Sunday, March 24, 2013


Next year's team ought to look quite different than this year's. Coming into this season and prior to Gasser's injury this team had a pretty predictable rotation. 3 returning senior starters in the frontcourt and 2 experienced junior guards looked to get most of the minutes. Kaminsky and Dekker gave them depth in the frontcourt and Marshall and Jackson figured to fight it out for backup minutes in the backcourt. Next year's team is not so easy to figure out, and could go a number of ways. I'm sure by November we'll have a good idea of what the next Badger's will look like, but here's my take as I look back at the returning players.

Gasser- This is the big question. Everything I hear is that his recovery is going well and he hopes to be ready for opening practice in the fall, but you never know. Not everyone can recover like Adrian Peterson, and in fact almost no one does. Most people take a full 2 years to get back to normal, and some never do. I hope he fully recovers and never has this injury again, as it has been painful enough for Badger fans to watch Curt Phillips suffer this same injury over and over again. I'm thinking positive at this point, so I'll assume he plays next year like the Gasser of old. If he does then I expect him to return to the starting lineup, but where does he fit in? Does he take over the point as was planned prior to his injury, or is there enough at the point that he can stay off the ball? My guess is that he plays off the ball and starts as part of a 3 guard lineup that will be the norm next year.

Why 3 guards? That's where the talent is. Bo likes to play big, but he also plays his best players and those will be guards. The Badgers will have 6 true guards on scholarship next year which is probably a high for Bo with the Badgers (Brust, Jackson, Gasser, Marshall, incoming freshman-Koenig, Hill). That does not include 2 wings which could be called guards depending on your semantics (Dukan, incoming freshman-Dearring). That leaves only 5 scholarship frontcourt players (Dekker, Kamisnky, Anderson, incoming freshman-Hayes, Brown).

Kaminsky- He is next year's Gasser, in that he will be the player they can least afford to lose. With so few frontcourt scholarship players and 2 of them true freshman, there is nothing to rely on if he is not there. Without Kaminsky the Badgers would be in the same place they were this year with Jackson and Marshall, relying on inexperienced players not ready for the role they are being asked to play. Kaminksy's decision not to redshirt as a freshman, and the valuable experience he gained the last 2 seasons will hopefully pay off next year as he takes on a much bigger role. He should be the anchor of the frontline for the next 2 seasons.

Frank had a pretty solid season in his backup role to Berggren. He showed enough flashes for me to have pretty high hopes for him. He will not be the dominating defensive force that Berggren was, but he could be an effective defender and I like some of his offensive numbers this year. He only shot 44%FG, and 31%3ptFG, but about half his shots came from 3. I expect him to shot more 2s next year in the post. He also had an impressive assist to turnover ratio of 26-9, or about 3-1 which is great for a guard, let alone a center. He won't do that again next year with more touches, but he seems to be and effective and willing passer which will be important in feeding Dekker and Brust for 3s.
Brust- Most players tend to max out as Juniors, at least statistically, and I expect this to be the case with Brust. His game will no doubt improve, and he may even start driving the ball with his left hand, but I doubt his numbers will be significantly better. Seniors tend to get the most attention from opposing defenses, and since he will be the leading returning scorer he will draw plenty of attention. Dekker's presence will certainly help him to get some open shots, but he will be option 2 and everyone will know it. He shot 42%FG, and 39%3ptFG this year and I find it hard to believe he will be better than that next season. Hopefully he will continue his fantastic rebounding for a guard, as they will need it if they play small. He was also very good moving the ball and had a 2-1 assist to turnover ratio.

Dekker- Sky is the limit. Offensively he put up great numbers as a freshman 48%FG, 39%3ptFG. If he can can continue those high percentages with an expected increase in shots then he could be the Big Ten Player of the year. He will be the focus of the offense, and the focus of every defense, so I expect there to be some tough games and some glorious games. His defense just kept getting better as the year went on, but he will need to become a great rebounder for this team to be successful. Evans, Berggren and Bruiser effectively cleaned the glass while Dekker averaged just 3.4 per game. He will have to be committed to rebounding in year 2.

Jackson- The numbers don't tell a pretty story. He averaged 2.8 assists/game, but also 2.1 turnovers. He shot just 37%FG despite taking just 1/3 of his shots from 3 point range. He was not good from 3 either, making just 29%. Some of the poor FG% was due to taking tough shots when the shot clock ran down, but he just isn't a great shooter. Traevon should have been playing about 5-10 minutes a game this year as a backup 2 guard to Brust, instead he was the starting point guard. He did make great strides as the year went on and he isn't afraid to take big shots. He was an effective defender and lead the team in steals. Call me crazy, but I think Traevon keeps his starting job as the point guard next season. After railing on him all season for all the unforced turnovers, the poor passing into the post, and the terrible shooting I think he will be the best option. He made great improvement over the year and I think his defense keeps him in the starting lineup. I'll admit that I think Marshall has more ability and Koenig will be more talented, and I kind of hope I'm wrong and one of them supplants him, but at this point I still think he's the 5th starter.

Marshall- Trevon Hughes or Rob Wilson? 2 players at UW who showed flashes of great potential as freshman, but just weren't ready for big time college basketball. Trevon shot just 31% as a freshman and had twice as many turnovers as assists. He played too fast as a freshman, but by his sophomore season he had slowed down and took over as the starting point guard. Rob Wilson shot 33% as a freshman and had 17 turnovers vs 4 assists. I still remember his fearlessness as a freshman when he drove the lane in a preseason tournament vs UConn and challenged Hasheem Thabeet at the rim. Wilson did not slow down his game, and did not play a meaningful role until his breakout game in the Big Ten Tournament. Unfortunately that was in his senior season, and his basketball career was otherwise undistinguished. Which of these paths will Marshall take? He shot just 36%FG, but he also shot 37%3pt FG and 2/3s of his shots were from 3. He had an amazing performance at Iowa going 7-10, 3-4 from 3, for 20 points in 15 minutes. If he can slow down his game the door is open for him to shine in year 2 at UW. If he can't then he may become the next Rob Wilson.

The rest- I don't expect Dukan, Anderson, Bohannon, or Showalter to do anything more than compete for backup minutes with the 5 incoming freshman. Perhaps one of them will surprise me, but I'm not holding my breath.

Predictions for next year- Torvik already came out with his that Dekker will join the 1000 point club in his sophomore season. He scored 335 in his freshman season. If UW plays the same number of games (35) he would need to average 19 points per game, a tall task.

I'll go with a more modest prediction for now. UW will rank under 250 in the country in possessions per game.

This may be my last UW bball post for a while. I'll have to go back to the Bucks I guess. Sigh


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  2. For the record, I did not predict that Dekker would score 1000 points next year. I said, "1000 next year is possible. That means he'd have to average about 20 ppg. Probably overly optimistic, but you never know. Dekker will clearly be the man next year." I would be surprised if he does it, but it's possible.

    I did guarantee 2000 for his career, assuming he stays four years.