Mid-Season Report Card for Wisconsin Basketball Players


The Wisconsin basketball team finished the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 12-1 record. Their lone loss came to #2 in the country Duke, which put up a shooting performance that will be nearly impossible to repeat. The Badgers took home the Battle 4 Atlantis crown, winning games against UAB, Georgetown, and Oklahoma. Other resume building wins came against Green Bay, Marquette, Boise State, and at California.

Below is each player’s report card from the 13 game stretch.

Dec 28, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Traevon Jackson (12) looks to pass as Buffalo Bulls guard Lamonte Bearden (1) defends at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin defeated the Buffalo Bulls 68-56. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Traevon Jackson

Jackson is the most infuriating athlete I’ve ever watched. Great play, bad play, great play, bad play. Rinse and repeat. That’s basically been Trae’s whole season (and career). He has been impressive in transition, attacking the basket like no other Wisconsin guard since Trevon Hughes. However, he has forced way too much, causing many cringe-worthy plays. Against Duke, he led the team with 25 points. However, he combined for 4 points, 4 assists, and 6 turnovers against Georgetown and California. He’s shown flashes of being a great point guard, but he’s also shown flashes of being a historically bad point guard. At this point, he’s been too inconsistent to get a high grade.

Grade: C-

Josh Gasser

Gasser has been exactly what we’ve known he would be: a tough, defensive-minded glue guy with the ability to knock down the open three-pointer. He leads the team in 3 point percentage, while averaging a respectable 7 points a game. He’s also played extremely well on defense, except for the catastrophe against Duke’s Tyus Jones, who lit Gasser up for 22 points. Except for that performance, Gasser has been remarkably steady. And if there were a stat kept for the amount of dives for a loose ball, Gasser would lead the country.

Grade: B

Sam Dekker

Dekker has been extremely disappointing this season. He came into the season with more hype than any player in recent Wisconsin memory. Two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier, he was a pre-season Wooden Award Favorite, and had NBA scouts salivating. However, I haven’t seen anything that would warrant all the hype. He’s been solid, but very inconsistent. While that may have to do with his nagging ankle injury, it is fair to be concerned about his development. He has not shown much of an ability to create his own shot. He’s not a great shooter, driver, passer, rebounder, or defender, but he’s serviceable in all of those categories. Averaging 12 points per game, it doesn’t look like Dekker will be the All-American sensation he was made out to be. But don’t get me wrong. He’s having a solid season that would be excellent for most other players. However, it’s a little disappointing for someone of his talent. He’ll need to play better if Wisconsin is going to win it all.

Dec 28, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Sam Dekker (15) grabs a rebound from Buffalo Bulls forward Xavier Ford (35) at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin defeated the Buffalo Bulls 68-56. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: C+

Nigel Hayes

Coming into the season, Hayes was the only real question mark on the team. How would he adapt to his new role in the starting line-up? Could he fill the scoring role of Ben Brust? Long gone are those questions as Hayes has been sensational. He’s averaging an efficient 12 points and 8 rebounds, shooting 55 % from the field. His mid-range game has been deadly and his 3-point shot has been formidable. The thing I’ve been most impressed with is his court vision. For a power forward, he is a great passer, setting up teammates for wide-open looks. Expect his assist numbers to continue to rise.

Grade: A-

Frank Kaminsky

Kaminsky was expected to have a terrific senior campaign and the pre-season All-American has lived up to the billing. He leads the team in points (16.5), rebounds (8.1), and blocks (2.2). More impressive is the fact that he has scored so much while shooting an efficient 53% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. Frank the Tank is the guy coaches spend days game planning to stop, but he can’t be contained (unless you get him in foul trouble like G-Town). He put the Badgers on his back en route to wins against Buffalo and Oklahoma. Kaminsky has been phenomenal and aside from Jahlil Okafor, he’s been the best player in the nation.

Grade: A+

Duje Dukan

The fifth year senior has been a spark-plug off the bench, averaging 6.4 points per game and continuing to hit big 3 after big 3. He basically won the Battle 4 Atlantis Trophy for Wisconsin with his sensational performances against Georgetown and Oklahoma, scoring a total of 20 points in those two games. However, Dukan has had an issue taking care of the ball. He has had three games where he turned it over 3 times. Outside of ball security, the 3-point specialist has been great for Wisconsin.

Grade: A-

Bronson Koenig

Koenig has been another solid player off the bench, averaging 5 points and 2 assists per game. He was a difference maker against Georgetown, tacking on 14 points with Jackson in foul trouble. However, he has had a difficult time shooting 3 pointers. He’s not even hitting 28% of his 3’s, and he has taken plenty of them. However, the shots will start to fall, making Koenig an even bigger threat off the bench.

Grade: B

Vitto Brown

Brown has done a great job filling his role. He grabs rebounds, plays tough defense, and can hit the open mid-range jumper. He hasn’t been anything special, but he also doesn’t make many mistakes. So he’s basically the exact opposite of Dukan. He averages a very quiet 4 points per game that have mostly come against weaker opponents.

Grade: C

Zak Showalter

Nov 26, 2014; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers guard Zak Showalter (3) dunks during the game against the UAB Blazers at Atlantis Resort Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

He hasn’t got as much playing time as expected, but he has made his mark on the highlight reel. He has accounted for a pair of emphatic dunks and a SportsCenter worthy block.

Grade: C-

Bo Ryan

In my completely biased opinion, Bo Ryan is the best coach in college basketball. I didn’t say recruiter, I said coach. He develops his talent like no other. However, there is one thing keeping his grade from being an A+. He needs to give Dekker some more breathing room. Dekker is at his best when he’s playing relaxed and confident, and it’s got to be hard for him to be loose if he’s benched for every single mistake. There are times when it feels like Bo Ryan is playing a game with himself to see how quickly into the half he can bench Dekker. However, I trust Bo. He knows a lot more about basketball and managing players than anybody else.

Grade: A

Next: Badger Hoops In Good Position