When Bo Ryan took over the Badgers he was immediately successful despite having undersized teams. Bo was faced with playing a big goon (Jason Chappell, Dave Mader, Andreas Helmigk) or an undersized forward at center like Mike Wilkinson. While those early teams were successfull, they were over matched against teams with size. In the NCAA tourney, players like Marquis Estill (Kentucky), Chris Wilcox (Maryland) and Sean May (UNC) just destroyed UW. To be fair, those were great college players and they destroyed a lot of teams.
After those first few years it seemed Bo decided that in order to compete for a national championship he needed size and started recruiting size for size sake. Bo was lucky to have talented in state Bigs Brian Butch and Greg Stiemsma commit to UW in the early years. Those teams with Butch and Stiemsma playing center are arguably his best teams. Not only did they have legit defense and scoring at the 5, but players like Alando Tucker were allowed to play their natural position (small forward), instead of having to bang inside at the 4.
Butch and Stiemsma were the right guys at the right time. It's hard for a school like UW to bring in talented bigs from out of state. Bo kept giving scholarships to bigs. Some worked out, and some did not. JP Gavinski, and Ian Markoff never developed. I still have hope for Evan Anderson, but he may end up in that category as well. Bo also had success with players like Leuer, Nankvil, and Berggren.
From about Bo's 4th year until last year he used most of his scholarships on bigs. He usually had only 4 true guards on scholarship each year until last year. Last year there was Jordan Taylor, Rob Wilson, Gasser, Brust, Jackson and Marshall-6. The 2012-2013 team will be back down to 4, so was this an anomaly or the beginning of a new trend?
Based on the recruiting commitments for 2013, I am guessing trend. So far Bo has 3 guards committed for 2013- Koenig, Hill, and Dearring. This will mean that in 2013-14 UW will have 7 scholarship guards (if no one transfers). More than that, 4 of the 7 will be underclassmen.
The remaining 2 recruits for 2013 may be telling. If Bo lands 2 wings this team could be headed in another direction. Sam Decker is the only recruit for 2012, so no bigs for 2 recruiting cycles may signify a change. Are the Badgers headed for a 3 guard starting lineup as the norm?
Perhaps I am making something out of nothing here. UW has Berggren, and Kaminsky looks like he may be a great Badger for the next 3 years. Evan Anderson still has 3 years of eligibility to develop. Maybe Bo just isn't worried about his bigs. Just seems like a lot of guards coming in.