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Badgers men's basketball lands forward from Estonia in 2021 recruiting class
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Badgers men's basketball lands forward from Estonia in 2021 recruiting class

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Gard recruit

UW coach Greg Gard landed a fourth player in the 2021 recruiting class: Markus Ilver, a 6-8 forward who is originally from Estonia.

Not only has the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program added to its 2021 recruiting class, it will add some foreign flavor to its roster next season.

Markus Ilver, a 6-foot-8 forward from Estonia, orally committed to the Badgers on Wednesday. Ilver, who plays at Western Reserve Academy in Ohio, also had scholarship offers from Nebraska, Utah, VCU and Xavier and had received interest from Virginia, Washington and others.

Ilver, who will sign a letter of intent in the spring, joins a UW recruiting class that includes three players who signed in November: Chucky Hepburn, a point guard from Nebraska; Chris Hodges, a forward from Illinois; and Matthew Mors, a forward from South Dakota.

While UW got to know those three players during a long process that included campus and in-home visits, it was more of a speed-dating process with Ilver due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Badgers coach Greg Gard and his staff offered Ilver in July and kept in touch with him throughout the fall and winter. They’ve gotten to know him over Zoom calls and Ilver committed without stepping foot on the UW campus.

Ilver, who will turn 19 later this month, played at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia last season before transferring to Western Reserve this season.

Western Reserve coach Pete Hutchins, who was an assistant coach at George Mason and Dartmouth, described Ilver as strong and athletic with a good perimeter shot.

“I told coach Gard this, I told Markus this, I don’t think we could have found a better fit,” Hutchins said. “He’s an incredibly humble, hard-working kid who’s a great teammate that really understands how to play. He understands every position on the floor, can play inside and outside, and will play his role but has the ability to make big plays when necessary. I think he’ll blend in very well and he’s all about the team. With that type of tradition and culture, I think it’s a perfect fit.”

Schedule switch

Two UW games have been rescheduled as part of the Big Ten making adjustments due to games postponed because of the pandemic.

The Badgers will play at Penn State on Jan. 27. The teams were originally scheduled to play Jan. 3, but that game was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Penn State program.

UW was supposed to host Northwestern on Jan. 27, but that game has been moved up to Jan. 20 to make room for the Penn State game.


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