Bronson Koenig, Zak Showalter Must Step Up During Traevon Jackson’s Injury


The Wisconsin Badgers lost Traevon Jackson to a foot injury Sunday, and during his rehab time, must look to guards Bronson Koenig and Zak Showalter to step up while the starting point guard is away.

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The No. 7 Badgers (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) will likely be without Jackson the majority of the Big Ten schedule. With successful rehab, Jackson, who will undergo surgery Thursday, would likely be back just prior to the end of the regular season.

In 17 games for Wisconsin this season, Jackson is averaging 9.4 points, 2.9 assists, and 1.7 rebounds per game. In Jackson, the Badgers also lose one of their best dribble-penetrators.

While Jackson’s season is halted for the time being, Wisconsin has a Big Ten Championship to win.

The Badgers will look to a couple of players to step up in Jackson’s absence.

Josh Gasser

Josh Gasser will likely slide over to the point guard spot, at least in part, during Jackson’s recovery. Gasser was slated to be Wisconsin’s starting point guard in the 2012-13 season until an ACL tear sat him down before the season began.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Gasser has played the two-guard spot since, as in his absence, Jackson emerged as a legitimate option at the point.

The 6-3 senior is averaging 7.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game, and will need to be more consistently a part of the offense without Jackson at the helm.

Gasser has a tendency to disappear at times – 3 points against Boise State, 2 points against Oklahoma, 4 points against Rutgers – and for Wisconsin to get by without Jackson, Gasser will need to be more aggressively looking for his shot.

Bronson Koenig

While Gasser will spend some time at point, so will Bronson Koenig, who moves into the starting lineup in place of Jackson.

As Wisconsin’s regular sixth man off of the bench, Koenig averages the most minutes on the team (20.5) of all Wisconsin’s bench players.

He’s averaging 4.9 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. While he isn’t the dribble-penetrator Jackson is, he’s absolutely capable of scoring points when called upon, and is solid in on-on-one situations. He looks to create a shot more than to create an assist, but

Koenig scored a season-high 14 points against Georgetown, and scored 12 against Rutgers in the game Jackson went down. He played major minutes in the Final Four last season against Kentucky, scoring 11 points in Wisconsin’s loss.

Koenig has been great off of the bench for Wisconsin. Now it’s time for him to prove he has what it takes to play like a starter.

Zak Showalter

Sophomore Zak Showalter averages just 6.3 minutes per game, but that number is likely on the way up.

Bo Ryan likes to give at least seven players solid minutes, and Showalter and forward Vitto Brown are the likely suspects to gain playing time. Since Wisconsin will go to Duje Dukan before Brown, Showalter is the next man up for the Badgers.

Showalter played well in limited time earlier this season, and has been productive in that limited time.

He’s a high-energy player, and isn’t afraid to scrap in the paint or crash the boards.

Wisconsin will need his tenacity off of the bench in an increased role.

Statistics courtesy

Next: Jackson Out With Fractured Foot