Madison, Wis. – Recruiting rankings coming out of high school don’t always tell the full story of a basketball player. More times than one, a player outperforms expectations and shines on the brightest stage whilst proving to the world they were overlooked and belong with the best of the best. The Wisconsin basketball program has gained a reputation for developing undervalued recruits and producing elite college talent year after year.
Just two years ago, Johnny Davis went from being outside the top 150 nationally (165th, according to 247 Sports) to being the Big Ten Player of The Year and the 10th pick in the 2022 NBA draft. Using the skills the Badgers coaching staff developed, Davis had a great Summer League and looks bound for a monster second season for the Wizards.
Connor Essegian walked onto campus last year as a lone wolf. He was the only recruit to commit to Wisconsin Basketball in the 2022 recruiting cycle and was not a highly-touted prospect.
Even though Essegian ended his high school career at Central Noble as a top 10 scorer in Indiana high school basketball history, he was ranked 247th in the country per 247Sports. CE3 used this disrespect as motivation, and had an impressive freshman year. Essegian proved during that season that it doesn’t matter your rank or how many stars you have; what matters is if you are willing to put the work in to be better.
Within the coming months, I am going to break down some of the biggest pieces on Wisconsin men’s basketball roster while giving insight into the good, the bad, and what to expect moving forward from each player.
Wisconsin Basketball Player Breakdown: Connor Essegian
Connor Essegian is returning for his second season in Madison after a successful freshman campaign where he averaged 11.7 points per game. He added 3.7 rebounds a night and shot 35.9% from three. Essegian is an elite shotmaker and has a high motor. He never stops moving and cuts as well as anybody in the Big Ten, allowing easy shots at the rim.
Essegian is at his best creating his own shot off the dribble or when running around screens to get easy catch-and-shoot looks or crafty finishes at the rim. When he gets to the free throw line, it’s second nature for him, shooting 88.7% last year. His jump shot is fluid and quick, being able to get his shot off quickly versus larger defenders.
Offensively, Essegian is a naturally gifted scorer, and there isn’t much that needs improvement. However, defensively CE3 leaves a lot to be desired.
He fills his lanes properly and is willing to put his body on the line. However, he is often a second late on rotations or a step too slow versus shiftier guards. On top of that, Essegian can sometimes be seen fouling in moments that can be avoided. This reduced his minutes some, especially in late-game situations. Put plainly, if you can’t play defense at Wisconsin, you are not going to see the floor.
What to Expect:
Connor Essegian had a big role as a freshman, starting in 19 games. He enters next year as the starting shooting guard and projects to be an important part of a tournament-caliber team.
His volume should go up, and with it, so will his production. Essegian is a gym rat, who will take any chance or opportunity to get better, so I expect him to be more conditioned for the year. This would allow him to play better defense thus keeping him on the floor longer.
Everyone knows me as a 3 pt shooter. Who could beat me in a midrange contest tho👀 pic.twitter.com/dijOKMB26R— Connor Essegian (@CEssegian) July 25, 2023
Big things are coming for Connor Essegian and the rest of the Wisconsin basketball team. Players and fans alike hope the Badgers can make it back to the big dance with Essegians’ help.
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