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Wisconson Badgers add walk-on guard for 2017-18

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Walt McGrory to join Wisconsin backcourt this season.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Northwestern vs Wisconsin Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin basketball team added a new face to next year’s roster with the addition of Walt McGrory. On Monday, McGrory accepted a preferred walk-on offer to join the Badgers for the 2017-18 season.

McGrory, a 6-foot-3 guard from Minnesota, is coming off a big senior season at Edina High School, averaging 26.3 points, eight rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. A four-year all-Lake Conference selection, McGrory will graduate as Edina’s all-time leading scorer with 2,126 career points.

McGrory told Jon McNamara of BadgerBlitz.com that he chose Wisconsin over scholarship offers from Brown, Drake, Furman, Maine and South Dakota State. McGrory, who’s older sister, MC, wrapped up her playing career at Creighton this year, said that Wisconsin joined the picture this spring and the fit seemed right.

"Wisconsin started reaching out to me about a month ago saying they had some interest in me, and then a little while after that I was offered a spot and they invited me out for a visit," McGrory told Badger Blitz. "I was extremely interested right from the start and was glad everything happened so quickly.

In the end, it was the opportunity to play in the Big Ten that helped McGrory decide.

“I’m an extreme competitor who wants to play against the best, and there’s no higher level than the Big Ten,” McGrory told Badger Blitz. “It was a difficult choice but I knew Wisconsin was what I wanted. My family was very supportive of my decision, which helped a lot.”

McGrory, who can play both guard positions, should add depth to a Wisconsin backcourt that is in transition after the graduation of Bronson Koenig and Zak Showalter. With veteran Jordan Hill also transferring to Seattle last month, the Badgers are left with little experience in the backcourt.

The Badgers are going into the 2017-18 season with sophomore guards D’Mitrik Trice and Brevin Pritzl expected to get the bulk of the minutes. The Badgers will also bring back 6-foot-5 junior Khalil Iverson, who is much more of a forward at this point in his career.

Trice is likely entrenched as the starting point guard after showing promise as a freshman, averaging 5.6 points and 1.7 assists per game and making two starts while Koenig was out with an injury. Pritzl played just 8.1 minutes per game as a redshirt freshman and may be tested by a pair of highly-regarded incoming freshman.

Guards Brad Davison and Kobe King are part of Wisconsin’s four-man 2017 recruiting class that also includes McGrory and big man Nathan Reuvers. Davison, a four-star recruit out of Minnesota, and King, Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball and AP Player of the Year, will both have the opportunity to earn playing time immediately.

While Koenig was Wisconsin’s leading scorer at 14.5 points per game last season, the Badgers will also need to replace the intangibles that Koenig and Showalter provided the last couple years.

Wisconsin has a history of adding walk-on guards late in the recruiting process, including Showalter, who averaged 8.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season.

The Badgers added a trio of players last April, including walk-on guard Michael Ballard, who redshirted this past season. The Badgers have shown they’re not afraid to redshirt walk-ons, as Showalter also redshirted during his five-year career at Wisconsin.