With so much uncertainty surrounding the University of Wisconsin Athletics program and its struggle with COVID-19, today brought a sense of normalcy to UW’s men’s basketball team and their fans.

What I am referring to is college basketball’s National Signing Day, a day that brings hope not only for teams but for hundreds of male and female student-athletes across the country. Signing day can give a university and the players hope and set lofty expectations for the future.

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This year, Wisconsin brought a talented batch of signees who penned their names to play for the Badgers next year. While the Badgers’ 2021 class isn’t full of household names, these three players — consisting of Chucky Hepburn, Matthew Mors and Chris Hodges — are a tremendous fit for Wisconsin’s program.

Once again, Badgers Head Coach Greg Gard and his staff made the Midwest a priority as all three players in the class hail from that region. In fact, all five players from the Badgers’ 2020 recruiting class were from the Midwest as well.

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Leading off the 2021 signees is Hepburn, a point guard from Bellevue, Nebraska who is ranked second in his home state. A strong and aggressive point guard, the 2019-20 Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year chose the Badgers over Creighton, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Joining Hepburn is Hodges, a 6-foot-8-inch power forward from Schaumburg, Illinois. Hodges is the No. 5 player in the state of Illinois and has earned two all-state selections during his high school career. Along with this, Hodges’ game is the definition of Wisconsin basketball with his strong motor and tenacious rebounding.

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Rounding out the class is Mors, a strong power forward from Yankton, South Dakota. Mors is the top-ranked player in South Dakota and won the 2019-20 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state. Mors chose the Badgers over Iowa and Creighton.

With years of impressive talent from the Midwest, including names like Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky, this class will add to an already talented team and a program that has made the NCAA Tournament in 18 of the last 19 seasons.