Wisconsin officially added two more pieces to its 2018 recruiting class Wednesday.
3-star point guard Tai Strickland and 3-star center Joe Hedstrom signed their national letters of intent to the Badgers. They join 3-star forward Taylor Currie as part of the three-man class. Strickland and Currie are scholarship players, while Hedstrom will be a walk-on his first year and then be on scholarship the rest of the way.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Strickland chose the Badgers over offers from Rutgers and Minnesota. A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Strickland is ranked as the No. 53 point guard in the country, according to the 247Sports composite. He is the son of former NBA standout Rod Strickland.
Here’s what coach Greg Gard had to say about Strickland in a statement released by the school:
“We are very excited to add Tai to our program. His commitment to hard work, academics, and achievement at the highest level will be a welcome addition to Wisconsin. Tai’s background and pedigree will give him the tools and the foundation to thrive and succeed at all levels at the University of Wisconsin.
“As a transfer student at St. Petersburg High School, Tai had to fit into a program that was already well-established and set to compete for a state title. His ability to blend in smoothly with the already established talent and to continue to finish strong speaks volumes about Tai’s leadership and personality. Those character traits are what make him the perfect fit for our program. He has already bought into the totality of team and trying to figure out what he can do to help Wisconsin. Our staff was blown away by the high regard his coach, teachers and peers had for him at his high school.
“We are very excited about Tai’s future with us. He is just starting to scratch the surface of his basketball ability and the system we have will allow him to realize his full potential as a collegiate point guard.”
The 7-foot Hedstrom is from Hopkins, Minn., and decided to take a walk-on spot his first year at Wisconsin despite holding full offers from Utah and Boise State, among others.
Here’s what Gard said about Hedstrom:
“Joe’s progress as a player has been trending in the right direction since we first saw him several years ago. The improvements in his game, combined with how successful he has been in the classroom and community told us he was a great fit for what we are all about as a program. Joe impressed us with his understanding of the process of how to have success as a Badger.
“His natural size and strength, combined with a hungry attitude to improve, gives him an excellent chance to really develop and excel in our program. We are thrilled to add such a quality student-athlete to our program and look forward to helping him develop to his full potential.”