After Wisconsin's final tune-up before the non-conference season begins on Sunday for the Badgers,…
Part Two: Inside the Playground Warriors
MADISON - Under the guidance of executive director Ritchie Davis, The Wisconsin Playground Warriors, Ltd. have become one of the premier boys AAU basketball programs in the Midwest. The Playground Warriors compete in tournaments throughout the country and are currently the only REEBOK sponsored AAU program in Wisconsin. The Playground Warriors boast an impressive alumni list that includes Travis Diener, Carl Landry, Brian Butch, Marcus Landry, Jerry Smith, Cole Aldrich, Jamil Wilson and current Badgers Trevon Hughes, J.P. Gavinski, Tim Jarmusz and Keaton Nankivil. The future continues to look bright for the Playground Warriors as they currently have a number of Division 1 players in the program, including current 2010 center and Badger verbal commit Evan Anderson. Davis shed light on the inner workings of his AAU program and discussed a number of his top players in an interview with Badger Nation. The first part of the interview details the ins and outs of The Wisconsin Playground Warrior program, while the second part will emphasis individual players within the Warriors organization and topics concerning the Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball team. Click Here to Read Part One Part Two Badger Nation: Who are the five players receiving the most recruiting attention from D1 programs within the Warriors' organization? Ritchie Davis: We currently have four seniors within our program that are already committed to NCAA Division I schools. Evan Anderson (6-11, C, Eau Claire North) will be attending Wisconsin. Noah Cottrill (6-2, Combo Guard, Mountain State Academy) will be attending West Virginia. Kameron Cerroni (6-2, SG, Sussex Hamilton) will be attending Wisconsin-Green Bay and T.J. Bray (6-4, G, Waukesha Catholic Memorial) will be attending Princeton University. Dakotah Euton (6-8, F, Scott County) and Ben Mills (7-1, F, Hartland Arrowhead) each have multiple NCAA Division I scholarship offers currently and will more than likely make their decisions sometime this fall. In the class of 2011, Trevor Jorgenson has a scholarship offer from Wisconsin-Milwaukee and several other players have begun to generate some positive interest after strong showings in the July evaluation period. Our 2012 class is headlined by Jean-Pierre Tokoto (6-5, Wing, Menomonee Falls). JP's recruitment at such a young age is unlike anything I have ever seen before in this state. J.P. currently has scholarship offers from Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Marquette, Minnesota, Tennessee, Duke and Wisconsin. I believe he will have many additional offers before the high school season starts in November. Wally Ellenson (6-, WG, Eau Claire Memorial) has offers from St. Louis, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Wally is also getting significant interest from Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Northern Iowa and Wisconsin. Nick Arenz (6-8, F, Onalaska) has an offer from Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Nick is also hearing from Drake, Loyola-Chicago, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa and Wisconsin-Green Bay after playing so well this past July. Jamar Morris (6-5, W, Madison Memorial), Brett Vandenbergh (6-5, W, De Pere) and Nic Stokes (5-11, PG, Milwaukee Rufus King) are also hearing from several NCAA Division I schools and will be making unofficial visits this fall to select places. Note: Davis mentioned that he is extremely excited about his players in the 2012 class and that he feels they may develop into one of the strongest squads he has put together. Badger Nation: What is your relationship with the Wisconsin Badgers coaching staff? Ritchie Davis: My relationship with the University of Wisconsin men's basketball staff is a professional one. They recruit some of our players and I try to make sure that both sides have current and accurate information. My relationship with Coach Ryan and his staff is very good and I'd like to say the same thing about my relationship with Coach (Rob) Jeter, Coach (Tod) Kowalczyk, Coach (Luke) Reigel and Coach Buzz Williams and their respective staffs. Badger Nation: Who within the Warriors' program other than Evan Anderson is receiving recruiting interest from the Badgers? Ritchie Davis: The only other players from the state of Wisconsin to currently have a scholarship offer from Coach Ryan and the Badgers other than Evan Anderson are Vander Blue (6-4, CG, Madison Memorial), Josh Gasser (6-3, PG, Port Washington) and Jean-Pierre Tokoto (6-5, WG, Menomonee Falls). The UW staff is also taking some time to get to know and evaluate several of 2012 players that I mentioned earlier as well as Austin Mecca (2013, 6-7, F, Manitowoc Lincoln). I do not believe that most people living in our state understand just how talented and special a young man has to be in order for schools like Wisconsin and Marquette to show a genuine interest. Badger Nation: How is your program specifically working with Evan Anderson to make him a better player? Ritchie Davis: Let me begin by saying that we have had the privilege of having Evan in our program for five or six years now. We have spent the majority of this season working on his footwork, passing skills, ability to handle the basketball some away from the basket and his perimeter jump-shot outside of 15 feet. Evan is extremely committed to the Wisconsin program and is a very coachable kid. He will be very successful at Wisconsin simply because he chooses to be and not because of what fans and others want him to be. The Wisconsin Playground Warriors, Ltd.
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