November 9, 2011

Dekker makes it official

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan signed just one player Wednesday, but it was a big one in five-star Sam Dekker.

Ryan was able to officially comment on the 6-foot-8, 215-pound in-state forward for the first time after Dekker signed his letter of intent this morning.

"We're obviously very excited to have Sam join our program. He brings the entire package to Wisconsin," Ryan said in a release. "Sam possesses all of the first-class intangibles that you want in someone representing your program on the court, in the classroom and in the community."

The 18th-ranked player in the nation according to Rivals.com, Dekker committed to the Badgers in the summer of 2010, just days after earning an offer at UW's advanced camp.

"Given the fact that he could have gone just about anywhere he wanted, but decided that he wanted to pursue his dream of being a Wisconsin Badger, is extremely special and a testament to what the players here before him have accomplished," Ryan said. "His decision also speaks volumes to how this program, along with the success and development of the players within it, is now viewed from a national perspective.

"Sam's a first-class young man, with parents, in Todd, who's also his high school coach, and Carol that have done a fantastic job of setting high expectations for him and holding him accountable at an early age. It definitely paid off for him both on and off the court. Badger fans should be excited to watch Sam grow and develop during his career in Madison. I know he's ready to have a great senior year at Lutheran and then will be ready take the next step here with his future team."

An AP second-team All-State pick as a junior, Dekker averaged 28.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4 assists last season. He also shot up the 2012 class rankings this summer while playing with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors, a talented squad that also includes J.P. Tokoto (North Carolina) and junior Bronson Koenig, who is committed to Wisconsin.

"He has been a very active leader in his school, an honor roll student, a National Honor Society member, volunteers for Special Olympics and has served various leadership roles in his church and community," Ryan said. "He's truly a great young man.

"From a basketball perspective, his length and skill set will allow him to play different positions and as he develops and adds strength to his frame, he will be a great fit within our system. He's got a great knowledge base of the game. He can handle the ball like a guard with excellent court vision and passing ability and a perimeter shooting game that has rapidly improved.

"Our staff is really excited about what the future could hold as Sam continues to grow and develop. His maturation and development have exploded since last season which made him the talk of the country this past July during the national AAU events. With extreme hard work and dedication, Sam has made himself into truly one of the elite players in the country in his class over the past 18 months."

Though Dekker is the lone scholarship member to sign with Wisconsin today, the staff is expected to add in-state guard [db]Zak Showalter[/db] as a walk-on for next season.





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