March 7, 2008

High-profile Chicago guard headed to Wisconsin

Though it's difficult to find holes on the No. 8 team in the country, the Wisconsin Badger basketball team will be in need of some added athleticism on the perimeter once Michael Flowers graduates at the end of this season.

That issue may have been addressed Thursday night when Diamond Taylor, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Westchester (IL) St. Joseph's High School gave a verbal commitment to head coach Bo Ryan.

"Diamond committed last night to Wisconsin," Taylor's father, Kimrossi, told Friday. "I don't think it was a case where he wanted to get it done by his junior or by his senior year. He wanted to wait until after his season was finished and then felt the time was right and it happened last night."

The recruiting efforts, especially that of assistant coach Howard Moore, were influential in landing the four-star prospect.

"Just the sincerity of the coaching staff was something that set Wisconsin apart," Kimrossi said. "Diamond felt like it was a real family atmosphere and that was a major reason why he feels comfortable joining their program."

The No. 67 ranked player is Wisconsin's second verbal commitment in the 2009 class, joining 6-foot-7 combo forward Mike Bruesewitz from Mendota Heights (MN) Sibley.

Taylor, who also considered offers from Marquette, Illinois, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Arizona State, Bradley, Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois, may remind Badger fans of former star Devin Harris, currently playing for the New Jersey Nets.

"I think that's a fair comparison," said Kimrossi, an assistant coach at Bolingbrook High School. "That's a player I know he watches. I think he defends well and can shoot from the outside, so I think that pretty fair."

The Badgers, who were the first team from Big Ten to offer, according to Kimrossi, will try Taylor out a shooting guard when he first gets on campus, though he does have the ability to play both guard spots.

"Diamond can be considered a combo guard because he can handle ball and shoot pretty well," Kimrossi said.

Taylor, who was on hand for the "Night of the Grateful Red" celebration on Oct. 12 and the Badgers' game against UW-Green Bay on Dec. 15, comes from same high school that has recently produced Division I players Evan Turner (Ohio State), Tony Freeman (Iowa) and Demetri McCamey (Illinois) and Jonathan Peoples (Notre Dame).

The Badgers are now expected to have one scholarship remaining in 2009.

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