Brown commits to Wisconsin for 2013

BY foxsports • September 14, 2012

The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team has added its fourth commitment to the Class of 2013.

Vitto Brown, a 6-foot-8 forward from Bowling Green, Ohio, orally committed to the Badgers on Friday, one day after UW coach Bo Ryan and assistant coach Lamont Paris visited Brown.

Von Graffin, Vitto's coach at Bowling Green High School and a native of Stoughton, Wis., described Vitto as a perimeter-oriented big man who fits perfectly into Ryan's system.

"I don't pigeonhole my kids in my games," Graffin said. "He's 6-8. We might win more games if he headed back to the basket, but he's good facing already. We allow him to do that at the high school level. He can pick and roll, pick a defender on the perimeter and step out and shoot the 3, an 18-footer."

Added Brown: "I'm pretty versatile. I like to shoot mostly midrange right now but I can step out and shoot 3s also. I can also go inside since my first two years I was playing in the post all the time. I have a pretty well-balanced game."

Last season as a junior, Brown led his team in points (19.2) and rebounds (11.9). He chose Wisconsin over offers from Kansas State, Nebraska, Iowa State, Minnesota and several Mid-American Conference schools.

Graffin said Vitto was a "great student" who scored a 28 on his ACT. He also improved his game significantly in the past year. He averaged 5.3 points per game as a sophomore while playing behind a senior-laden roster.

"He's got a nice drop step," Graffin said. "He's got a nice little hook. He's good with both hands around the glass. He's gained some weight. When that body fills out and he's 21, 22, he's going to be special."

Brown is the first frontcourt player among Wisconsin's 2013 commits. He joins guard Bronson Koenig (La Crosse Aquinas), wing Riley Dearring (Minnetonka, Minn.) and guard Jordan Hill (Pasadena, Calif.).

Wisconsin will graduate all three of its frontcourt starters -- Mike Bruesewitz, Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren -- following the 2012-13 season. Brown said the potential playing time opened up by their departures appealed to him.

"That was a big factor," said Brown, who has bulked up to 230 pounds. "With the spots open and then also the style that (Ryan) allows his bigs to do with the pick and pop and things like that, all those things were kind of perfect. It's a great time for me to be graduating and coming in."

Graffin said Wisconsin's history of conference titles and NCAA Tournament appearances also served as a major selling point for Brown. The Badgers have played in 14 consecutive NCAA Tournaments. During Ryan's 11 years with the program, Wisconsin has won five Big Ten championships.

"The way Coach Ryan can develop guys, you don't see a whole lot of McDonald's All-American players at Wisconsin," Graffin said. "But I tell you what, when they leave they sure are, aren't they? He makes kids better. Coach Ryan has proved that over again.

"When guys recruited Vitto they said, 'We want to do this.' Bo Ryan says, 'I've done this. I've had success doing what I'm going to do with you.' That makes a big difference when you're recruiting someone and you say, 'I've been there, I've done that. I have Big Ten titles.' "

Brown said he intends to work on his outside shooting and his explosiveness at the rim before coming to Wisconsin. Much of his time practicing jump shots comes on an indoor basketball court at Graffin's house, where Brown wears out the "shooting gun" set up underneath the basket.

It's the type of work ethic that separates Brown from his peers, according to Graffin.

"I have so many kids who do what the coach asks them," Graffin said. "But how many kids do more? Vitto Brown is a kid that does more. He understands that it takes more to be better. That's why he's a special kid."

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