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Wisconsin Basketball Transfer Heads to Long-Rumored Destination

The former Badgers point guard is headed to the ACC.

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Wisconsin basketball point guard Chucky Hepburn was injured in Wisconsin's regular season finale
Wisconsin Badgers guard Chucky Hepburn (23) drives to the basket during the NCAA men’s basketball game against the Purdue Boilermakers, Sunday, March 10, 2024, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.

It didn’t take very long for former Wisconsin basketball starting point guard Chucky Hepburn to find a new home in the transfer portal.

Hepburn will spend his final season of eligibility at his long-rumored destination under head coach Pat Kelsey at Louisville according to a report by Shams Charania.

Coach Kelsey spent the last three seasons at Charleston and replaced Kenny Payne, who was fired after leading his alma mater to a 12-52 record during his two seasons with the Cardinals. Louisville finished 8-24 this past season but, like many programs, is going through a total rebuild.

On April 18, Hepburn made the decision to enter the transfer portal after a three-year run with the Wisconsin basketball program. It’s fair to say that Hepburn’s choice to move on ranks among the most surprising moves made by any Badgers player in the transfer portal era.

Positioned to become a senior leader and a four-year starting point guard, Hepburn was a foundational piece of the program. That’s why his luring into the transfer portal hit the Wisconsin Badgers like a gut punch; if he could leave, then absolutely anyone could.

Throughout his career with the Badgers, Hepburn appeared in 103 games, starting each one. Averaging 32.1 minutes per game, the Nebraska native chipped in 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.6 steals a night while shooting 42% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc.

While Hepburn mentioned in an Instagram statement that his choice wasn’t due to any shortcomings by Wisconsin basketball, many found it difficult to accept that sentiment in the aftermath of his departure.

Let’s be clear: Regardless of his motivations for entering the portal, Hepburn shouldn’t be criticized by anyone in the Wisconsin basketball fanbase for leveraging a system that allows unlimited transfers and unregulated NIL payments. This is a pay-for-play model, period.

“I hate that young athletes are put in a position to make these choices,” Hepburn’s father wrote. “Love the opportunity provided to establish his future, but man, this opens undesirable & murky waters to navigate.”

Greg Gard revealed in a radio interview that he and assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft launched an initiative called the “Sixth Man Society” over a year ago through the Varsity Collective, aimed at raising funds.

“Put a lot of boots on the ground raising funds,” Gard said. “We’ve been able to almost triple our NIL collective in terms of men’s basketball in a year. … “We’ve had a lot of generous donors that have stepped up that want to keep us at the forefront, but that’s what it takes.”

Gard mentioned that Wisconsin basketball had nearly tripled its NIL collective for the men’s team within a year. However, it’s challenging to discern the exact amount and how it compares to other programs. It’s evident that there’s a limit to these funds from private donors and that other schools may have more significant resources at their disposal.

As college basketball charges ahead into an uncertain future, one thing remains evident: the terrain has been permanently reshaped by the emergence of NIL deals and the transfer portal. While the outcome of this evolution has yet to unfold, I feel confident in saying that the era of witnessing Wisconsin basketball develop its players over four seasons and fostering continuity within the program is a thing of the past.



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Dillon Graff is a Substack newsletter best-selling author, publisher of AllBadgers, and the owner of BadgerNotes.com, 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.

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