Wisconsin Basketball: Player grades for 2020-21 season

Mar 19, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; The Wisconsin Badgers huddle during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; The Wisconsin Badgers huddle during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Wisconsin basketball
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 21: Tip off between Wisconsin Badgers and Baylor Bears during the first half in the second round game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse on March 21, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The up-and-down season for the Wisconsin basketball team has come to an end. The Badgers lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to the top-seeded Baylor Bears in the South Region.

The Badgers played in 31 games this season and had multiple players contribute, but there were really about eight that played on a consistent basis. Here is the report card for the Badger basketball players in the 2020-21 season.


D’Mitrik Trice: A-

13.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4 assists. (0.931 PPP) 41 FG% | 79.2 FT% | 37.3 3P%

Greg Gard’s first-ever commit saved his best for last. Once Big Ten play began Trice saw the need for someone to step up offensively, and he answered the call. Meech finished the season 3rd team All-Big Ten.

Trice has been a streaky shooter throughout his career but finished with career highs in points, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage. All while playing good on-ball defense and taking care of the basketball. At times, Trice possessed the ability to take over games with his scoring and was heavily relied upon to get the offense out of ruts. In his senior season, Trice continued to facilitate for teammates as he did a year ago. The assist numbers would have been better had the team not fallen into a collective offensive rut.

The moment never seemed too big for Trice throughout the years. Trice hit a multitude of clutch shots for a Wisconsin basketball team that relied on him late in the shot clock. Regardless of your feelings on the player, Coach Gard and the program will sorely miss D’Mitrik Trice. Meech was a leader on the court, and by the end of it all, a true point guard.

Brad Davison: B-

10.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists. (0.914 PPP) 34.5 FG% | 86.8 FT% | 38.9 3P%

Davison is another player who is a streaky shooter. The most endearing quality about Davison is that he is able to affect the game regardless of his shot falling. Without fans in attendance it became abundantly clear that Davison never stops talking on the defensive end, something most coaches dream about.

For most of the year, Davison was woeful around the rim. At times it seemed that Brad was almost a liability on offense due to his relative inability to create for himself. However, Brad silenced any haters by finishing the season strong beyond the arc and became someone the offense could count on. Davison led the team in assist to turnover ratio, made three’s, and unofficially led the nation in grit.

A polarizing player no doubt, but one that Wisconsin basketball fans will miss when he’s gone. Few players have understood what it meant to play for the name on the front of the jersey quite like Brad Davison.

Aleem Ford: C-

8.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists. (0.927 PPP) 40.6 FG% | 78.1 FT% | 34.1 3P%

Aleem Ford is a bit of a puzzling one for me personally. I truly believe Ford is a better player than we got to see over his career. At the end of the day it all comes back to the consistency, and Ford didn’t show a lot of it.

Ford was at times a game-breaker, but only for short stretches. He could give you one great half, but never two. Whenever Ford had time to think about his shot, it was assuredly a miss. Force Ford to throw one up in a hurry, and it was often a hit. As Asher Low has called him throughout his career, he is in fact something of an enigma.

On the defensive end, I thought he improved and showed great energy at times. Quietly, Ford did find a way to impact games with his defense, but again it seemed to be hit and miss. His greatest asset was his versatility. In an era of positionless basketball, I just expected more. His grade may not be entirely fair, but he was not consistently someone this team could count on.

Tyler Wahl: C+

5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists. (0.811 PPP) 43.6 FG% | 56.7 FT% | 27.8 3P%

Tyler Wahl was thrust into a much bigger role in year two. Once conference play began it became evident the badgers needed to play smaller to match up better on defense. Being the defensive swiss army knife that Wahl is, the transition to the starting lineup seemed to be a no-brainer. Wahl can conceivably guard 1-4 and even the 5 if another team is playing small enough. Wahl is a good defender who I think has the instincts and tools to be a great defender. His versatility gave Coach Gard a plethora of options on defense.

Offensively, Wahl improved, even if only marginally. It was evident the physical maturation the sophomore had gone through. His shot looked more fluid, although shooting still isn’t a strong suit. The threat alone creates better spacing for the offense when he’s on the floor.

Wahl does possess some playmaking ability from the forward spot, finishing the season third on the team in assists. One strong suit of his that was underutilized was getting Wahl touches on the block. Per Synergy Sports, Wahl averaged (1.107 PPP) on post touches. That put Wahl in the 93rd percentile in the entire country. I’m not sure it was entirely clear what his role was on the offense but seemed to take what the defense gave him.

Encouraging jump from the sophomore who will undoubtedly be asked to take another step next year.

Nate Reuvers: C-

8.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks. (0.878 PPP) 42 FG% | 78 FT% | 28.6 3P%

To put it bluntly, Reuvers season was a disappointment. All-Conference a year ago, many assumed he would maintain his level of play, if not take one last jump. That couldn’t have been further from what happened.

At times he seemed lost and broken on offense. Reuvers’ three-point shooting disappeared entirely. His confidence was affected in a way that was hard to ignore. Reuvers’ lack of presence on offense contributed to the Badgers’ struggles in a big way. It was encouraging to see the senior playing better in the latter half of the season, and by all accounts having fun again.

The senior’s largest contribution came on the defensive end. Reuvers leaves the Wisconsin basketball program as the all-time leading shot-blocker, which is no small feat. Reuvers was steady as always defending ball screens, which is a pillar of Gard’s defensive system. However, Nate got pushed around in the paint on a regular basis by opposing big men. Rebounding was never a strength of his but seemed to be noticeably worse this year.

Tough season for the senior, but Reuvers gave Wisconsin basketball four strong years of contribution and that’s how he deserves to be remembered.