Over the last 4-5 years, the Wisconsin Badgers have had a lot of success on and off the court. This can be attributed to the stellar play of seniors Frank Kaminsky, Traevon Jackson, Josh Gasser, and Duje Dukan. While their Badger careers may have ended with a loss, the memories they gave to the fans will last a lifetime.
They brought Bo Ryan and Wisconsin to back-to-back Final Four, won a Big 10 tournament and regular season championship, accumulated a total of 132 wins, and continued the Badger tradition of never finishing worse than 4th in the Big 10.
The graduating class took this basketball program to a height previously unimaginable, while representing the University with outstanding class.
For the next couple of days, I’m going to write an article highlighting each Badger Senior’s career.
Up first, Josh “Captain America” Gasser.
Mar 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Josh Gasser (21) reacts during overtime in the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament against the Michigan State Spartans at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Career Path: Gasser was very underrated as a recruit, and was only offered a scholarship after a previous recruit got into trouble with the law. However he quickly earned his place in badger’s lore. He was one of the only Bo Ryan coached players to ever start as a freshman.
He showed a lot of promise at shooting guard, recording a triple-double against Northwestern in one of his first games. In his sophomore year, Gasser continued to be a steady presence both offensively and defensively, increasing his 3-point percentage from 30% to 45%.
Gasser was expected to slide into the starting point guard slot in his junior season, but an ACL tear ended his season before it started. This sort of heartbreaking injury could have ended many players’ careers, but Gasser showed off his resiliency and toughness, returning to the starting line-up the very next season as a redshirt junior.
That season, he recorded his career high of 9 points per game, despite playing small forward, a position previously uncommon to him. In his senior season, he recorded similar numbers. In each of his last two seasons, he played a huge role in getting Bo Ryan to consecutive Final Fours.
Career Stats: 148 games, 32.3 MPG, 7.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, .07 SPG
Career Summary: I almost considered not including the stats for Gasser, because they don’t do nearly enough to describe him as a player.
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For the last five years, Josh Gasser has been the heart and soul of the Wisconsin program. He was all heart, all the time for the Badgers. Every single time there was a loose ball, you just knew he would get it. While he may not have lit up the stat sheet, he was truly the ultimate glue guy. He almost certainly led the country in dives for loose balls.
A defensive specialist by nature, Gasser was charged with guarding the best player on the opposing team night in and night out.
Captain America. The nickname given to him by Frank Kaminsky is so fitting for Gasser. Iron Man would suffice as well, as Gasser holds the Wisconsin all-time record for total minutes, starts, and NCAA Tournament game appearances. In fact, the 5th year senior started every game of his career.
So while Gasser may not have been rewarded in the box score, he was an integral part of this team. He embodied toughness in every way, never once complained about his lack of shots, and was a great leader. Plain and simple, he was just great teammate and did everything he needed to do to help the team win games.
Wisconsin certainly wouldn’t have had all the success it had in the past 5 years without him.
Awards: 3-time 1st Team All-Defensive Big-10, 2-Time Member of SI’s All-Glue Team, 2014 All-Big 10 Honorable Mention.
- Recording a Triple-Double against Northwestern in 2010.
- Diving into the media table to save the ball and game for Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship Game against Michigan State
- Banking in Game-Winning, Buzzer-Beating 3-pointer against Michigan in 2010
- In his first game back from torn ACL, he recorded 19 points and 8 rebounds in win over St. Johns
Pro Outlook: Gasser certainly will not garner much NBA attention, but he will probably have a nice, long career in Europe. I could easily see him playing in Lithuania or Israel.
In Conclusion: Josh Gasser, like many Wisconsin players, was unheralded and underappreciated. But through his leadership, toughness, heart, and defense, he accounted for many wins. He’ll be remembered as the ultimate Glue-Guy. He did all the little things and always got the job done. He just won games.
Badger Nation will remember him and miss him. Thanks Captain America!