After four years and 150 games, the careers of Wisconsin Basketball’s senior class of Bronson Koenig, Nigel Hayes, Zak Showalter, and Vitto Brown are over. It hurts to write. It’s almost surreal knowing that they will never wear a Badger jersey again. This senior class will go down as perhaps the most accomplished class in Wisconsin Basketball history. They made two Final Fours and four Sweet Sixteens. They helped make the transition from the Bo Ryan era to the Greg Gard era as seamless and painless as possible.
Despite the fact that all four seasons ended in heartbreak (Aaron Harrison, Duke, Notre Dame collapse, Chiozza), this senior class was an absolute joy to watch. They gave Wisconsin fans some great memories and moments that will be treasured forever. I decided to rank the top 10 moments from the Wisconsin Senior class, starting with 10-6.
- Zak Showalter put-back slam against Notre Dame
- 2015-16 upset over Diamond Stone and #2 Maryland on the road, cemented by Vitto Brown’s breakaway dunk.
- Bronson Koenig’s personal 10-0 run with six minutes to go to beat Michigan
Number 10: Bronson Koenig Game-Winner against VCU
— UN/TRAIN (@mikeleewhois) November 23, 2015
Bronson Koenig is the most clutch player in Wisconsin Basketball history, and it isn’t particularly close. Every time the Badgers needed a big bucket, Koenig came through. This spin and finish against VCU in the 2015 2K Classic was a perfect example of that. I could make a separate top-ten list of just Koenig clutch plays if I wanted to, but this one was definitely my favorite regular season one.
Number 9: Showy Game-Tying Three/Discount Double Check
This was such an amazing, epic play. It deserves to go down in Wisconsin history as more than just a footnote. This probably would have been featured on One Shining Moment if not for what came minutes later. Ugh. But that still doesn’t take away from how great this play was. It also capped off the furious comeback from 12 down with five minutes to go and seven down with two minutes to go. This team was all fight and all heart. There was just no quit. Ever. That, along with the play which tied it, deserves to be remembered and celebrated.
Number 8: Off the court stars
As good as this group was on the hardwood, they will be remembered just as much for what they did off of it. Again this could have been an entirely separate article, but I decided to combine it all into one category.
Nigel Hayes was the best personality in college hoops. It started with his funny, goofy “Nigel Burgundy” videos that made waves during their first Final Four run. Then came his stenographer incidents that made him a national media darling in the second final four run. Hayes was a joy to follow. But it wasn’t just his funny moments that made him special.
Whether you agreed or disagreed with his politics, his ability to stand up for what he believes in and defend his position eloquently was remarkable. The difference he made in the Shultz family’s life was also truly special.
Like Hayes, Koenig was also able to make a huge difference outside of basketball. His role in being a role model and leader for young Native Americans everywhere is far more important than anything he has done on the court. Vitto Brown was also no slouch off the court. His rendition of the National Anthem before the 2015 Final Four was beautiful.
This Wisconsin senior class represented the school with outstanding class, and made me proud to be a Badger.
Number 7: Seniors Carry Load against Virginia Tech
In a tight NCAA Tournament game, Wisconsin’s seniors did exactly what they were supposed to do: Lead. Bronson Koenig had a career-high 28 points, including a Wisconsin NCAA Tournament recored eight three-pointers. Nigel Hayes chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds. With sophomore Ethan Happ in foul trouble, Wisconsin’s dynamic senior duo stepped up and carried the Badgers to the finish line.
Number 6: 2015 Big Ten Championship Game
For most of the 2015-16 season, Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig served as role players. They were good, but it was Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker that carried the load. With the Badgers facing their biggest deficit of the entire season, it was Koenig and Hayes that stepped up and took over the game. Bronson Koenig had 18-points and a career-high nine assists. He also hit the two clutch (surprise, surprise) to send the game into overtime. Meanwhile, Hayes had a game-high 25 points. That game, the highest rated non-NCAA tournament game of the season, gave the Badgers momentum and confidence heading into the Big Dance. It also showed Badger fans what was to come post-Frank, Sam, and Josh.
Former Badger Jon Leur traded to Milwaukee Bucks
They say you can always go home, and for one former Wisconsin Badger he’s coming back to a state he called home for four years.
Former Badgers forward Jon Leuer was traded early on Thursday morning from the Detroit Pistons to the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange for Leuer, the Bucks gave up the 30th overall pick in tonight’s NBA Draft and traded away Tony Snell.
Last season, Leuer played in 41 games for the Pistons and made just one start. He averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his ninth season in the NBA.
Leuer is a very similar player to Snell, but comes at a much more team-friendly salary.
In trading away Snell, the Bucks free up an additional $4 million in salary this year and another $12 million next year.
This could be seen as a way for the Bucks to pony up the big money that Khris Middleton wants from the team in order to stay in Milwaukee.
As for Leuer, he is 17th on the all-time Badgers scoring list with 1,376 points to his name. He also finished his career with 551 rebounds.
Leuer’s final season in Madison was his best statistically, as he helped lead the 2010-11 Badgers team to the Sweet 16. He averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game that year.
Badgers basketball land Davis twins
After missing out on the Hauser brothers late last month, the Wisconsin Badgers added a different pair of siblings on Saturday night.
Following an offer to the brother of 4-star shooting guard Johnny Davis and an appearance at a team camp this weekend, the Davis brothers announced their pledge to the Badgers according to Badger247.
It took less than a week after head coach Greg Gard gave the O.K. to offer Jordan for the pair to commit to Wisconsin.
