Ben Brust, a high school senior from Mundelein, Illinois, committed last week to play basketball for the Wisconsin Badgers.
The 6'2" high-scoring guard had initially signed a letter of intent with Iowa before then-coach Todd Lickliter was fired, and won an appeal last month that allowed him to accept a scholarship from a different Big Ten program.
Brust recently took a few minutes to tell Bleacher Report writer Tim Cary about his recruitment and re-recruitment, his impressions of Wisconsin, and his thoughts on Big Ten basketball as a whole.
TC: Was Wisconsin on your radar at all as an option before you initially signed the letter of intent with Iowa (runner-up, finalist, not in the picture, etc.)?
BB: Yes, they were on my radar, but during my recruitment period, the position was already filled by a recruit who ultimately de-committed.
TC: How and when did you first hear that Iowa was going to fire Coach Lickliter? What was your reaction?
BB: I heard about it during the Big Ten Tournament, that there was a possibility that he'd be fired. I was disappointed over the circumstance. I wish he could have stayed, but it was out of my control.
TC: Which school would you say pursued you hardest during the re-recruitment process? Iowa? Wisconsin? A different program?
BB: All of the schools that were recruiting me during this process were very similar. No program was more than the other. It was a steady flow of communication with many programs.
TC: Many of the schools that emerged as serious possibilities in the past few months were Big Ten institutions; what about the Big Ten most appeals to you?
BB: I've grown up in the heart of the Big Ten, and the academics and athletics are what fit me the most.
TC: The conference initially denied a waiver that would allow you to sign with a Big Ten program other than Iowa before that decision was ultimately appealed. Were you hopeful all along that things would work out for you to stay in the Midwest, or were you somewhat surprised to win the appeal after the initial rejection?
BB: I was very surprised with the outcome. After the initial waiver was denied, I had many doubts about the school's appeals being won. I have heard many times that everything happens for a reason. I never understood it until recently, but it has helped grow my character.
TC: What things about Wisconsin and Bo Ryan ultimately helped you decide Madison was the place for you?
BB: The program speaks for itself. Coach Ryan is proven and I look forward to having him coach me over the next four years.
TC: Describe your impressions of the "Grateful Red" and the Badgers' incredible home-court advantage at the Kohl Center.
BB: It is awesome. I haven't been to a basketball game up in Madison since my sophomore year, but the environment was one that not many programs in the country can rival.
TC: Do you have any idea what you want to major in or study at Wisconsin?
BB: I am going to come in undecided and figure it out along the way.
TC: What's your greatest memory from your high school career?
BB: Beating Zion-Benton and AAU teammate (Ohio State recruit) Lenzelle Smith at home on television.
TC: After all that's transpired in the past few months with committing to Iowa and then de-committing, how do you think it will feel when you play against the Hawkeyes for the first time?
BB: This year we only play once and it is in Carver. I'm not too sure how I will feel. I have made great relationships with players on the team and look forward to playing them; however, I'm not quite sure of how the reaction from the fans may be.
TC: What specific aspect(s) of your game are you hoping to focus on and improve during the summer and through your freshman year?
BB: I'm working on tightening up my ball handling and improving in all other aspects as well.
TC: The Big Ten appears loaded in the 2010-11 season, with many predicting Michigan State, Ohio State, and Purdue to all be among the top five or 10 teams in the nation. How do you see Wisconsin fitting into the conference and the national race, and what will be a key to contending for a league championship in your rookie campaign?
BB: I believe that we have one of the best players in the conference in Jon Leuer, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the team in any way the coaches see fit for me. Wisconsin has been in the running for the Big Ten championship all of Coach Ryan's tenure, and I wouldn't expect that to be different this year.
TC: Thanks, Ben, for taking the time, and good luck in your career at Wisconsin!
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Tim on Twitter at @TimCary.