Madison, Wis. — Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball program entered the offseason needing to fill a mighty big hole in the Badgers starting lineup. Johnny Davis created that hole when he declared for the NBA draft after earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors as a sophomore.
After scouring the transfer portal for potential fits, coach Gard and his staff decided to bring in shooting guard Max Klesmit from Wofford. He made perfect sense stylistically, had in-state ties with multiple years of eligibility, and was an obvious replacement for Brad Davison at the two.
The offseason additions, or lack thereof, meant that the next-man-up would come from an in-house option.
The Logical In-House Candidate for the Wisconsin Badgers
The logical candidate to replace Johnny Davis was none other than his biological twin Jordan, who appeared in 27 games, albeit in a limited capacity for the Badgers as a sophomore (6.5 minutes per game).
During the offseason, Davis spent time at the Miami Hoops School to improve his overall game, knowing full well that a starting spot could be on the horizon.
Coach Gard knew that no individual player could replace Johnny Davis’ production. Instead, he’d need a myriad of players stepping into more prominent roles and providing a balanced attack.
Jordan Davis Progress Report
On opening night, Jordan Davis joined the Wisconsin Badgers starting lineup and never looked back. And if you’ve paid close attention, you probably noticed the La Crosse native is quietly putting together a nice season for UW.
Thus far, the 6-foot-4 junior guard has started all 11 games and is averaging 7.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and shooting a respectable 34% from beyond the arc in 25 minutes per game. According to Synergy, among Wisconsin’s top eight players, Davis is also third in points per possession (1.00).
"“I’m new to this – this is my first time I had a starting position here,” Davis told UW reporter Mike Lucas. “I’d say I’m off to a strong start. But I still have a lot to improve on offensively and defensively and probably being a leader, too… and I’m going to keep doing it.”"
Where Jordan Davis Is Making His Greatest Impact
Greg Gard didn’t need Jordan Davis to step in and assume a role as one of the programs leading scorers. Gardo needed a “role-playing” starter, if you will, to accentuate the strengths of the returning core players — and he’s answered by becoming a solid 3&D wing for the Badgers.
Per HoopMath, the former three-star recruit takes 57.7% of his shots from beyond the arc. He’s also making his mark by doing many of the little things that tend to go unnoticed.
The first-year starter has played sound, physical defense, moves well without the ball, is third on the team in rebounding, and takes care of the basketball at an elite clip. According to Barttorvik.com, Davis is first on the team among rotation regulars in turnover% (3.1%) — having accumulated only two turnovers in 275 minutes played.
He’s also fifth on the team in PRPG (1.7), a Barttorvik metric that essentially measures how many more points per game a player creates over a replacement option. His 1.7 PRPG is an entire point higher than the next player, which helps illustrate just how important Davis has been, even though he’s not in a starring role.
While his playing style might look different than his twin brother, Jordan Davis is settling into his role in the starting lineup and blazing his own trail with the Wisconsin Badgers.
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