#2 – Ben Carlson
Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
Rankings: 4-star (No. 11 PF, No. 76 overall)
Other offers: Stanford, Minnesota, Xavier, Colorado, Creighton, Davidson, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, and Wake Forest
Carlson has long been coveted by the Wisconsin staff, and there has been a relationship between the two parties dating back to well before the Badgers offered in June of last year. Aside from Jalen Johnson (now committed to Duke), he has been their top frontcourt target for most of the recruiting cycle. While Wisconsin is still heavily pursuing him and will likely continue to do so until he makes his decision, Carlson does appear to be slipping away from the Badgers at the moment.
Despite the fact that Carlson’s versatile, inside-out skill set fits the program to a T, and that Wisconsin has a well-known history of helping somewhat raw but talented big men like him develop into stars, this recruitment has been trending away from Bucky. As of now, the two heavy favorites appear to be Stanford and Xavier, while you could probably consider Minnesota a distant third. The Badgers have been putting the fullcourt press on with Carlson for awhile now, but unfortunately, the interest just does not appear to be reciprocal for whatever reason.
Nonetheless, as mentioned, Wisconsin is going to continue going hard at Carlson and try to sway him. An athletic 6’9 big with a solid, projectable frame that would help him to hold his own down low on both sides of the court in the Big Ten who also possesses the ability to shoot it from outside and attack the basket off the bounce, there’s no doubt he’s a tremendous program fit. That being said, I think the staff recognizes that Carlson is a long shot at this point, and that’s why he’s probably been supplanted by the next player on this list as their top remaining target.