The Wisconsin Badgers basketball team is losing senior guard Ben Brust to graduation next year. Many are wondering who will fill his empty scholarship.
Wisconsin has only one incoming scholarship player for the 2014/15 season and his name is Ethan Happ. The three-star 6-foot-7, 175 lb. small forward from Taylor Ridge, Illinois (Rockridge high school) played his AAU ball for the Quad City Elite. He had offers from Green Bay and Milwaukee but chose to play his college ball in Madison.
Happ is not an incredibly known prospect or should I say he wasn’t. He will have a hard time being anonymous now.
Happ was recently named the MVP of the prestigious U-18 Albert Schweitzer Tournament, held every two years, in Germany. The USA hadn’t reached the championship game of the 16-team international tournament since 1996. Italy would ultimately defeat Happ’s squad in the championship game but he still put up a an impressive stat line; 20 points and 11 rebounds in the final game.
Over the course of the tournament, Happ averaged 19.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 1.9 blocks through the seven games. Now that’s impressive. Happ certainly will have trouble remaining unknown in Madison when he joins the team this summer. Expectations for him are much more elevated than they were prior to the Albert Schweitzer Tournament.
David Hein, an international basketball writer, had some strong words to say about Happ.
“Happ can, quite simply, do it all. He’s a small forward who proved that he can move up and guard the four and play in the post. He can dribble in traffic, rebounds at both ends, has good anticipation, doesn’t have a lot of wasted movement. He’s a vocal leader on the court, can play against bigger guys than him on defense and score in the paint. He blocks shots, gets his handles on loose ball and he’s a finisher who can drive to the lane as well. And he was the deserved MVP.”
Happ really can do it all and seems to have the body type and versatility of current Badger Sam Dekker. But the most impressive part of Happ’s game, in this tournament, was his shooting percentage; he shot 60% from the field (50-80).
Excited for him to get to Madison yet?
Many people thought Happ was a quality addition to the Badgers’ ridiculously talented and experienced roster. But now, Happ is looked at as a potential playmaker for the Badgers. It’s tough to see where he could fit into Wisconsin’s plans for this upcoming season but Happ is certainly a big part of Bo Ryan’s plans for the Badgers in the future.
His combination of size and playmaking ability is a trademark of the “bigs” of Badgers basketball during the Bo Ryan era.
Happ was a two-time AP first-team All-State selection in high school and in his senior year he averaged 33.0 points-per-game while leading his team to a 28-1 record. Oh, and he pulled down 15.0 rebounds-per-contest, too. Which begs the question…why wasn’t Happ more heavily recruited or touted coming out of high school?
I don’t think anyone cares. He’s going to be a Badger and that’s all that matters.
Wisconsin will be looked at as one of the favorites to win the National Championship next year despite losing one of their best players in Brust. But the future is certainly still bright and Happ is a major part of that.
Thanks to [UWBadgers].