Wisconsin Basketball: Badgers doing homework on sleeper 2019 forward

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Wisconsin Basketball has one more scholarship to use in the class of 2019, and the staff has been looking into Chicago forward Antonio Reeves as an option.

Greg Gard and his staff are leaving no stone unturned as the 2019 recruiting cycle enters its final stages.

At the moment, Wisconsin has just one player in its class in 3-star forward Tyler Wahl (Lakeville, MN), who put pen to paper and officially signed with the Badgers back in November. The staff does have another scholarship to play with, but it seems likely that they will instead opt to carry it over to the class of 2020, as Wisconsin already has one commitment from 3-star point guard Lorne Bowman (Detroit, MI) and remains in the thick of things for prospects such as 3-star guard Johnny Davis (La Crosse, WI), 4-star forward Ben Carlson (Saint Paul, MN), and, of course, 5-star forward Jalen Johnson (Milwaukee, WI).

Nonetheless, Gard and company remain open to adding a second player in the 2019 class if the right fit comes along, and will continue to do their homework on sleeper prospects who are having big senior seasons but are still hunting for higher-profile offers.

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One such recruit that the Badgers have been watching closely is forward Antonio Reeves out of Simeon Career Academy in Chicago. The 6’5 prospect was on campus earlier this week to take in Wisconsin’s victory over Illinois, his second visit to Madison after a previous trip in September, and the staff has watched him play in person on multiple occasions.

Reeves is currently unranked by the recruiting services. He has offers from Chicago State, Detroit Mercy, Northern Arizona, Northern Illinois, Saint Louis, and UW-Milwaukee, and, in addition to Wisconsin, he is receiving late interest from Georgetown and Illinois.

While I would still like to see the Badgers bank that second 2019 scholarship to 2020 at this time, I can see why the coaching staff is intrigued by Reeves. The 6’5 forward has solid positional height and length and an exciting offensive package that includes a nice jumper and slashing ability to make plays for himself and others. That being said, Reeves is rail-thin at just 160 pounds and would probably need a couple of years of physical development before being ready to provide solid minutes on both sides of the court in the Big Ten.

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While it is true that the Wisconsin coaching staff is among the best in the nation at developing raw prospects, with the number of talented players in play for the Badgers in the class of 2020, it’s just hard for me to envision them limiting their options in that group by filling one of those scholarship vacancies with a project player in 2019. As a result, I think Reeves will probably wind up elsewhere, but this situation will still certainly justify continued monitoring over the coming weeks.