The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program had gone nearly seven months without securing a commitment from a high school recruit. Two full recruiting cycles had passed without the Badgers landing an in-state prospect, including some high-profile swing-and-misses.
Both of those slumps ended Saturday night when Johnny and Jordan Davis, sibling standouts from La Crosse Central High School, orally committed to UW coach Greg Gard while in town for the Badgers’ team camp.
The Davis brothers, who will be seniors in the fall, join Lorne Bowman in UW’s 2020 recruiting class. Bowman, a point guard out of the Detroit area, committed to the Badgers last November.
“It’s home for us, and everyone in the community and people we know wanted us to go there,” Jordan Davis told the La Crosse Tribune. “We liked it, too and that’s why we made the decision.
“What better choice, what better option do we have? We know we will have support throughout the whole community and whole state.”
Johnny Davis, a 6-foot-5 wing, had long been a priority in the 2020 class for the Badgers. He averaged 23 points and 9.3 rebounds last season as a junior, earning first-team all-state honors while helping Central reach the WIAA Division 2 state semifinals.
He chose UW over scholarship offers from Marquette, Iowa, Minnesota and West Virginia, among others.
Jordan Davis, a 6-5 wing who averaged 12.3 points and 4.7 rebounds as a junior, is also a talented wide receiver who was considering playing football at the next level. He didn’t have any scholarship offers from major programs until Gard delivered one earlier this month.
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The brothers expressed a desire during the recruiting process to play together at the next level. That became a more realistic option when the Badgers’ offer rolled in for Jordan.
“There was a lot of stress the last two weeks after the (scholarship) offer was made to Jordan,” Johnny told the La Crosse Tribune. “We didn’t want to give up an opportunity to play in our home state and play basketball with each other, so we made the decision.”
At UW, the Davis brothers will reunite with Kobe King, another La Crosse Central product. King, who will be a third-year sophomore wing for the Badgers in 2019-20, was the most recent in-state player to commit to UW as a member of its 2017 class.
The following cycle, the Badgers missed out on Whitnall guard Tyler Herro and Stevens Point forward Joey Hauser. Herro was committed to UW before changing his mind and choosing Kentucky; Hauser joined his older brother Sam at Marquette.
The Badgers had another shot at the Hausers after the brothers decided to transfer from Marquette following the 2018-19 season. But rather than choosing to play together at UW, Sam announced last month that he was headed to Virginia and Joey decided to play at Michigan State.
It was yet another piece of bad news on the recruiting front for the Badgers. But the Davis brothers put smiles on the faces of Gard and assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft when they strolled into the basketball offices at the Kohl Center and delivered some positive news.
“They,” Jordan told the La Crosse Tribune, “were really jacked up.”