Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard is shown during the second half of their game Monday, November 7, 2022 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin beat South Dakota 85-59. Uwmen07 17

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: Early Season Grades

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: Early Season Grades

The Wisconsin Badgers basketball season is well underway, with UW getting off to a solid 5-1 start.  Their showing at the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis was admirable, winning games against Dayton and USC and being just one final rebound away from beating the then-third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in overtime.

The overall depth has shined in the first few games, with new additions to the regular rotation providing meaningful contributions.  Let’s grade each of the Badgers’ regular contributors. These grades take into account not only current performance but also expectations coming into the season. Only players who have seen action in each of the first six games are included.


The Wisconsin Badgers Starting Five

Oct 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, US; Wisconsin Badgers players Steven Crowl, Chucky Hepburn, and Tyler Wahl speak to the media during the Big Ten Basketball Media Days at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Chucky Hepburn  C-

Chucky came into the season with high expectations and is one of the clear leaders of this team. While he’s averaging a solid 9.7 points per game, his less-than-average start was highlighted by the performance against Dayton.  Hepburn was 1-of-10 from the field with 2 points, one assist, and three turnovers.  Not only was his production low, but he also displayed a lack of leadership and couldn’t perform as one of the top players.  

This performance spilled into the next day, where it took great games from his fellow starters to keep the Kansas contest close.  It must be stated that his showing against USC was far better, and he has continued to be a huge asset on the defensive side of the ball.  Chucky Hepburn will have to be better for this team to thrive this season.

Max Klesmit  B

A new addition to the Badgers, Max Klesmit, has provided a massive jolt to the defensive side of the ball and performed admirably offensively.  A transfer from Wofford, Klesmit has fit well into the starting lineup and has added much-needed production shooting the ball.  He is averaging 40% from the field and 46.7% from the 3-point arc. Perhaps his most important contribution, though, was a block with 3 seconds left on the clock against Dayton to help seal the victory.

Jordan Davis  B-

Stepping out of his brother’s shadow, Jordan Davis has moved into the starting lineup this season and has already become one of the team’s top defenders.  His shooting can still improve as he is hitting just 23.8% of his three-point shots, a stat that will prove to haunt Davis if the number doesn’t tick upwards.  His energy and effort are clear, and he will have to keep making strides to avoid potentially losing his spot in the starting rotation.

Tyler Wahl  A-

Undoubtedly our star thus far this season has been none other than Tyler Wahl.  Leading the team in points and rebounds, Tyler Wahl has also posted the second-highest steal total with 9.  Wahl is averaging 14 points per game and is shooting nearly 38% from the field.  He continues to lead the front line and shined brightest in the near comeback victory against Kansas, logging a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds.  

Tyler Wahl must continue his production and will be a key cog of this team as the season progresses.  Why an A- instead of an A?  Wahl also leads the team in turnovers with 16 on the season.  If he takes care of the ball and keeps playing well in the paint, he will likely remain at the top of most statistical categories and lead this team to its height.

Steven Crowl  C-

Steven Crowl, while somewhat productive offensively, has shown he has a great deal of room for improvement.  The tallest member of the Badgers at 7’0″, Crowl needs to finish stronger at the rim and become a more dominant force inside the paint. He isn’t afraid to take the three as he continues to find himself open at the top of the key. The issue is success, as he is shooting just 25% from beyond the arc. 

There’s no reason to think he won’t continue to be open, and in order for this team to be successful, Crowl will need to find the bottom of the net more often. His rebounding stats have been good, logging 43 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive side. 

The Bench

Oct 30, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers Connor Essegian (3) looks to pass the ball against the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds during the second half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Essegian  A

The highest grade of the group goes to Connor Essegian, the newest Wisconsin Badgers Freshman out of Fort Wayne, IN.  

Essegian has proven he isn’t afraid to take a shot…ever.  His confidence with the rock is unmatched, and he has the production to prove it. He has taken a team-high 24 threes and made 54% of them while shooting 46% from the field.  He has also shown defensive prowess, although this continues to remain an area of growth for him as he continues to learn Gard’s system.  Connor is becoming a star before our eyes, and if his offensive production continues at this rate, look for him to make a move into Gard’s starting lineup.

Carter Gilmore  B

The Badgers don’t have a great deal of depth at the forward position, but Carter Gilmore has shown he wants a place in the regular rotation.  A man of all trades, Gilmore is doing the dirty work.  He’s hustling on the floor, playing strong defense, and isn’t afraid to pull up from behind the 3-point line if necessary.  Only Tyler Wahl and Chucky Hepburn have logged more steals than Gilmore, who has eight on the season. Gilmore should continue seeing minutes, and if his growth on the court matches his effort, the Badgers will see a nice return.

