Wisconsin Basketball doing homework on sleeper 2019 prospect

MADISON, WI - FEBRUARY 12: Head coach Greg Gard of the Wisconsin Badgers speaks with D'Mitrik Trice
MADISON, WI - FEBRUARY 12: Head coach Greg Gard of the Wisconsin Badgers speaks with D'Mitrik Trice /

Wisconsin Basketball has identified a new under-the-radar target in the 2019 class.

If you are reading this, you are probably painfully aware of Wisconsin’s struggles on the recruiting trail as of late. Greg Gard and his staff have been looking for a player to pair with Tyler Wahl in the 2019 class and the search has been a conveyor belt of disappointment, with D.J. Carton, E.J. Liddell, Robbie Beran, and Zeke Nnaji all spurning the Badgers, most in a somewhat embarrassing fashion.

As a result, Wisconsin has been kicking the tires on some new options in recent weeks, and Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH) forward Zane Meeks is the latest prospect to hear from the Badgers. Though an offer has not yet been extended, the staff was in to see Meeks last week, according to Andrew Slater of The Athletic. 

Meeks transferred to Brewster from Shawnee Mission East (Prairie Village, KS) for his senior season. Brewster boasts one of the premier prep basketball programs in the nation and always has a roster littered with Division I prospects. For example, Meeks, who remains unranked, has six teammates who are high-major recruits.

Wisconsin has dipped into the Brewster talent pool before, signing current Badger Alex Illikainen in the 2015 class.

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Meeks has flown under the radar for most of his recruitment, and the decision to transfer to Brewster was likely made in order to get him more exposure, as college coaches are obviously frequent visitors to the school. Even though the prep basketball season has not yet begun, it appears as though that move is already paying off for Meeks.

Just within the first couple weeks of October, he has picked up new offers from Belmont, Dartmouth, UMBC, and Columbia to join a list that had only included Air Force, Furman, and UIC before. While most high-major programs are still sleeping on Meeks, that could be changing soon now that Wisconsin has started poking around.

I’ve talked about this dynamic in past pieces of mine. Meeks is far from the only example of an under-the-radar prospect the Wisconsin staff has been among the first (if not the first) high-major programs to identify. The problem is, once other schools learn that the Badgers are involved and catch the scent, Wisconsin often finds itself getting shoved out of the picture. This has especially been the case with this 2019 class.

Based on the staff’s fairly consistent track record of finding hidden gems who have the talent to make an impact at this level, I would say that the odds are fairly high that Meeks will start to blow up soon.

His game is certainly intriguing, especially for a program like Wisconsin.

If you watch his film, it is abundantly clear what Meeks’ strongest attribute is: three-point shooting. The 6’9 sniper is the classic stretch big that thrives in Wisconsin’s offense. Meeks’ has a gorgeous stroke and appears to possess a pretty deep range, as there are several clips of him drilling a shot from well behind the arc.

While shooting is his calling card, that is not all Meeks brings to the table. He runs the court very well for a kid that size and has some decent post ability that the Wisconsin staff would be able to further develop and expand upon. Meeks is also an excellent fit academically with Wisconsin, as he boasts a 1200 SAT score per Slater.

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While I personally would prefer to see Wisconsin bank this second 2019 scholarship to a talented 2020 class that has several promising targets the Badgers have a good chance to land, if there is one thing I trust this staff with, it is talent evaluation. If Gard and company extended an offer to Meeks despite knowing a commitment would limit their options in 2020, that would tell me that they think very highly of his potential, and you would not see me complaining about the move.