’s worked extremely hard to put himself into position to have a lot of options nationally on where to go to school. We’re elated that he’s chosen to stay home and play for the Badgers. I know our fans will really enjoy watching him grow, develop and help lead our teams in the future.”

— Courtesy of UW Basketball Media Relations —

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