The offseason is here for Wisconsin Badgers Basketball. There will be some summer activities, but we won’t see any meaningful basketball until November. This past season wasn’t one the Badgers will be proud of. They missed the NCAA Tournament for the second time in five seasons. It’s not good enough. There wasn’t a player that stood out consistently, and that will need to change.
Here are three players that need to rebound and have a better 2023 season.
Wisconsin Badgers Bounceback Candidate 1: Tyler Wahl
Tyler Wahl will be using his COVID-19 year and will be back with the Wisconsin Badgers. He will be the first to tell you it was a tough senior year for him last year. He averaged 11.3 points a game and was a good rebounder, but was too inconsistent. He did miss two weeks with an ankle injury and was not the same player. Prior to the injury, he was playing really well and was on his way to an all-conference season.
I have said this a few times, but Wahl needs to develop a jump shot by next season. He is really good at the rim, but defenses know they don’t have to defend him outside the paint. That becomes tough for him, and they will just crowd him at the rim. That leads to turnovers, and it did on several occasions last season. I expect Wahl to bounce back, assuming he stays healthy all year.
Wisconsin Badgers Bounceback Candidate 2: Chucky Hepburn
It’s weird to say a team’s leading scorer needs to have a bounce-back year the following year. However, this is the situation with Chucky Hepburn. Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard also needs to decide if Hepburn is his closer or not. It’s not a big part of Chucky’s game to be a closer, and it showed this past year. He took too many low-percentage shots and was asked to shoot a ton. That is not a part of his game.
With the addition of AJ Storr and a sophomore year from Connor Essegian, I expect the offensive load to lessen for Hepburn. He could benefit the most from the shooters he will have around him. This will give him a chance to be more of a facilitator and less stress to put up an end-of-possession shot. He’s a 41% three-point shooter, so he should benefit more as a spot-up shooter.
Wisconsin Badgers Bounceback Candidate 3: Carter Gilmore
It’s pretty simple for Carter Gilmore next season. He has to be able to shoot the ball from anywhere, or his playing time will diminish. With Gus Yalden joining the Wisconsin Badgers next season, I do expect Gilmore’s minutes to be shortened already. He did play 19 minutes a game but was too much of an offensive liability. Opposing defenses knew that too and avoided him altogether when outside the paint.
If Gilmore can’t get a respectable jump shot, it’s hard to see how much of a role he will have in 2023. He knows that, too, and I expect him to work on that this summer. I love his hustle and his ability to defend as an undersized five. However, if you can’t shoot and have a freshman coming in who can shoot and plays the same position as you, it could be a matter of time before playing time decreases.
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Dylan, is there anyone else that you would like to throw under the bus ?
You are entitled to your opinion, but always remember you’re a sports writer and no coach. Greg Gard and team can do without all the negativity!