On Wednesday Greg Gard and the Badgers received their first commitment in the 2022 class, coming from shooting guard Connor Essegian. The 6-foot-4 Indiana native is the 36th ranked shooting guard in the nation according to 24/7 Sports.
Essegian committed to Wisconsin over Wake Forest, Butler, Creighton, Minnesota, Belmont, George Mason, Illinois State, Murray State, Rice, Toledo, Western Michigan, and Wofford.
Securing a commitment from a guard was clearly a priority for Greg Gard, seeing as over half of his offers in the class were dedicated to the position.
Essegian averaged 24.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game as a junior and made better than 41 percent of his 3-point attempts. He became the all-time leading scorer in Central Noble history during the season, breaking a mark that stood for 44 years.
His AAU coach Mark Adams had this to say about the young guard.. “He is by far the best shooter in Indiana in the class,” Adams said. “Wisconsin is getting one of the best shooters in the country. He literally is one of the best shooters in the country.”
And as we all know if there is one thing Gard values out of his players in the back-court, it’s their ability to stretch a defense with their shooting. Especially with the way the game has evolved, shooting has become a necessity at essentially all five positions on the floor.
While Connor Essegian may not move the needle in terms of recruiting rankings, he fills a significant need in the program out on the wing – and was by no means a reach by Greg Gard. Wisconsin has been at its best when they’ve had a sharpshooter in the program they could run sets for.
Anyone who watched the badgers last season could notice just how much the offense missed Brevin Pritzl. So landing a shooter of Essegian’s caliber was imperative to the future success of the program. It’s easy to envision the badgers killing the clock and running Essigan off screens to get open looks such as this one:
Connor Essegian’s tape shows a high-level shooter (truly elite), that if given the opportunity to set his feet will knock down anything you give him. More importantly than that, Essegian thrives in knocking down shots off balance and coming off screens. He’s going to thrive next to a shot creator like Chucky Hepburn. It’s easy to see his fit with the players already in the program.
Essegian has good size (6-foot-4) and a very projectable frame, but needs to put on some weight if he’s going to be able to be physically ready for the rigors of the Big Ten. He isn’t a superb athlete, but if he gets a step on you going baseline he can throw it down. He’s not afraid to make plays going towards the rim.
Like most incoming players he’s going to have to improve on the defensive end, but that’ll come with time. He has good size and plays with the toughness it takes to thrive on that end of the floor. It’s also worth mentioning he’s a good rebounder – also fitting the mold of the many true shooting guards that came before him. Greg Gard found a really nice fit in his system – you can never have enough shooters.
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