Sam Dekker, the ESPN number 17 ranked college recruit from 2012, is preparing for his sophomore season for the University of Wisconsin Badgers. After a solid freshman year averaging 9.6 points per game along with 3.4 rebounds and a .478% from the field, Dekker is raring to go to fill his potential for real. Measuring at 6-7 and 220lbs, the Wisconsin native has all the tools to make a successful career in the college game, but what do we really know and think about Sam himself?
Well the guy is a bit of a stud. Attending Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School in Sheboygan, WI, Dekker amassed 2,629 points in his four years which was good for the fourth-leading scorer in Wisconsin high-school history. Not bad eh? If that’s not enough, Dekker quite literally earned the title of ‘Wisconsin Mr Basketball’ in 2012, which is awarded to the best high-school player in the state each year by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches’ Association.
Badgers’ basketball coach, Bo Ryan, holds him in high regard too. He was quoted as calling Dekker as one of the four best freshman he has coached in his twelve-year tenure in Madison. The others being Josh Gasser, Alando Tucker and current NBA starter Devin Harris of the Atlanta Hawks. That’s not a bad group to be a part of and the future certainly looks promising for the soon-to-be sophomore. However, his failure to have a stand-out season, like many of his Big-Ten peers, may prove to be a blessing in disguise. Let me tell you why.
Despite having the tools to be a top talent in any team, ‘Mr Wisconsin’ was hardly surrounded by players of the same ability in the 2012-13 season. The 2013 recruiting class sees the Badgers welcome in 6-7 power-forward Nigel Hayes who, is by no means the next LeBron, has the skills and toughness to give Ryan and the Badgers a solid scoring punch besides of Dekker. The average numbers by Dekker this season mean his decision to return to Kohl Centre for another year was inevitable, and the pairing of Dekker and Hayes may prove to be the magic formula Coach Ryan has been looking for in his quest for the Final Four.
The remainder of the team is made up of some nice parts that will complement the duo of Dekker and Hayes, and Ryan and the Badgers may have their best chance in many years of advancing deep into the end of season NCAA Tournament and maybe even to the Final Four in years. With that though comes raised stakes and expectations, but after a full season of college ball under his belt, Sam Dekker is set to up and become the leader that the Badgers so desperately need. Go Badgers!