Jalen Riley is taking his basketball talents to college basketball’s highest level.
Riley, the former Case High School standout, has signed a national letter of intent with East Tennessee State, an NCAA Division I school.
The 6-foot-1 Riley began his collegiate career at the College of Lake County before moving on to Sauk Valley Community College, where he earned National Junior College Athletic Association All-American honors after averaging 19.3 points and 3.4 rebounds this season.
Riley, who also considered Ball State and Northern Illinois, among others, is expected to make an immediate impact for the Buccaneers.
“We’re really excited about getting Jalen,” said East Tennessee State coach Murry Bartow, the son of former UCLA coach Gene Bartow. “Jalen has some versatility to his game. He can score and he can do it from either guard spot.”
Bartow, in a telephone interview Monday, said he envisions Riley making an immediate impact.
“We don’t make any promises or guarantees (to a recruit), but we never recruit a junior college player unless we think he can come in and play and be part of the rotation,” Bartow said. “We’re looking forward to Jalen helping us a lot.”
Change for the better
The University of Wisconsin not only has a new football coaching staff, it has a new defensive system.
And that could bode well for Marcus Trotter and Michael Trotter of Racine.
The Trotter brothers had seen limited action under former Badger coach Bret Bielema, but could see extended playing time this fall under new coach Gary Andersen.
While Bielema’s staff normally deployed a 4-3 defense, Andersen’s defensive coordinator Dave Aranda intends to use a 3-4 defense, meaning one less lineman and one more linebacker.
Marcus started at an inside linebacker spot during the Badgers’ recent spring Game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison and turned in an eye-popping performance.
The 6-foot, 236-pound Trotter had seven tackles, tying defensive back Joe Schobert for team-high honors.
“It’s a new defense with a lot of new schemes,” Marcus Trotter said. “It’s a fun defense to play.
“I thought I did well, but there are things I need to improve on. I just got to keep working hard and seize the opportunity.”
Michael, a strong safety, also acquitted himself well during spring practices. He started the spring game and finished with three tackles.
“I thought he did really well,” Marcus said of his brother. “He’s getting more and more comfortable. He’s going to be more than fine; he’s going to play.”
Bucks looking for right man
The last time the Milwaukee Bucks embarked on a head coaching search, they identified the right guy in Rick Carlisle.
But Carlisle put the Bucks on hold as he wanted to explore his options. He eventually signed with Dallas and guided the Mavericks and Racine native Caron Butler to the 2011 NBA title.
After failing to land Carlisle, the Bucks settled for Scott Skiles and that obviously didn’t work out. Hence, the current coaching search.
Fortunately for the Bucks, there is a deep and quality pool of candidates available, including former Bucks assistant and current Houston Rockets associate head coach Kelvin Sampson, former Miami and Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy, former Portland and Seattle coach Nate McMillan and, last but definitely not least, Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan who, at 71, is interested in returning to the sidelines.
My suggestion to the Bucks brass is that the next time any of their players decide to exchange unpleasantries, they bring in Drew Gooden and Darington Hobson as judges.
UW’s Ryan steps up
Bo Ryan’s achievements as Wisconsin’s basketball coach are impressive.
His off-the-court contributions in fighting cancer may be moreso.
Ryan, along with several of his former players and coaches — including UW-Parkside’s Luke Reigel — and the Wisconsin chapter of Coaches vs. Cancer helped raised $693,000 during a gala fund-raiser Saturday in Madison.
Last year, Ryan & Co. raised $456,000. Typical of Ryan, he’s already setting his sights on topping that mark.
“We set a record last year with $456,000 and we were hoping to break that, but this was beyond our expectations,’’ Ryan said. “I’m always thinking about ‘next’ and this sets the bar pretty high for next year. But I think we can break it.”
Former Marquette University shooting guard Vander Blue will participate in this week’s NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago. Blue is generally regarded as a mid-to-late second-round pick in the June 26 draft. … Wisconsin center Jared Berggren was snubbed for the pre-draft camp but will get an opportunity to display his talents in a showcase event in Brooklyn next week. … The old adage that pitching always trumps hitting certainly applies to the Milwaukee Brewers. They have the National League’s third-best batting average at .263 … and the NL’s worst earned run average at 4.70.
Gery Woelfel is a sports reporter for The Journal Times. Gery can be reached by calling (262) 631-1713 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org