The members of Wisconsin’s senior class have all taken different paths to end up where they are today. The group–made up of scholarship players, walk-ons, transfers, and redshirts–has come together to overcome adversity, set records, and win championships.
While this season may not have lived up to our expectations or ended the way Badger Nation was hoping it would, the accomplishments of these players and everything they have done for this program should not be overlooked. Though the NCAA isn’t counting this season against players’ eligibility, giving these seniors the ability to play another season, it appears that most, if not all, have decided to end their collegiate careers. Here’s a look back at each senior who has given their all to the Wisconsin basketball program.
Trice came to Wisconsin as Greg Gard’s first official signee as head coach. His journey to Madison was untraditional but worked out extremely well. Trice backed up Badger great Bronson Koenig during his true freshman year, flashing signs of what was yet to come. His freshman season included a trip to the Sweet 16 after an upset win over top-seeded Villanova in the tournament. An injury his sophomore year forced him to redshirt, but Trice came back stronger the next few years. Handling the majority of the team’s point guard duties, Trice flourished. His strong play during the Badgers’ late season title run last year was a huge part of the team’s turn around.
Throughout his career, Trice has started over 100 games. A 1,000 point scorer, he leaves the program with his name all over the Wisconsin record book. Trice became the first player in school history to record 1,000 points, 300 rebounds, and 300 assists by his junior season. During the tournament, he became second all-time in three-point shots made and assists in Wisconsin basketball history. He is also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten student. During his senior campaign, he led the team in minutes played, three-point shots made, scoring, and assists. For his efforts, he was rewarded with Third-Team All-Big Ten honors; he was the only Badger to earn all-conference accolades. Replacing Trice’s scoring, passing, and ball handling abilities, along with his leadership skills, will be incredibly tough going forward.
An added bonus to Greg Gard’s recruitment of D’Mitrik Trice, Aleem Ford has been a complete all-around player for Wisconsin. Ford, originally from Georgia, was Trice’s teammate at IMG Academy in Florida. While recruiting Trice, the Badger coaches came to know Ford and eventually offered him a scholarship. The two signed together, making Ford Gard’s second official signee as head man. Despite being the only player not hailing from the Midwest during his five-year tenure at Wisconsin, Ford has embodied what being a Badger is about.
After redshirting his freshman season, Ford’s game developed immensely, which allowed him to be a threat both from deep and in the post. He joined a long list of Badger forwards who were able to hit shots from anywhere on the court. Ford was also a versatile defender. He was frequently assigned to defend other teams’ best players, and could guard opposing teams’ 3-5 if needed. Ford was consistent during his time at Wisconsin, starting every game his junior and senior seasons. Ford oftentimes flew under opposing teams’ radars, but always stepped up when the team needed him most. He wasn’t phenomenal or flashy at one thing; instead, he was good at everything. Wisconsin will miss Ford’s consistency, experience, and offensive and defensive versatility.
The Original Members
The Badgers’ original class of 2021 included three scholarship players: Brad Davison, Kobe King, and Nate Reuvers. According to ESPN, the class ranked number 36 in the country at the time. Walt McGrory joined the trio as a walk on. Kobe King left the program midway through the 2019-2020 season.
Davison was a standout athlete at Maple Grove High School (MN), where he excelled in both football and basketball. He chose Wisconsin over multiple other offers from BIG 10 schools, including Northwestern and Michigan. His impact was felt immediately after he stepped on campus. Davison has started over 120 games for the Badgers throughout his career, including 29 games as a true freshman. He battled through a shoulder injury his freshman year but finished the season out, earning himself a spot on the Big 10’s all-freshman squad. The team’s emotional leader, Davison never shied away from leading or big moments. Throughout his career, he made several game winning plays/shots. Depending on team needs, his role changed over his four years in Madison, making his stats look a bit inconsistent. However, during his senior season, he shot a career high 39% from long range.
