Wisconsin adds 2020 guard Justin Taphorn as PWO

Pekin Illinois native Justin Taphorn recently announced he will be joining the Wisconsin Badgers 2020 class as a PWO. 

The 6’4″ guard will join Arrowhead forward Carter Gilmore as the second walk-on joining the Badgers 2020 class. 

Taphorn comes from a family with basketball in its DNA. Justin’s father Pat Taphorn was a basketball assistant at Pekin High School and also played his college basketball at UW-Green Bay. If the Taphorn name sounds familiar that’s probably because his brother Nathan Taphorn was recruited by the Badgers and recently wrapped up his college career at Northwestern where he shot 41% from three for his career. 

Wisconsin was fortunate enough to land another high character player who can shoot the ball from beyond the arc. Justin plans on studying Kinesiology and potentially pursuing a career in Athletic Training when he graduates.

Below are Justin’s Senior season highlights.


Q: Tell fans what they’re getting in you as a player. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

A: As a player, my strength is definitely my ability to shoot the ball and the chemistry I bring to a team. My weakness is ball handling. It isn’t bad but it’s not where I want it to be. 

Q: What position on the court suits you best?

A: I like being a threat behind the arc and being in a position to shoot.

Q: What was it about Wisconsin that stood out to you?

A: Wisconsin seems like a great school academically, so I cannot go wrong with that, and The school spirit and the atmosphere is amazing in Madison. I haven’t been a badger for too long and I already feel very welcomed by the fans and the people of Wisconsin. 

Q: What is your relationship with the coaching staff like? 

A: Coach Gard and the rest of the coaching staff have been very welcoming and they have treated me very well. I am very excited to get to know them and the team better.

Q: What individual goals do you have for your time in madison?

A: I am very grateful for the opportunity I have at UW, but there is always that feeling of not being satisfied. I will always be loyal to UW but over the years, my goal is to work my way up to a scholarship and more playing time. 

Q: What other schools recruited you/offered you?

A: I had a PWO offer at Bradley University, which was my other top choice. I really liked the coaches there as well but I felt like I was a better fit in Madison.

Q: Who is your favorite Badger Basketball player?

A: My favorite Badger player would have to be Frank Kaminsky. He played on the Illinois Wolves, as did I, and I got to hear him talk about his story in high school and how he worked his way up to a scholarship at Wisconsin. His story is very inspiring to me.

Q: How did Covid-19 change your recruitment process?

A: The pandemic obviously took a toll on my recruitment, not being able to do any in-person recruitment due to the NCAA rules. But, that is what sparked the idea of reaching out to Coach Gard with my highlight video and a little introduction of who I was. I am very fortunate to have an opportunity to play for Wisconsin and am excited for the next 4 years in Madison.

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