Johnny held offers from Marquette, West Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, DePaul, UNLV and others.
Jordan had offers from UW-Milwaukee and Green Bay, while also becoming a sought after recruit on the football field as well. Once he became serious about wanting to play basketball first, it seemed like a matter of time before Wisconsin offered.
That time came after seeing Jordan play in a camp last weekend.
It also came because it was time to figure out if Johnny was serious about the Badgers or not.
With the July evaluation period coming up, Wisconsin’s coaching staff put the final chips in the middle with this recruitment and it appeared to pay off.
Johnny joins as the No. 141 ranked player in the country and the No. 14 ranked combo guard in the nation according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
The twins will join Detroit, Mich. native Lorne Bowman in the 2020 class.
Wisconsin still has one scholarship available in the class as well, which is likely being held for 5-star and Wisconsin native Jalen Johnson.
After missing out on talented in-state players over and over again, this was a major win for Gard and his coaching staff considering how hard schools like West Virginia and Marquette were after Johnny’s commitment.
As for Jordan, it appears the coaching staff believes he is improving enough to get a scholarship and continue his improvement with this program.
Offers don’t come out just because it may win over a different recruit at Wisconsin. That wasn’t Bo Ryan’s style and it also isn’t Greg Gard’s style.
The trio of players put the Badgers at No. 8 in the country and No. 3 in the Big Ten in the 2020 class as of today.
Former Badgers get No. 2 seed in The Basketball Tournament Columbus regional
Who doesn’t want $2 million? That’s the prize at stake for winning The Basketball Tournament and a group of former Wisconsin Badgers want in.
On Tuesday it was officially announced that the Kohl Blooded team — spearheaded by former Badgers point guard Kam Taylor — will be the No. 2 seed in the Columbus regional.
They will take on No. 7 seed Mid-American Unity, which is making its second appearance in the TBT after a year off. That group represents teams from across the Mid-American conference.
As for the Badgers, the roster will be made up of some very strong names from the past. The headline names include members of the back-to-back Final Four teams in Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown. Also joining will be Jordan Taylor, Ryan Evans, Trevon Hughes and recent grad Charles Thomas. You can see the full roster here.
The regionals will take place July 19-21 in Columbus with the winner of this regional meeting seven other winners in Chicago for championship week.
All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, so you should be able to find them either streaming or on cable television.
Kohl Blooded vs. Mid-American Unity will tip at 1pm ET on Friday, July 19.
The winner will take on the winner of Red Scare (Dayton alumni) and The Region (players from Northwest Indiana) in the regional semi-final the next day.
Badgers play final card in attempt to land 2020 G Johnny Davis
A week after losing out on Joey and Sam Hauser, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program needs some positive momentum on the player acquisition front.
With three scholarships available in the 2020 class and two top in-state players in their sites, the Badgers coaching staff has been about as patient as possible.
On Wednesday, Badger247 reports that UW has offered Jordan Davis, the twin brother of top target Johnny Davis. It’s not a walk-on or grayshirt, but a full scholarship offer.
After two years of waiting for that offer to come, it finally did.
Jordan is an unranked player in basketball at this time, but I expect that to change once the scouting services catch wind of this offer. Johnny Davis is the No. 131 ranked player in the country, a 4-star rated prospect and the No. 3 ranked player in the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 class.
With the brothers set to make a weekend visit for team camp in two weeks, this is a move that undoubtably puts the pressure squarely on Johnny Davis at this point.
Simply put, the Badgers need to know if Davis is going to commit or if they need to move on.
Offering Jordan a full ride is about the only thing left in the Badgers quiver at this point. If getting the dream of playing basketball together at the same school and in-state no less doesn’t tip the scales, at least the Badgers know they can move on.
Is it a desperate move? In some ways one could see it as such. Clearly the Badgers want Johnny in a major way and they see offering Jordan as a critical move that could separate themselves from the competition.
However, this also isn’t a coaching staff willing to just throw away a scholarship in an effort to get a coveted player to play for them. That’s simply not Greg Gard’s style.
Jordan is also a player they see as a contributor, or he wasn’t getting an offer. Plain and simple.
There’s no doubt that this move ups the pressure, like I mentioned before. But, that’s not a bad thing, as UW needs to know where they stand heading in to July’s evaluation period.
If the Davis brothers can’t commit or at least internally give the coaching staff the information that will make them feel comfortable, they need to start getting offers out to other big time players whom they’ve been waiting to offer.
Consider UW is an underdog to land in-state five-star prospect Jalen Johnson, and you have to consider this move a smart one for the long term prospects of the 2020 class.
Will the Davis twins jump at the offer to play together at Wisconsin?
Some in the recruiting world believe this was the situation that was holding Wisconsin back all along. So, don’t be surprised to see this affect the recruitment of both players in a big way.
As for Jordan, his game has also caught the attention of Iowa and Minnesota and he did have scholarship offers from both Green Bay and Milwaukee prior to this one.
What may have really held the Badgers coaching staff and others back was the fact that Jordan is also a good player on the football side and wasn’t sure which sport he wanted to pick.
It seems like UW has gotten the clue that Jordan may be more receptive to a basketball future and pulled the trigger on the offer.
We’ll see how much longer the two stay uncommitted, but don’t be surprised to see something happen following July’s AAU season.
Letting that play out and getting all the offers out there on the table is just a smart move for the twins. From there, it’s up to them and clearly the Badgers have left no stone unturned in this situation.
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