Don't know how many people on here read umhoops.com regularly, but it's a great site and this is a great piece that shouldn't go unnoticed.
Sounds like Ricky is doing everything we could ask from him to be ready to come in and contribute immediately next season. I especially liked the part about him being a 4.0 student. I think mental ability is just as important as physical ability when it comes to being able to contribute in a freshman season, with the complexity of Beilein's offense and knowledge of defensive rotations. I think we all are just hoping for solid rebounding, decent defense, and an ability to finish wide open layups/dunks from Ricky next season, and it seems like he's going to be able to provide that. It'll be nice to get another big guy in the program who's probably a 4 year player (though we said that about many of the players who have jumped early, also). I think he has all the tools to be a big time player by his junior and senior seasons, and we know Beilein and Bacari will bring it out of him.
On another note, I'm kind of surprised by all of the negative thoughts about the potential team next season. Name me another team other than Wisconsin that is for sure better than us in the Big Ten next season. I think this team could for sure grab that 2 spot in the Big Ten and make another Sweet 16, then who knows after that. I think Caris is going to be awesome, I'd be surprised if someone other than him or Kaminsky wins the Big Ten POY next year. He's already pretty good and let's be honest, even after adding 22 pounds or however many it was, he still kinda looked like a stick figure out there last year. Tons of room to grow for him. Walton really started to come into his own at the end of last season and I have no doubt he'll make the kind of sophomore leap that Beilein PGs do. Freshman year Irvin reminds me a lot of freshman year Stauskas (great shooter, and you could tell they had the ability to do more but just couldn't quite put it all together yet), and I think he'll have a big time year next season. Chatman is going to be a really tough guard at the 4 spot for most guys, and I think while GR3 is for sure better at this point, Kam actually fits the system better. Then we have solid backups from Spike, MAAR, 10 pounds heavier DJ Wison, and maybe/probably Dawkins. Yeah we're lacking a little bit at the 5, but I think both Donnal and Doyle are going to be able to at least hold their own against most guys not named Kaminsky or other guys like that, which are few and far between. We'll probably lose the rebounding battle most nights, but we almost always have and we've done just fine. It seems kind of unbelievable now, but let's not forget that in 2012, Beilein won a Big Ten Championship with Novak at the 4 and 6'7" Smotrycz as the back up 5 man. We'll be just fine.