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2015-16 Big Ten Preview: Wisconsin Badgers Wings

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A look at some key wing players for Wisconsin in the 2015-16 season.

Sophomore Riley Dearring talks to head coach Bo Ryan.
Sophomore Riley Dearring talks to head coach Bo Ryan.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Wings in basketball tend to be some of the most crucial players in the game. Take Sam Dekker for example. The dynamic wing utilized both his size and elusiveness to his advantage all throughout his Wisconsin career; the result was a 6'8" swingman who could score from just about anywhere on the court.

Just for some simple clarification, a "wing" in basketball is usually defined as a player who plays both the shooting guard and small forward positions- a shooting forward if you will. Though Sam Dekker has gone off to the NBA, Wisconsin will still look to utilize the "power of the wing" with other solid players on its roster.

There is always the chance that Wisconsin utilizes an offensive plan without a wing player: 3 guards at the top of the key and two power forwards in the paint. While Wisconsin may not have that definite wing player that they had last season in Sam Dekker, here are some of the players that could potentially fit the wing position nicely for Bo Ryan's Badgers next season.

Khalil Iverson

Though very few basketball fans know this name just yet, Khalil Iverson has the potential to provide some solid upside for Wisconsin next season. The 6'5" wing averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds his senior year, helping his high school finish with an overall record of 20-5. Iverson is noted as an incredibly athletic player; his 38 inch vertical leap matches the best attempt in the 2015 NBA Combine, set by former Virginia wing Justin Anderson. Couple that with a 6'10" wingspan, and you have an athlete that can do just about anything given the right tool set. Sound like the perfect project for Bo Ryan. Iverson is ranked as a 3 star prosepct and the 12th best from the state of Ohio according to 247 Sports. Though he may not be the first person you think of when considering who will make a huge impact for the Wisconsin Badgers next season, remember how good Bo Ryan is at unlocking potential from decent high school basketball players in order to make them superstars.

Ethan Happ

The freshman Ethan Happ looks forward to playing his first season with the Badgers after redshirting last year. As a senior in high school out of Milan, Illinois, Happ averaged 33 points and 15 rebounds per game while using his big body to work inside the post and his sweet touch to knock down perimeter shots. Though Happ didn't see the court last season, he was cited as Wisconsin's most improved player, and he was repeatedly praised for making his teammates better in practice. It is meaningful to note that Happ shot nearly 40% from beyond the arc in team scrimmage and 50% from 2 point range as well. These numbers show that Happ could be in for a solid season with the Badgers. With a year of hard work and effort under his belt, Happ has the opportunity to play in Ryan's rotation and be an important contributor.

Riley Dearring

Wisconsin's 6'5" 182 lb sophomore Riley Dearring is another guy that could see some serious minutes at the wing position. While only averaging 2.6 minutes per game last year with the Badgers, there are some impressive statistics worth noting. Dearring shot 43% from three point range, as well as 40% from the floor, so even though he hasn't taken a lot of shots in his young Wisconsin career, he definitely has the skill set to be a knock down shooter. Expect a guy like Riley Dearring to get a lot of opportunities in the early part of the season as Wisconsin works its way into a reliable rotation.

Overall

Wisconsin doesn't have a definite player to play the wing position this season, which means the early half of it will be experiment time for the Badgers. It wouldn't be surprising to see a lot of different lineups when Wisconsin faces off against weaker opponents. Whoever is able to step up and prove himself will be the one to see the most playing time later in the year.