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Wisconsin Basketball In Search of Future Playmakers

With the graduating of Ethan Happ, Badgers seek next man up

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

After the Wisconsin Badger season ended in a disappointing loss to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers will look to improve next season. The Badgers will also have to overcome the loss of two key seniors in Ethan Happ and Khalil Iverson.

Recently named the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award winner, Ethan Happ will prove to be a huge loss for the Badgers. As the only player in the country to average more than 15 points, 10 rebound and four assists, along with two triple doubles, Ethan Happ has been a playmaker at Wisconsin since players like Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker left.

The athletically gifted Khalil Iverson will also be greatly missed in the Wisconsin program. Iverson seemed to find his confidence late in his Badger career, but it is no doubt a wish of Badger fans to keep him for one more year.

The question for Greg Gard’s continuously growing team is, who is the next great Badger playmaker? The Badgers have many options for this role that could have been suppressed the last couple of seasons due to the overbearing presence of Happ.

The first option for the Badgers is redshirt Junior D’mitrik Trice. After returning from injury during the 2017-2018 season, Trice proved his ability to knock down clutch shots from the three-point line and the free throw line. He was the second leading scorer for the Badgers and will most likely be looked upon as the go-to playmaker for next year’s Badger team.

Continuing with guard play, incoming junior Brad Davison will look to take more reps for this Badger team during the upcoming season as well. Davison was the stand out freshman for the Badgers after both Trice and Kobe King went down with injuries during the 2017-2018 season. During his second year, Davison was known more as a defensive presence, but will look to combine his first two seasons for another stand out season to come.

Another guard support could come from senior Brevin Pritzl who put up good numbers for the Badgers late in last year’s season.

While both Happ and Iverson provided some height for Wisconsin, the Badgers will need to find another big man to score next season as well. Wisconsin has the options of Nate Reuvers, Kobe King and Aleem Ford at their disposal.

Reuvers was thrown into his freshman year due to injury and while Wisconsin was able to find some offensive support from him, he needed more preparation. Reuvers put on 35 pounds of muscle over the off season and came back as more of a threat for the Badgers in 2019. The Badgers will look for him to continue to develop as he will most likely take the reps down low in-place of Happ.

King and Ford will potentially battle for the final stating spot depending of is Gard goes big or small in his lineup. Either way, Wisconsin will seek out more opportunities to work in both King and Ford’s shooting and driving abilities.

The Badges will also explore the option of acquiring the Hauser brothers via transfer from Marquette. Both Sam Hauser and Joey Hauser are Wisconsin natives and played high school ball with Badger Trevor Anderson. They would fit in nicely with the Badger’s in need of some size and versatility.

Final options for Wisconsin will come by Ohio State transfer Micah Potter, redshirt freshmen Joe Hedstrom and seven-footer Owen Hamilton.