Small Forward (Forward 1): Sam Dekker
Honorable Mention: Nigel Hayes, Mike Brusewitz, Duje Dukan, Joe Krabbenhoft, Marcus Landry
- Career: 12.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists
- 2x Second-Team All-Big Ten
- Big Ten All-Freshman Team
- Mr. Basketball (WI)
Numbers aside, Sam Dekker brought something to Wisconsin that we have never seen before. He was not the flashiest player or the best shooter, but he knew how to win and he knew how to hit the big shot.
Dekker was one of Coach Ryan’s favorite players to “yell” at, often taking him out after just one error, no matter how big or detrimental it was. During Ryan’s tenure, he was notoriously known for never playing freshmen, often forcing them to redshirt and blossom into better skilled and fundamentally sound players when it was time to shine.
Dekker was not like this, seeing significant time his his rookie campaign under Ryan. Despite staying just three years before leaving Wisconsin and getting drafted by the Houston Rockets in the first round, Dekker was a steady and consistent scorer- earning himself in to the top 15 on the all-time scorers list at Wisconsin.
Always contributing to the Badgers’ success, Dekker came alive in the final run of his Badgers career in the NCAA Tournament his junior year. In the Elite Eight against Arizona, Dekker posted 27 points- a career high and surpassing his previous of 23 in the Sweet 16- and five three pointers, including the dagger as time was winding down. He was named the West regional most outstanding player after averaging 22 points in the first four tournament contests.
Dekker then met everyone’s expectations and left for the NBA following the NCAA championship loss to Duke.