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Wisconsin Basketball: Essegian Closing in on History, Transfer Portal Needs, More



Wisconsin basketball shooting guard Connor Essegian
Feb 14, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Connor Essegian (3) shoots a three-pointer during the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a busy week for the Wisconsin basketball program, ladies and gents, but fear not because BadgerNotes can help get you back up to speed with a roundup of some important news you may have missed.

Essegian Knocking on the Door of Wisconsin Basketball History

Wisconsin Basketball’s lone scholarship freshman in the 2022 recruiting class, Connor Essegian, is putting together a damn good season for the Badgers.

Thus far, the 6-foot-4 marksman has appeared in 26 games this season, starting 10, and is averaging 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 0.8 assists on an impressive 40.3% shooting from beyond the arc.

Currently sitting at 58 made threes on the season, Essegian needs only three more to break Brad Davison’s freshman record (60), set back in 2018. Before that, Devin Harris held the school record for made threes by a freshman (59) for 16 years.

“He has gotten the attention of defenses, no doubt,” said Gard. “But he moves without the ball. He creates stuff for others by his movements.”

Considering four games are remaining on the regular season schedule, it’s highly likely that the Indiana native will break and rewrite the record entirely before the year finishes.

Greg Gard Understands Roster Deficiencies

During Greg Gard’s weekly media availability, he spoke about the gaps the Wisconsin basketball program needs to fill on its roster during the offseason.

“I think we have to add depth regardless (of internal development),” Gard said this week. “I’m not naïve. We have to get bigger, more experienced, stronger, more athletic, whatever you want to throw out there.”

For those of you thinking, no shit sherlock, I assure you he didn’t just come to this conclusion. During the offseason, Gard attempted to land another big man in the portal but was unsuccessful- which, I said all offseason was a significant concern of mine.

Credit to Carter Gilmore for the strides he’s made, particularly on defense, to give Wisconsin basketball sufficient minutes off the bench. But in the Big Ten, you simply cannot have a 6-foot-7 tweener off the bench as your top reserve.

With the core of the roster presumably returning in 2023-24 and Tyler Wahl having a Covid-year he could use, there’s no reason to think Wisconsin couldn’t compete for a Big Ten title next season if they can add one or two experienced contributors through the transfer portal.

Greg Gard is an intelligent man; he knows what this team is missing, and acquiring those pieces during the offseason will be a top priority.

Jahcobi Neath Update

Wisconsin basketball lost Jahcobi Neath, one of their top reserves, to injury (again) just three games into the season. 

And while Greg Gard previously mentioned he didn’t expect to have him back in 2022-23, UW’s Sports Medicine Staff announced on Friday that he underwent successful surgery on his hip and is officially out for the season. 

According to UW’s press release, Neath intends to apply for a medical redshirt that, if granted, would allow the 6-foot-4 guard two additional seasons of eligibility. 

If he returns to full health, his size, strength, and versatility could provide the Badgers some much-needed depth off the bench next season. 

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Dillon Graff is a Substack newsletter best-selling author, publisher of AllBadgers, 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's BadgersWire, Athlon Sports, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, Bucky's 5th Quarter, and FanSided.