Bon Voyage! Wisconsin Badgers Men’s basketball leaves today for an exhibition tour in France. In addition, this young squad will get to do some historic sightseeing along the way. Admittedly, as a traveler I envy the opportunities and culture the team will get to experience. However, as a fan, it is the development and cohesiveness of the team I am most concerned about.
Bonjour! The Badgers will take a 10-day, 4-game trip to France this summer.
Learn more about our foreign trip 🇫🇷https://t.co/73LVgyKMMV— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) July 14, 2022
NCAA rules state that every four years a team can go on an international trip. Furthermore, these trips and exhibitions must be done during the summer. Also, Coach Gard gets to hold 10 bonus practices in preparation. Badgers are embarking on a 10-day, 4-game journey through France where they’ll play three different teams. Here’s a peak at that schedule:
WISCONSIN’S INTERNATIONAL SCHEDULE
Aug. 7-10 | Paris
- Game 1 vs. Paris All-Stars – Aug. 10 (10 a.m. CT)
Aug. 11-13 | Lyon
- Game 2 vs. Lyon All-Stars – Aug. 12 (noon CT)
- Game 3 vs. Lyon All-Stars – Aug. 13 (noon CT)
Aug. 14-17 | Nice
- Game 4 vs. Azurea Club de Golfe – Aug. 15 (noon CT)
Hopes for Badgers Hoops
Above all, Badger Nation hopes that these young men bond and grow on this trip. But we also hope to catch a glimpse of what this season will have to offer. We have some key players returning and several fresh faces looking to contribute immediately.
First and foremost, we have a Big 3 returning to hardwood for the Badgers. Big Ten All-Freshman Team select, Chucky Hepburn, looks to build off an impressive freshman campaign. Undoubtedly, the point guard has a chance to be the top PG in the conference. Then there is Tyler Wahl. All-Big Ten Honorable mention last season; he’s your prototypical Badger fan favorite. He’s our glue guy, an ultimate hustler, out there doing a little bit of everything. Potentially our only senior in the starting lineup, look for Wahl to be the leader of this team. Next up is the junior center, Steven Crowl. The 7-footer looks to improve his 3 point shot to help stretch the floor. Like Chucky, Crowl is in a position to have a breakout season if he takes the right steps forward.
Following the 3 starters from last year, are developing returners, transfers, and freshman. The final two spots in the starting lineup could start taking shape in the land of L’Hexagone. Returnees like Jordan Davis (Jr.), Jahcobi Neath (Sr.), Isaac Lindsey (So.), Markus Ilver (So.), Chris Hodges (So.) and Carter Gilmore (Jr.) look to earn more minutes or a spot in the starting rotation. They’ll also have to compete with transfers Kamari McGee (So.) and Max Klesmit (Jr.). McGee, transferring from UWGB, was named to the Horizon All-Freshman team last year. Klesmit, transferring from Wofford, was named Third Team All-Southern Conference in 2021-22.
As for freshman, I only see Connor Essegian earning meaningful minutes as a shooter off the bench. Other freshman that will be doing a lot of learning on this trip are Ross Candelino, Isaac Gard, and Luke Haertle. Outside of the transfers and Essegian, this years recruiting class was down from expectations.
Prédiction pour les Badgers
One can predict some outstanding play from the three returning starters. Look for them to lead the team in all statistical categories on this trip. We’ll witness some impressive dimes from Chucky, shutdown D from Wahl, and stronger Crowl asserting himself on both sides of the floor. Importantly, since these are just exhibitions, expect them to play with a variety of lineups and experiment with new plays. They will go deep into their bench each game to see what the new blood brings to the team.
Expect the Badgers to go 2-2 in France. Bucky will have their hands full as they compete against professionals. As much fun as winning is, player development and chemistry trumps all here. After these four games we will have a better idea of what the starting 5 should be and who we can count on off the bench.
This is the beginning to the Badgers earning an 8-seed to March Madness.
Starters upon return
- Chucky Hepburn
- Max Klesmit
- Jordan Davis
- Tyler Wahl
- Steven Crowl
Big Ten Badgers Coverage
Last but not least, will we be able to watch any of these games? As it stands right now I have not found any information on if these games will be televised or streamed. But, what we do know is that the Big Ten Network will be following and documenting the Badgers international adventure. Sometime this season look for this docuseries to air on BTN, entitled “The B1G Trip.”