Coming off a disappointing season that saw the Wisconsin men’s basketball program miss the NCAA Tournament, head coach Greg Gard knew the Badgers would need some help from the transfer portal.
What the Wisconsin Badgers found was more than anyone could have hoped for. St. Johns transfer AJ Storr committed to the program despite receiving interest from schools like UConn, Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, Miami, Memphis, Gonzaga, and Creighton.
The Rockford, Illinois, native was coming off an outstanding freshman campaign for the Red Storm, where he averaged 8.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.9 assists on 40.4% shooting from beyond the arc en route to Big East All-Freshman team honors.
Finding a proven player in the transfer portal with multiple years of eligibility is like discovering gold. But adding an athletic wing that could get to the basket and excel in transition was a must for this team. After all, the Wisconsin basketball team struggled mightily on offense without that skill set when Johnny Davis declared early for the NBA Draft.
It’s safe to say that just 13 games into the season, Storr has proven to be precisely what the Badgers were missing. The 6-foot-7 small forward is averaging a team-high 15.1 points per game and 2.8 rebounds on 45.3% shooting from the field while providing the missing element of offense.
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) January 3, 2024
Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Has a Certified Stud in AJ Storr
It took some time for AJ Storr to find his fit in the Wisconsin basketball program’s offensive system, but with some time under his belt, he’s settled into a role for the Badgers as their lead dog.
Per Barttorvik, Storr leads the team in usage, commanding a 28% share of Wisconsin’s offensive possessions. Notably, he’s scored in double figures in eight straight games and 11 of his 13 appearances overall.
Despite having the highest usage since Johnny Davis, Storr has scored at an even 1.00 points per possession, according to Synergy. For reference, the Wisconsin Badgers had just one player score that efficiently last year.
“With him [Storr], you can see all the ability,” Gard told reporters after the Iowa win. “I mean, it oozes with what his ability and his potential is, and I think the scary thing is he doesn’t understand how good he can be yet.
“He’s been awesome to coach. But obviously, the explosiveness that he brings to the table adds a dynamic to this team that makes us that much more impactful and effective offensively.”
The attention Storr commands on offense, combined with Chucky Hepburn’s role as a traditional point guard, has opened things up for his teammates to be the best versions of themselves.
As it stands, the Wisconsin basketball team is No. 18 in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, per Barttorvik. That’s a massive jump from the No. 131 finish the Badgers had a season ago.
One player doesn’t make a team. But the dynamic Storr added to the Badgers has injected the program’s offense with new life and has them in position to compete for a Big Ten regular season title.
“He’s got a long way to go, and I think that’s the exciting part,” Gard said. He’s nowhere near where he can be. But like I said, we’re continuing to coach him hard.”
Prediction: I’m doubling down on the projection I made following the first Wisconsin men’s basketball practice I observed during the preseason. AJ Storr will be the next Badgers player to make it to the NBA. Book it.
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