Connect with us


Wisconsin Men’s Basketball: Big Steve Emerging, Essegian Starting, More



Wisconsin basketball
Jan 17, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Steven Crowl (22) dribbles the ball under coverage by Penn State Nittany Lions forward Kebba Njie (3) during the second half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a busy week for the Wisconsin men’s 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. 

Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Has an Alpha, and His Name is Steve

The Wisconsin men’s basketball program has stumbled to a (12-5, 4-3 Big Ten) record behind a balanced offensive attack. However, Steven Crowl and his newfound confidence have given the Badgers a potential go-to player in close games.

Over his last seven games, Big Steve has averaged 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on 54% shooting from the field.

I’ve always felt as though Crowl had an immensely higher ceiling than people gave him credit for–the only things holding him back were his weight and confidence. Maybe it’s just me, but I sure as hell don’t feel like either of those things is an issue anymore.

Wisconsin men’s basketball is at its best when consciously getting the ball to Crowl on the low block. Give it time, but this man could become a star in the Big Ten before his career ends.

Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Goes With a Different Starting 5

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team welcomed Tyler Wahl back into the starting lineup. But this time, it looked a little different. 

True freshman Connor Essegian, who quite frankly has been a revelation off the bench, entered Greg Gard’s starting lineup and, if I were a better man, will never leave until his career in Madison is over. 

The Indiana native is averaging 10.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.8 assists on a blistering 45.6% from beyond the arc.

According to, the 6-foot-4 wing leads the team with a 114.0 ORTG, a 62.5% true shooting percentage, and has the highest BPM among rotation regulars. So, the move makes sense no matter which way you slice it. 

Although who starts the game is more of a formality, Essegian has undoubtedly earned the opportunity and is a foundational piece of the program moving forward. 

It’ll be interesting to see how Jordan Davis handles the transition to a reserve role. Because I’d argue there might be more shots available to him off the pine. 

Addressing the Greg Gard Slander

The Wisconsin men’s basketball program dropped three straight games before righting the ship Tuesday night against Penn State. Even though UW played those games without Tyler Wahl (their best two-way player), the vocal minority of the fanbase started calling for the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year’s seat to get warmer. 

And while I know this collective thought process is just the football program’s offseason success spilling over into the Wisconsin men’s basketball team, I can’t help but take the bait.  

This man has won two of the past three Big Ten regular season titles and seemingly outperforms expectations every season. 

And I can acknowledge that, at times, there have been concerning trends, but every time something has surfaced, he’s found a way to straighten things out and get the train back on the tracks. 

If you don’t like UW’s brand of basketball, I get that; it’s an acquired taste. And call me old-fashioned, but I love watching the Wisconsin men’s basketball team win games. 

Final thought: Chris McIntosh extended Greg Gard’s contract through 2027 this past offseason. That extension increased his base salary, provided additional compensation bonuses, and upped his termination buyout. Coach Gard isn’t going anywhere, nor should he.

Contact Info

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.


Wisconsin Basketball: Jordan Davis Enters the Transfer Portal



Wisconsin basketball

Jordan Davis has entered his name into the transfer portal

According to a report from Verbal Commits, Wisconsin basketball guard Jordan Davis has entered the transfer portal.

The news comes shortly after Wisconsin’s loss in the NIT semifinals to North Texas after a brutal second half. Davis saw 11 minutes of action in the loss without scoring a point.

The 2022-23 season was a rocky one for Davis. The LaCrosse native was a starter early in the season before losing his spot to budding true freshman Connor Essegian. After that, he was a good option off the bench who could get a few baskets per game while hitting the boards hard.

Davis averaged 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season while shooting nearly 40% from the floor. He averaged 21 minutes per game, a considerable jump from his 6.5 minutes in 2022. Davis carved out a role for himself as a high-intensity player who played with grit.

The 6-foot-4 200-pound guard will look for a better option to reach his full potential. Davis’ decision to transfer isn’t too shocking, considering he lost a starting spot and saw a dip in production as the season ended. Although things didn’t work out in Madison, a change of scenery could be what he needs.

Davis wasn’t a highly recruited player out of high school, but after putting some solid tape out there in his time at UW, he should garner some attention in the portal.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin basketball news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter. @JakeJMaier.

Continue Reading


Wisconsin Basketball: 2022-2023 Player Grades



Wisconsin basketball

If you watched the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team at all during the 2022-2023 season, it wouldn’t be a reach to say you may have grown a grey hair or twelve in the process.

Close game after close game, blown leads, head-scratching calls, and unwatchable scoring droughts. It’s not hard to summarize the season it was for Wisconsin basketball.

But it wasn’t always like watching an elementary school orchestra play their first concert. A lot of Badgers made major strides and big plays in important moments. Here are my player grades for the 2022-2023 Wisconsin basketball rotation.

2022-2023 Wisconsin Basketball Grades – Starters

Tyler Wahl: C+

I was super high on Wahl entering the year. I honestly thought he’d have a huge senior season, improve his jumper, and compete for a Big Ten conference honor. Boy was I wrong.

Wahl battled a nagging injury for a good chunk of the season, but his inability to make easy layups and convert at the free-throw line killed any hopes of making a run to the big dance.

Chucky Hepburn: B-

It was a tale of two Chucky’s this season. The sophomore point guard was either unconscious from the field or a borderline “bricklayer”. Hepburn battled an undisclosed lower-body injury down the stretch, which probably played a part. But nonetheless, his season was a bust.

