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How Wisconsin Basketball Should Fill Its Open Scholarship Spots



Wisconsin Badgers Basketball
Photo Credit: Dillon Graff

Madison, Wis. – In an unsurprising move on Wednesday, Wisconsin basketball Junior guard Jahcobi Neath announced he will be leaving the program and returning home to Canada to continue rehabbing his injuries.

The 6-foot-4 guard never had a true chance to show his talents after his first season with the Badgers. As he dealt with a nagging knee injury that kept him sidelined, it’s no doubt his presence could have been important during the 2022-2023 season. UW was essentially left with one less scholarship player off the bench all season.

Now, following the Noah Reynolds transfer and Neath departure, Greg Gard is faced with the challenge of filling two open scholarship spots through the transfer portal before next season. It’s tough to narrow down exactly who Gard will go after. This just makes the next few months for Wisconsin basketball even more interesting.

Let’s dive into some potential options.

Backup Point Guard

The backup point guard position has been a mix-and-match mess recently. Ever since Lorne Bowman transferred, the weight has been put squarely on Chucky Hepburn’s shoulders. Max Klesmit was able to handle the ball in spurts, and Kamari McGee was up and down in limited minutes.

What Wisconsin basketball could really use is an above-average ball handler who can run the offense efficiently when Hepburn needs a breather. Someone who offers great on-ball defense and can knock down open threes. This is a tough ask of coach Gard, but I find it necessary.

Wisconsin Basketball Could Use a Reserve Big Man

This is a spot I’ve been lobbying for Gard to fill ever since the season wrapped up. I can’t express enough how important a big body down low that can give Steven Crowl a rest every now and then is. I’m thinking back to Chris Vogt as a comparison for this spot.

Vogt was a fantastic shot blocker. He also held his own down low and offered scoring in spurts from time to time. An addition like Vogt could help Wisconsin basketball big time.

Stretch 4

This would be a dream scenario. However, I just don’t see many options available in the portal for Wisconsin basketball. I’m not overly confident that Markus Ilver will develop into a stretch 4 that can play consistent minutes in 2023. If Gard can find a lanky 6-foot-8 or 6-foot-9 forward who can shoot and play above-average defense, I’d call that a win.

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