The Wisconsin basketball team is coming off of a tough 2020 season where expectations for the senior-led team were sky-high. The Badgers finished 18-13 overall and 10-10 in the Big Ten Conference. They were ousted by the Baylor Bears in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Today, Jim Polzin of Wisconsin State Journal, dropped a bomb of a story on the Wisconsin basketball world. In the story, Polzin gives details about a two-hour meeting in February that included the seven seniors, Greg Gard, and his three assistant coaches.
In the meeting, each player vented to the head coach, getting some things off of their chests.
"Among the seniors’ grievances: that Gard didn’t care for them or have their backs. One player said he’d have a hard time recommending the program to potential recruits because of the culture within it.“I just feel like, coach, we don’t have a relationship,” said Nate Reuvers, a four-year starter. “In my mind, it’s too late for that. I personally don’t think or feel like you care about our future aspirations.“I can’t talk to you. I just don’t want to talk to you. After this, coach, I don’t know what type of relationship we’re going to have, if we have one.”"
Reuvers’ comments are just an example of what was said.
Now, I don’t have a problem so much with what was said, because every player is entitled to their opinion of the team and the program. I can understand how players can get frustrated with their coach and vice-versa. There is most likely blame on both sides of this story.
What I have a problem with was that this meeting was recorded.
Recording a private meeting within a team is just weak, sketchy, pathetic, and just inexcusable. I am not the only one who thinks this either. Former Wisconsin basketball player Sam Dekker, who has always been vocally supportive of Greg Gard, offered his two cents on the situation, and he did not hold back.
I tend to agree with Dekker on a lot of what he is saying. You may not like Gard or how he coaches, but he is the coach and he isn’t the one going on long scoring droughts that were all too common last season.
This is just a bad look for the Wisconsin basketball program. If I’m a potential recruit, I see this, and I may not want to even think about Wisconsin if former players are trashing the head coach.
I don’t think things like this are all too uncommon in college basketball. It’s important to keep things behind closed doors to keep things like this happening. Recording a closed-door meeting and sending it to a reporter anonymously is just sketchy and as weak as it gets, regardless of whether it was a coach or a player.