Wisconsin Basketball 2015 Season Predictions

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Zak Showalter takes a Northwestern defender off the dribble. Jim Oxley photo

Who will be a breakout player for the Badgers this season?

READ ALSO: 2015-16 May Not Be Bo Ryan’s Last Season

RV: Redshirt freshman Ethan Happ seems to have all the tools for a breakout season. He has great strength and size, good post moves, and is fundamentally sound. He also developed a lot by playing against Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and Nigel Hayes every day in practice last year. He’s ready for anything. I think he will end up being the Badgers 3rd leading scorer in addition to the leading rebounder. By the end of the season, he could be a double-double machine.

JR: Zak Showalter provided some truly fist-pump-in-your-living-room moments last season, and I think he breaks out in conference play.

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EB: Ethan Happ is a name that the conference should get to know pretty quickly. A redshirt last season, the 6-foot-9 Happ battled with Kaminsky on the scout team during practices last season. At one point last season, former Badger Josh Gasser said Happ was the best player on the court at times. Assistant coach Gary Close echoed that by saying there were times when players could not guard him. Wisconsin needs to replace two of the three most talented frontcourt combinations in program history, and Happ will be a big part of the transition.

TJ: Zak Showalter. He’s a scrappy player that did all the dirty work for Bo Ryan last season. He’s got Josh Gasser-esque type defense, something his head coach absolutely loves. I’m not sure just how many points he will actually score, but his defense, hustle and effort alone will get him plenty of playing time with plenty of opportunities.

JO: I expect a big season out of my favorite high-energy player, Zak Showalter. He may not dominate the stat sheets you’re used to seeing, but he’ll have more tip slam attempts and diving saves out of bounds than you’ve ever seen from a 6-2 white guy. He’s Mike Bruesewitz and Joe Krabbenhoft combined and smashed into the shape of a guard, and he’s just plain fun to watch. The only question is whether he can keep up the intensity as a regular rotation player instead of the sporadic playing time he had last year. I think he can, and will be an important part of the 2015-16 Badgers.

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