Hepburn never became the go-to scorer Wisconsin Basketball had hoped for. However, on a team that struggled to find scoring, Hepburn was consistently followed by the opposing team’s best defender. I wouldn’t go as far to say he regressed, but his growth seemed to be rather limited while in his large role. Hepburn needs some more help around him to thrive.

Steven Crowl: A-

“Big Steve” really grew up this season which earned him an A-. The junior center was thrust into a go-to scorer role when Hepburn was struggling mid-way through the year and Wahl was out with his injury. I’d be lying if I said he didn’t impress with his scoring and passing ability — especially during his 30-plus point effort against Bradley. Big things remain ahead for Crowl.

Max Klesmit: B

Klesmit turned out to be the biggest surprise of the season for UW. He played a major role offensively and was the team’s best perimeter defender. When he missed time with an injury, the Badgers defensive efficiency dropped. The Neenah native grew into a major role player this season, and I’d say the sky is the limit for him next year as he continues to gain confidence.

Connor Essegian: B+

It seemed to be a tale of two seasons within a season for the Freshman shooting guard. Essegian impressed fans, coaches, and teammates with his natural shooting and scoring abilities beginning in non-conference play, and into Big 10 play. His breakout 17-point game against Kansas, in a near-upset, garnered attention nationally and eventually pushed him into a starting spot which he never lost. However, Essegian hit a freshman wall as Big 10 play came to a close and it continued into the NIT. Without this drop-off, Essegian would’ve had an easy A.


2022-2023 Wisconsin Basketball Grades – Reserves

Jordan Davis: D+

Davis lost his starting spot midway through the season to Essegian after struggling to consistently hit shots and make an impact on the offensive end. At times Davis showed grit and gave the team a spark off the bench with threes or hustle plays, but outside of these small windows he really disappointed. The junior guard only reached double figures in scoring three times. If Davis can improve his jumper and confidence, he could be a great bench piece for Wisconsin basketball next season.

Carter Gilmore: C

If there was an award for the player who showed the highest motor with stats that don’t show up on paper, Gilmore would have won it this season. The former walk-on was put in a tough position at 6’7″ to play power forward or even center at times when Crowl or Wahl were on the bench. Gilmore is a solid athlete, who at times was great on the glass and on the defensive end, but his offensive limitations continue to hold him back. You know teams don’t see you as a threat offensively when their defenders can sag into the paint and not worry about you pulling the trigger. I’m interested to see what happens with Gilmore moving forward.

Kamari McGee: C

The Racine native played an integral role in the rotation down the stretch for UW, but his struggles to settle in early on in the season were definitely noticeable. Although he didn’t show a ton as a scorer or as a defender at times — the promise he showed down the stretch and into the NIT was worthy of a C. McGee showed spurts as a ball handler and as a “three and D” type of role player which gives me hope he can grow his role next season.

Markus Ilver: D-

I don’t really have much to say regarding Ilver, other than it became apparent that he was NOT afraid to shoot the ball immediately after getting into a game. He lacked on defense and rebounding most of the time, but his three-point touch and quick release show some promise.

Isaac Lindsey: C-

Lindsey showed off his ability to create and hit shots down the stretch in his limited minutes. His best outing came when he closed the first half against Purdue with eight points, singlehandedly keeping UW in the game. It’s apparent Lindsey must struggle too much defensively and as a consistent ball handler to get consistent minutes. I’ll give him a C- for his hot shooting when he did get into games.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Trent Tetzlaff on Twitter @ttetz5.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

Continue Reading


Wisconsin Basketball Recruiting: 2019 Wisconsin Mr. Basketball Enters Transfer Portal



Wisconsin basketball head coach Greg Gard must find added depth in the transfer portal

After a disappointing finish to the season, Wisconsin basketball head coach Greg Gard is tasked with improving his roster in the transfer portal. The Badgers lacked depth this season, particularly in the frontcourt. One of the latest players to enter the portal may be a great fit for UW.

Wisconsin Native Marcus Domask Enters Transfer Portal

Marcus Domask announced via Twitter that he is entering the transfer portal. The Waupun native spent four seasons at Southern Illinois and consistently performed as a top forward in the Missouri Valley Conference. The former three-star recruit earned All-MVC Second Team honors in 2020 and 2022 and was named to the First Team this season. Domask started the first ten games of the 2021 season before suffering a season-ending foot injury.

Wisconsin’s 2019 Mr. Basketball averaged 16.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 0.4 steals per game this season for the Salukis – leading his team in each category. The six-foot-six-inch, 215-pound forward can score from all three levels. He is able to score from the inside and get to the foul line. Domask shot 87.6% from the charity stripe this season – Connor Essegian and Markus Ilver were the only players on the Wisconsin basketball roster with a better FT% than Domask’s mark this season. Ilver, however, only had two attempts. The MVC star can shoot from long range too. Domask has a 35.9% three-point percentage on 4.3 attempts per game.

Wisconsin basketball did not offer Domask a scholarship out of high school, but will likely inquire about his interest in returning closer to home now. The former WIAA State Champion for Waupun High School will have one year of eligibility remaining. He is also pursuing the NBA Draft, but will retain his collegiate eligibility.

RELATED: Wisconsin Basketball Starter Enters Transfer Portal

Contact Info

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Kedrick Stumbris on Twitter @KedrickStumbris.

Join the Badger Notes watch party! Stream Wisconsin Badgers games and chat with fans by following this link.

Continue Reading