When the 2019-2020 men’s basketball team made their miraculous late-season run at a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, excited Badger fans were quick to note the team’s combination of youth and experience. With a core of key juniors who ultimately returned in 2020, fans marveled at the Badgers opportunity to exceed last spring and in the future.
Unfortunately, with the banning of all postseason play last spring due to COVID-19, Badger fans never got the chance to brag about any potential postseason success and then back it up with comments about how good the 2020 Badgers will be.
At least we are hopeful the basketball season will still happen this year come November. We can still brag about how good this 2020-21 Badger team will be.
So who are these familiar faces and who else can we expect quality minutes from?
The Badgers will bring one of the most experienced teams in the country into 2020 and a big part of that experience comes from the backcourt.
D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison combined bring 170 starts into their final year at Wisconsin. Both players averaged just under 10 points per game last season and both have been fairly exceptional from beyond the arc in their careers.
Most importantly, these two guards know what it means to play Badger basketball under Head Coach Greg Gard. Trice and Davison have played in big games, whether that be against conference rivals on the road or in the NCAA Tournament. In their playstyle, they bring the grit and tenacity that is necessary for Big Ten guards to succeed.
Quality veteran guard play has been an indicator of a deep tournament run in the past. Expect nothing new here. Trice and Davison will be your starting guards for the 2020-21 season.
The frontcourt will bring back two starters as well as a third key player off the bench.
Coming off his best season, redshirt-senior forward Aleem Ford brings 95 games, and 51 starts to the table. At 6-foot-8, Ford is a shooter with more than half of his shot attempts coming from deep.
At times during the beginning of the last season, it felt like Ford was a little one-dimensional, holding himself back from everything he could provide his team. But his improved play and increased aggression on the court is what helped the Badgers be so effective in the final eight games of the season. In this stretch, he averaged 10 points and six rebounds per game.
Gard and company will look for Ford to pick up where he left off while continuing to stroke the ball from deep. You can expect Aleem Ford as your starting small forward in 2020-21.
With the departure of Ethan Happ, forward Nate Reuvers made his presence known last season. With an increase in overall usage, Reuvers became the primary option in an extremely balanced offense. Like Ford, fans hope Reuvers can continue to work on establishing himself down low and help provide the team with the versatility it needs to be a contender. Reuvers will be one of your two starting big men in 2020-21.
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At times last year, Micah Potter looked like the best player on the Badgers. The former transfer from the Ohio State had to sit out the first portion of the year due to NCAA transfer guidelines, but when he became eligible he injected the Badgers with fresh energy, a skillset and a playstyle they desperately needed.
In just under 18 minutes a game, Potter was the ultimate sixth man. His double-digit scoring came from efficient play beyond the arc and around the rim. He also became the team’s best rebounder. He brought an aggression on both sides of the ball that made Wisconsin far more dangerous down the stretch.
Despite having so much success off the bench last year, the departure of Brevin Pritzl indicates a clear necessity for Potter to start in 2020. He meshes so well with the other four seniors. Potter will be the fifth senior to start during the 2020-2021 season, alongside Reuvers down low.
Stay tuned later this week for information on the rest of the Badgers rotation. Sixth and seventh men, our picks to click, dark horse candidates and much more.