Wisconsin Basketball is down one key contributor for at least the first chunk of the season.
This season is going to be one of redemption for the Wisconsin Basketball program. Last year was the first since 1997-98 the Badgers missed the Big Dance. With just about every major contributor returning this season, a new streak was expected to start.
One major piece of Wisconsin’s rotation was supposed to be sophomore Aleem Ford. Amidst the injuries that plagued the Badgers last year, Ford was a bright spot. As a freshman, Ford shot over 40% from beyond the arc and budded into a real sharpshooting threat down the stretch of the season.
The team announced Ford would be out indefinitely, which means the Badgers are now without one of their best shooting threats until at least conference play.
The good news is Ford is likely to be back this year. If the Badgers can stay afloat without Ford, he’ll be the perfect boost to help the team finish up what hopes to be a strong season and make some noise in the NCAA Tournament. Who wouldn’t want to add a 40% shooter into their lineup down the stretch in the season?
Ford was not projected to be a starter for the Badgers, but he was likely going to be the first wing off the bench, and could potentially play a frontcourt position in a small lineup with his size. Kobe King, who is coming back from an injury of his own, and senior Alex Illikainen will likely take over those minutes for Ford while he’s out.
King is a scoring guard who might still need some time to get up to speed. He’s more than capable of replacing Ford’s 5.8 points per game from a year ago. Illikainen is more of a threat from the outside and will be used to space the floor from the frontcourt as Ford would.
The Badgers will certainly miss Ford, but they should have enough firepower to keep up a tournament-worthy resume until he returns and is fully healthy. The Badgers typically don’t win with offense anyway, but when Ford is back, the Badgers will become a much more exciting team.