By JIM RUTLEDGE
Sam Dekker is not just making an impression on local media and fans, he’s also impressing national coaches and media.
Andy Katz, ESPN
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan had a chance to work out newcomer Sam Dekker and is quick to praise his potential; something Ryan rarely does with incoming freshmen. Dekker, who was limited due to a foot injury when playing for the gold medal U18 USA team in Brazil last month, drew some comparisons to former Badger and NBA guard Devin Harris and UW all-American Alando Tucker. Ryan said Dekker can pull off unorthodox moves that can make you say “wow” like Harris and Tucker. The coach went to say he’s strong enough to hold his own against the older, more experienced players on the Badgers. Dekker will need to be an impact player for Wisconsin with the departure of Jordan Taylor, even though Ryan will not publicly admit that yet. Wisconsin doesn't like to put too much pressure on incoming freshmen but it's obvious Dekker will be a player.
Billy Donovan, Florida
Sam Dekker, 6-7, SF, Wisconsin (5 ppg, 2.5 rpg): "He was hurt, ended up spraining his ankle, and then someone stepped on his toe and that had to be drained. He was never quite healthy. But he's a warrior. He loves to play. He wants to win. I think he's a really good player. He takes some crazy shots. I just wish I could have coached him. He's going to be terrific.
–Billy Donovan from Andy Katz’ blog
Mike DeCoursy, Sporting News
As ESPN analyst Dave Telep said, there is a toughness about him that is uncommon among prospects who generally are presented with every available honor and accolade as their careers developed.
Telep is on the staff at the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp, and Dekker showed up last summer with a rib injury that made it a chore even to lift his arms above his head to fire a jumpshot. Camp trainers told the staff that Dekker would have been justified to sit out all drills and competition.
"Not only did he not miss a game, he didn’t miss a practice session with his team or an individual workout session that was optional,” Telep said. “I think there’s a legitimate reason to think down the road Sam Dekker is a Big Ten player of the year candidate. In many ways, he’s as close to perfect as you could be from a coachability standpoint.”
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