The Wisconsin Badgers enter the 2014-2015 college basketball season with expectations at an all-time high. Coming off of the school’s first Final Four appearance since the late 90’s, the Badgers return 4 of the 5 starters from last years team. The lone starter who won’t be back? Sharp-shooting guard Ben Brust, who averaged 34.8 minutes per game, as well as 12.9 points per game for Bo Ryan’s Badgers last season.
Everyone who see’s the floor for Bo Ryan can shoot the three ball, but nobody shot it more accurately then Brust did for the Badgers over his 4 year career. He finished his career as the most prolific long-range shooter in Wisconsin history. Brust hit a school-record 235 3-pointers and finished 27th in Badgers history with 1,048 career points. During his senior season, Brust also broke his own school record by knocking down 96 triples.
Possibly the biggest question surrounding the 2014-15 Badgers is who can replicate Brust’s effectiveness from behind the three point line? The answer to that question is that it will require a team effort. Reserves such as Duje Dukan and Bronson Koenig can both shoot the three ball very accurately and both will see the floor more this season.
Another name to keep in mind is Sophomore sensation Nigel Hayes, who has apparently added the three ball to his repertoire on the offensive side of the floor. Of course, the 4 other returning starters have all proven that they can effectively keep opponents honest as well. Returning Guards Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson are both more than capable of draining three’s if given the opportunity. Sam Dekker is looking to have a break-out season and Frank Kaminsky made teams pay from long range consistently last season.
If the Badgers are going to have another great offensive team like last season, they are going to have to effectively replace Brust by forcing opponents to respect their collective shooting range as a team, which will only open things up even more for Post players Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes as well as Sam Dekker, who will all be looking to take advantage of their size closer to the basket.
I think at this point it is safe to assume that the 2014-15 Badgers offense will be sporting a prolific offense. If they can get back to playing the Bo Ryan defense of the past they will be extremely difficult to beat as long as shots are falling.