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Wisconsin Basketball Player Transitioning to Assistant Coaching Role



Wisconsin Basketball; Badgers coach Greg Gard
Mar 28, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard looks on during the first half against the North Texas Mean Green at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball program received some unexpected (kind of) news on Saturday morning when walk-on Justin Taphorn from Pekin, Illinois, announced on social media that he will take on a new role with the Badgers in 2023-24. 

Taphorn will join coach Gard and his staff of Joe Krabbenhoft, Dean Oliver, and Sharif Chambliss as an undergraduate assistant on the bench. 

“Been blessed to have spent my last 3 years on this team,” Taphorn said in a social media post.” This opportunity and decision to come to Madison has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

“Excited for this next chapter as I cross over into the other side of the game and join the staff as an Undergraduate Assitant!”

Former Wisconsin Basketball Walk-On Justin Taphorn Begins His Coaching Career. 

During Justin Taphorn’s career playing for the Wisconsin basketball program, he appeared in 16 games for a total of 22 minutes — so his impact on the court won’t affect the current Badgers roster.

However, he was a beloved teammate with unwavering dedication and a work ethic that should treat him well on the sidelines as an assistant fresh off his playing days. Recognizing his profound understanding of the game and his natural leadership qualities, it makes sense why the Wisconsin Badgers coaching staff extended an invitation for him to join their ranks as an undergraduate coach for the 2023-24 season.

Taphorn’s ability to relate to the players from a student-athlete perspective, combined with his knowledge and understanding of the Badgers system, has made him a valuable asset to the coaching staff.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.