5. Nate Reuvers
Nate Reuvers is 5th on my list as his career is still in progress. You could make the argument that Reuvers is more of a Power Forward but played his Junior season at Center, replacing Happ as the team’s best low post defender and big man. Reuvers has been a treat to watch grow and mature on the court. His Freshman year he probably should’ve redshirted but due to lack of depth, the Lakeville North, Minnesota native was thrown into the fire. Reuvers baptism early in his career is likely what made him a key contributor the past couple seasons. Reuvers was third team All Big Ten this past season and if his development continues, he should be vying for at least a second team spot. Not to mention, Reuvers is likely to leave Wisconsin as the programs all time leader in blocked shots.
4. Jared Berggren
One of my favorite Badger big men I remember watching (I’m 19 years old) was Jared Berggren. The 6-10 Forward/Center is from the Badgers favorite state (Minnesota). Berggren wasn’t nearly the most talented player on the court, yet put together a strong career at Wisconsin. Berggren burst onto the scene as a Junior, averaging 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds per game, and showed the ability to step out and knockdown a three, shooting 37.2% beyond the arc. During Berggren’s Senior season he averaged 11 points and 6.9 rebounds, earning second team all Big Ten in 2013. Berggren still ranks 4th all time in blocked shots at Wisconsin.
3. Brian Butch
The 2003 Wisconsin Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All American Brian Butch didnt quite live up to his 5 star potential. What he did give Wisconsin was a pillar of consistency from the Center spot. In his first full season as a starter in 2005-06, Butch averaged 9.9 points, and 6 rebounds while shooting a career best 49.4% from the field. The Appleton native followed that up with a similar Junior campaign averaging 8.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Butch saved his best season for his last as he finished with 12.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game earning First-team All-Big Ten his senior season. It wasn’t the most spectacular career for a 5 star recruit, but it certainly wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. If Butch never got hurt in 2007, who knows what could have been.
2. Ethan Happ
A jack of all trades, Ethan Happ had the most consistent production of the group during his 4 years as a Badger. Happ burst onto the scene as a Redshirt Freshman averaging 12.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.3 assists, 0.9 blocks per game, becoming Big Ten Freshman of the year. Happ’s numbers improved each season in every statistical category (except steals), finishing his Senior season with 17.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1 steal, and 1.2 blocks per game. He was Wisconsin’s best facilitator in the latter half of his Wisconsin career. The Milan, Illinois native was a 3 time First team All Big Ten from 2017-19, Third team All-American in 2017 and second team All-American in 2019.
1. Frank Kaminsky
Frank “the tank” Kaminsky had an incredible ascension from rotational player to John R. Wooden Award Winner. His development was one like Badgers fans have never seen before. Averaging just 2.9 points in his first two seasons in Madison, Kaminsky’s transformation started in his junior season when he erupted for a program record 43 points on a tremendously efficient 16-19 from the field. Albeit, it was against North Dakota, Frank showed us a glimpse of what was yet to come. In the Elite Eight of his junior season, Frank started gaining national attention when he put up 28 points along with 11 rebounds to take Wisconsin to their first Final Four appearance since 2000. Entering Kaminsky’s Senior season he was the preseason favorite to be National POY. Frank lived up to the hype. Kaminsky was the only major conference player to lead his team in points, rebounds, blocks, assists and steals. He also was the only player in Division one who averaged at least 17.0 points, 8.0 rounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. Not to mention Kaminsky led his team to the National Championship game. You could go on and on about the accolades Kaminsky racked up at UW, and he is without question the best Center in program history