Almost five years since the exit of former Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan, the Badgers are firmly in the age of Greg Gard.
That said, the two tenures look very similar with their patent swing offense often run by caricatures of their predecessors. But a notable difference is the fact that all players on the roster from here on out will have been scouted and recruited by Gard rather than Ryan, who landed iconic players like Sam Dekker and Bronson Koenig.
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Last Wednesday, Gard added to his list of landed recruits when 2022 shooting guard Connor Essegian announced his commitment to play for the Badgers. Following two solid seasons of recruitment, Essegian is the first major signing for the Badgers’ 2022 class.
In past seasons where high-level players have chosen to tumble down to the South, Essegian notably singed with the Badgers over Wake Forest and obvious third choice Minnesota. While hailing from Indiana rather than Sheboygan, Essegian gives off powerful Dekker tendencies, sporting a deadly step-back jumper and an attitude that suits the Wisconsin system.
Standing at a strong 6’4″ with a broad frame, Essegian was a pure scorer in his junior season at Central Noble, averaging 25 points while netting threes at a 40% clip.
Essegian’s strong frame not only leads to frankly disrespectful plays in the paint but also adds a massive wrinkle on his defense. Even with springy legs and broad shoulders, the most impressive aspect of Essegian’s game is his jump shot.
When watching high school basketball, it often can be boring to see the same six-foot-something white guy toss bombs from near half-court, and it is in this fact that Essegian breaks the mold.
Essegian’s quick release allows him to shoot off a dime and run off screens for a shot he loads up as the ball approaches. As Gard continues to build his legacy with the Badgers, it would not be surprised to see the name Connor Essegian be mentioned down the line as a gem in his recruiting crown.