After a disappointing 2017-18 basketball season that ended their consecutive tournament appearances at 19 seasons, the Badgers are looking to bounce back and start a new streak.
Other than departing seniors Aaron Moesch, TJ Schlundt and Matt Ferris — who all played limited minutes — this Badger basketball team is returning every key player from last year’s team as well as adding several freshmen to the roster.
Although there are no huge names coming in the fall, Coach Greg Gard still managed to add some talent to his roster that should help for years to come. This being said, freshmen typically haven’t played much for the Badgers, and this will likely remain true for 2018-19.
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Strickland, the son of former NBA player Rod Strickland is 6’2” and 180 pounds. He averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists at his high school in Tampa Bay, Florida last season. Though Strickland will likely be third on the depth chart for point guard behind D’Mitrick Trice and Trevor Anderson, he may be an important contributor by the time his junior season rolls around in 2020-21.
Taylor Currie is a 6’8”, 205-pound forward from Michigan who had a successful high school career, including his school’s first ever championship. Gard expects him to be an important part of the Wisconsin basketball culture and someone who can stretch defenses with his ability to shoot three-point shots. He will also be deep on the depth chart behind Nate Reuvers and Alex Illikainen and will likely get limited playing time this year if he does not redshirt.
In addition to Strickland and Currie, Wisconsin will be adding two walk-on players in center Joe Hedstrom and guard Carter Higginbottom. Hedstrom is from the Minnesota high school powerhouse Hopkins and is 7’0” and 225 pounds. He will likely spend most, if not all, of the 2018-19 season on the bench behind Ethan Happ, Charles Thomas, Reuvers and Illikainen in the frontcourt, but could potentially see some major playtime by the time he is a senior. Wisconsin has been undersized in the frontcourt recently, so if Hedstrom develops like the Badgers hope he does, he could be a very key addition to this team.
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The latter signing, Higginbottom, committed in February as a preferred walk-on. He went to high school in Illinois and is likely to be deep in the depth chart for point guard, behind Trice, Brad Davison, Trevor Anderson and Brevin Pritzl. Expect Higginbottom to receive a redshirt this upcoming season. Both of these walk-ons will more than likely be a non-factor on the court in 2018-19, but look out for them in a couple years.
Although this isn’t the flashiest recruiting class, Wisconsin has had many comparable classes in recent years and has nearly always managed to make the most of every prospect. Strickland, Currie, Hedstrom and Higginbottom may not be big names in summer 2018, but history has shown that you should never count out Wisconsin’s recruits.