Gone from Wisconsin basketball are five of the eight players featured in last year’s rotation. Not to mention, five of the departed were seniors. Next season will be the beginning of a new era in Madison, and an infusion of young talent. Devoid of experience, Wisconsin will be turning to some young in-house options to fill some large voids left behind by the senior class.
We will be taking a look at players already on the roster, who are likely to step into a greater role than they were in a season ago. With an abundance of vacated minutes and minimal experience returning, there will be competition at every position. These are the players I think will step up and claim those minutes.
The crown jewel of the badger men’s basketball program, Jonathan Davis, finished his freshman year 5th in minutes per game. Very impressive considering Greg Gard featured six seniors in Wisconsin’s eight-man rotation. There is nothing left preventing Jonathan Davis from getting the keys to the car. Davis is going to be given every opportunity to become Wisconsin basketball’s next star and the focal point on offense.
His natural athleticism and fluidness on both ends of the floor were on full display as a freshman. Defensively, it’s apparent Davis earned the full trust of Coach Gard. Evidenced by the sheer number of minutes he received on such an experienced roster. And if there is one thing we know about Gard, it’s that you don’t see the floor without being sound in your assignments and following the system’s rules.
As the year wore on Davis was given more opportunity and responsibility on offense. Already the most talented shot creator on the badger’s offense, Davis has a chance to make the jump to a near-all-conference level as a sophomore. I think we’ll see Davis attacking at will and getting to the foul line frequently. What makes his slashing so hard to defend is that the pull-up mid-range jumper is one of his most confident shots.
People are going to expect that he be a star right away next season, which isn’t necessarily fair. However, I do think we’ll see a notable jump where the surface of stardom begins to be scratched.