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Kamari McGee Coming on Strong for Wisconsin Men’s Basketball

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Kamari McGee - Wisconsin Men's Basketball Point Guard
Feb 14, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Kamari McGee (4) celebrates a scoring run against the Michigan Wolverines during the second half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

Kamari McGee is Coming on Strong for Wisconsin Men’s Basketball

Madison, Wis. – Following the offseason departure of Lorne Bowman, Greg Gard, and the Wisconsin men’s basketball staff knew they had to move quickly to address a glaring hole in their backcourt.

Chucky Hepburn was coming off a freshman season where he started 33 games for the Badgers and played north of 30 minutes per contest—so UW was going to be a tough sell to any PG on the transfer market.

Thankfully, the right fit surfaced–in their own backyard, no less.

UW-Green Bay point guard and Horizon League all-freshman team member Kamari McGee entered the transfer portal during the offseason. In 21 starts for the Phoenix, he averaged 11.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 38% shooting from the field.

The two sides quickly found common ground, and McGee transferred into the Wisconsin men’s basketball program with three years of eligibility remaining.

Examining the Fit

From a talent perspective, Kamari McGee is a reach for a Power 5 program.

However, the former Racine Saint Catherine’s standout was willing to accept a lesser role on his hometown team. He also had multiple years to learn the system, develop his game, and fit the Wisconsin men’s basketball culture.

The 6-foot sophomore is a scrappy + willing defender, has some playmaking ability, is coachable, and plays with energy every time he steps onto the court.

On paper, adding McGee was a no-brainer. Wisconsin men’s basketball had a set it and forget it point guard tandem for the next three seasons.

Slow Start to Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Career

Entering the 2022-23 season, Kamari McGee wasn’t expected to be a significant contributor. He was, however, expected to be a rotation fixture – which hasn’t always been the case.

Thus far, the Wisconsin native has appeared in 21 games this season, averaging 0.9 points, 0.5 rebounds, and 0.5 assists while shooting 42.1% from the field in 5.6 minutes per game.

Adjusting to the uptick in competition, changing systems, and learning his new teammates took some time. McGee struggled with ball screen defense, had issues with ball security early on (this is a big one), and his role on offense was unclear.

But he didn’t give up when things got hard. McGee’s role was in flux, and he began losing playing time to Isaac Lindsey, who isn’t a natural fit at point guard, IMO.

“I’m pretty patient,” McGee told Mike Lucas.

“The way my mind works, I know everybody has their moment, everybody has their time. So maybe it’s not my time yet. If that’s the case, so be it. I’m still going to support my guys … I know my time will come.”

Kamari McGee Making Noticeable Improvements

It was a slow burn for Wisconsin men’s basketball reserve point guard Kamari McGee, but the hard work has begun to pay off.

Over his last 10 appearances dating back to January 7, McGee has played 52 minutes and only turned the ball over once while registering five assists.

For reference, the sophomore point guard played 65 total minutes in his first 11 appearances, recording six assists and five turnovers. Ball security was an issue.

So, it’s no coincidence that his playing time has become more consistent as of late.

Against Michigan, McGee turned in his most impactful performance of the season, playing a season-high 14 minutes and scoring 6 points, with one offensive rebound and one assist on 3-of-4 shooting.

Through the roof,” McGee said when asked about his confidence level. “Well, my confidence is always high. But it’s definitely a booster, you know. I just feel like I’m playing at a much better pace, and I’m playing under control. So, it’s definitely gonna keep going up, but it’s always there, regardless of how I’m performing on either end. The confidence never drops.”

Final Thoughts on Kamari McGee + Wisconsin Men’s Basketball

Improving ball security and giving Wisconsin men’s basketball a defensive spark is a surefire way to earn minutes under Greg Gard.

Kamari McGee’s recent emergence has been a positive development for a program hurting for rotation depth. His progress has been slow (incremental is probably the right word), but its starting to come together.

I firmly believe that McGee can/will be a nice rotational piece during his career at Wisconsin.


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Dillon Graff is a Substack newsletter best-selling author, publisher of AllBadgers, and the owner of BadgerNotes.com, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today's BadgersWire, Athlon Sports, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, Bucky's 5th Quarter, and FanSided.

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