Tough mentally and physically, Davison sacrificed his body for his team, drawing a record amount of charges throughout his career. During his time at Wisconsin, Davison often became a target of other players, coaches, commentators, and officials. He never let this negativity stop him from leading his team or leaving his heart on the floor every game. His undeniable passion and love for the game was evident to everyone who watched him play. He leaves Wisconsin as a 1,000 point scorer and the leader in three-point shots made as a freshman. He is also an Academic All-Big Ten honoree. Replacing Davison’s offensive and defensive capabilities, leadership, experience, and passion will be extremely difficult going forward.
Reuvers continued the tradition of Minnesota kids crossing state lines to play at Wisconsin. After a great prep career at Lakeview North High School (MN), Reuvers chose UW over Minnesota. Reuvers also continued the tradition of Wisconsin big men stretching the floor, scoring both down low and outside. He started his true freshman season as a redshirt, but ended up playing after injuries plagued the Badgers. Reuvers spent valuable time learning from Badger great Ethan Happ his first two seasons, which showed during his junior campaign. Reuvers led the Badgers in scoring and blocks and was second in rebounding his junior year. He was awarded Third-Team All-Big Ten honors after his breakout season. Reuvers was the only Badger to receive all-conference accolades, despite the team winning the league’s regular season title.
Though high expectations were placed on Reuvers heading into his senior season, he fell into a slump. Reuvers acknowledged his production regression, but continued to play hard and be a team player. He broke UW’s all time block record during his senior campaign, breaking his former mentor Happ’s top number. He was also an Academic All-Big Ten selection. The Badgers will miss Reuvers’s size under the basket, experience, and shot-blocking ability.
McGrory joined Wisconsin as a walk-on, turning down Division I offers from Brown, Drake, Furman, Maine, and South Dakota State. McGrory finished his prep career as Edina High School’s (MN) all-time leading scorer, amassing 2,126 career points. As a Badger, he became an Academic All-Big Ten student while serving as a valuable member of the scout team. He was a loyal friend to his fellow Badgers and a supportive teammate on the sidelines at each game. McGrory had a career day against McNeese State his junior year, playing a career high 24 minutes and finishing with nine points, two assists and two rebounds.
Despite being the newest member to the class, Potter has had one of the biggest impacts. The big man started his career at Ohio State, playing two seasons with the Buckeyes before transferring to Wisconsin. After a drawn out eligibility struggle with the NCAA, Potter played his first game as a Badger midway through the 2019-2020 season, 644 days after his last game with the Buckeyes. He showed his value as soon as he stepped on the court. Potter would go on to play in all of Wisconsin’s remaining games and was a key factor in UW’s mid-season turnaround that culminated in a league title. He averaged 10.3 points and 6.3 assists per game, and shot 47% from three-point range during conference play.
In his senior season, Potter led UW in rebounding and was second in scoring while shooting 51% from the field. During his career, he provided Wisconsin with a physical presence under the basket while also shooting efficiently from deep. He was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten recipient and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Potter may also have a lasting impact on the program beyond his time in Madison. Coach Gard and his staff haven’t been very aggressive in recruiting transfer players to come to Wisconsin. However, Potter’s success might encourage them to reconsider their ways and bring in more players looking for a fresh start. The Badgers will miss Potter’s physicality, offensive versatility, and athleticism.
Anderson enjoyed a prolific high school career that included back-to-back state championships at SPASH and co-Wisconsin Mr. Basketball honors. He also became the eighth highest scorer in Wisconsin high school basketball history with 2,360 points. He started his collegiate career at UW-Green Bay before deciding to transfer after one season with the Phoenix. Anderson decided to walk-on to Wisconsin to fulfill his dream of playing for the Badgers. He sat out the 2017-18 season because of transfer requirements and suffered a season ending knee injury the next season.
Though he battled multiple injuries during his time at UW, Anderson always provided a spark when his number was called. He became a key role player off the bench for Wisconsin during their Big 10 title run last year. His senior year, Anderson expanded his role and earned more minutes due to his consistent play as backup point guard. UW will miss his experience, steadiness, and energy off the bench.
Thank you, Badger seniors! You’ve made us proud and given us moments we will remember forever. You will be missed.
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Nice article. I am sure they did not win as much as they or the fans wanted. However we should all be proud of these fine young men and how they represented themselves and THE UW!