2014 NBA Draft Breakdown: Ben Brust Edition

"I believe I can flyyyyyyy. I believe I can touch the skyyyyyyyyy!" - Jamie Squire

Is there room on an NBA team for a sharp-shooting, floor board-grabbing, hard-nosed defending shooting guard from Wisconsin? Probably not, is the short answer. The long answer is below!

Ben Brust was the prototypical Wisconsin Badgers player. He was under-recruited coming out of high school in Mundelein, IL, garnering offers from only a handful of schools (Minnesota, Iowa, Cal, BC), and only grading out as a three star recruit on most recruiting services' sites. After he finally chose Wisconsin (he originally had committed to Iowa, but was granted a release after the Hawkeyes fired Todd Lickliter, but that is another story for another time), Brust improved every year under Bo Ryan's tutelage. And, like many Wisconsin players, he stayed all four years.

Unfortunately, also like many Wisconsin players, none of those improvements will likely lead to him hearing his name called during the NBA draft. I scoured the Internet looking for posts on Brust's draft potential, but with such a loaded class coming out this year there was nothing to find. Could Brust latch on to a team in training camp that is desperate for an outside shooting threat? I really doubt it, but there are some bad teams in the NBA (hi Bucks and Sixers), and who knows what they are looking for.

The far more likely scenario for Brust is getting picked up by a team in Europe. Many recent Badgers have plied their trade in Europe, and many have made a successful career out of it. Just look at this list, it's a veritable "who's who" of Wisconsin basketball for the last decade. If J-Cheezy is still gainfully employed in Austria playing basketball, I'm pretty sure Brust can carve out a niche over there. Let's take a brief career retrospective on Brust, and see what European teams are potentially getting in the 6'2" 190 lbs shooting guard.

Brust's scoring average improved every year, up to 12.8 his senior season, which coincided with an improvement of his eFG% every year, up to .547 by his senior year. So, not only was Brust scoring more per game, he was scoring more per game more effectively. His offensive rating improved every year as well, reaching a high of 124.4 this past season. Brust really was a key part in what made the Wisconsin offense so good this year. An area that Brust excels in for a guard is his rebounding ability. He averaged 4.5 rpg this year, down from his career high of 5.1 per game his junior year, and he attacks the ball with no fear. Brust has never been a great passer, but he acquits himself adequately in the assists department. The same can be said for his steal numbers, but that doesn't tell the whole story of Brust on defense. He's a solid defender, who doesn't make many mistakes and stays in front of his man. He won't make any Allen Iversonesque swipes of the ball, but he also won't get torched for 30 points every night either.

As a Wisconsin fan, I enjoyed Ben Brust's career at UW and I'm happy he was able to ride off into the sunset with a Final Four appearance under his belt. As a fan of the NBA Draft, I'm not excited for his prospects, but I'm hoping for the best for him in Europe. Godspeed, Ben Brust, and please bring your brothers with you to whichever team picks you up. They'll be leading the crowd in cheers in no time.

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