Isaac Lindsey  B+

Isaac Lindsey has provided much-needed depth at the point guard position.  While not originally expected to be a key contributor, Lindsey has come off the bench and given valuable minutes to a position proving to be a question mark for the Badgers. In just 38 minutes this season, Lindsey has taken 13 shots and is shooting 38.5%, including 33% from behind the arc.  His minutes will continue to be key going forward.  Look for Isaac Lindsey’s confidence to grow and his time on the court to slowly increase.


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MADISON, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 30: Max Klesmit #11 of the Wisconsin Badgers is fouled going up for a shot during the second half of the game against the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds at Kohl Center on October 30, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball vs. Dayton

Wisconsin started the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament with a matchup against the Dayton Flyers. Dayton started the year ranked in the top 25, so a tough matchup for the Badgers. Wisconsin pulled out the win 43-42. Here are my thoughts on the game. 

Smothering Defense

If you are a fan of offense, this wasn’t the game for you. As ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg called it “a rock fight” it was spot on. Typically a play style that favored the Badgers. Wisconsin was playing fantastic defense and forcing Dayton into quick jump shots. 

At halftime Dayton had scored only 14 points, going 2/16 from three. The badgers also forced them into 10 turnovers. The defense was the reason for the 9-point lead at the half and should be a major reason Wisconsin will have success this season. 

With the game on the line, clinging on to a one-point lead Wisconsin came up with a massive stop. Led by Max Klesmit locking down Kobe Elvis on the final possession. In a game where you shoot 24% from the field and 22% from three, you better have a stellar defense on the other end. 

Bench production

A major question mark entering this season was going to be the bench production for the Badgers. Freshman Connor Essegian has answered the bell for Greg Gard. He started today scoring 11 of the Badger’s first 13 points. 

Today, Isaac Lindsey provided some impactful minutes off the bench. The former walk-on who was just granted a scholarship gave Greg Gard something to think about moving forward regarding his minutes. Lindsay scored or assisted on the last 7 points of the half for Wisconsin. At the half, the bench had 16 of the 23 points. Markus Ilver even came in the second half, kept a play alive, and knocked down two huge threes when the momentum was shifting. 

Wisconsin’s bench unit finished with 24 huge points. 

Kansas Tomorrow Morning

It doesn’t get any easier for Wisconsin as this tournament goes on. Tomorrow morning they will take on #3 Kansas. Kansas is a powerhouse and looks like a final-four contender this year. 

The Badgers will need much more from Hepburn and Wahl if they want any chance against the Jayhawks in the semifinals.

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MADISON, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 30: Max Klesmit #11 of the Wisconsin Badgers is fouled going up for a shot during the second half of the game against the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds at Kohl Center on October 30, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: Wings Preview

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: Wings Preview

The Wisconsin Badgers will kick off their basketball season on November 7th against South Dakota.

The Badgers are facing some roster shakeups after losing some key contributors. Wisconsin will be looking for a new starter at the shooting guard position this year, and one of their transfers may be the man for the job.

Let’s take a look at the wings for the Wisconsin Badgers’ 2022-23 season.

Max Klesmit

Klesmit, a transfer from Wofford, could be the potential starting shooting guard. The junior guard comes to Wisconsin after two standout seasons at Wofford. Klesmit shot a combined 45 percent from the field, including nearly 35 percent shooting from beyond the arc in his two seasons with the team.

It’s unclear at this time who will be the starting shooting guard. Although, Klesmit has put up two productive seasons and an excellent performance in the Badgers’ Red vs. White scrimmage. Those performances should carry him to earning the starting spot at shooting guard.

Jordan Davis

Davis heads into the 2022-23 season as a junior. The 6-foot-4, 202-pound wing played in 27 games for the Badgers last season and averaged 6.5 minutes per game off the bench.

After contributing off the bench last season, Davis will look to solidify his role this year as a starter. His scoring ability and athleticism will allow him to make an immediate impact in the Badgers’ starting lineup.

Jahcobi Neath

Neath, a senior guard, is entering his second season with the program. The 6-foot-4, 194-pound guard appeared in 23 games for Wisconsin last season, including one start. Neath averaged 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.

Neath was a contributor off the bench last season for Wisconsin and will see some time in that role once again. If Neath finds himself in the second unit, he will bring some solid defense and rebounding for that group.

Connor Essegian

Essegian is an exciting prospect for Wisconsin. The true freshman showed out in Wisconsin’s Red vs. White scrimmage, going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-4 guard showed promise as a shooter in high school, averaging 24 points per game while hitting 41% of his shots from deep in his senior year.

He’ll be an intriguing player for the Badgers this season as he may earn a chance to make an impact off the bench as a true freshman. If he replicates his shooting from the scrimmage, Essegian could see a decent workload for the Badgers.

Isaac Lindsey

Lindsey, a sophomore wing, comes into this season looking to make an impact off the bench. The Wisconsin native appeared in five games last season and scored his first points in a win over Illinois State.

The Wisconsin native just earned a scholarship with the program, a sign that he has improved from his redshirt freshman year. Lindsey’s development will be a key item to watch this season. His shooting ability is intriguing, making him a valuable depth piece off the bench.


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