Projecting Who’s Staying, Who’s Leaving from Wisconsin After Missing NCAA Tournament
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Chucky HepburnJohn Fisher/Getty Images
The proud tradition of Wisconsin basketball took a hit as the Badgers fell narrowly short of the 2023 men’s NCAA tournament.
Soon enough, they’ll officially be in offseason mode.
Whenever the Badgers’ assumed trip to the NIT concludes, they’ll be looking back at a season of what-if moments and narrow defeats. That frustrating collection of losses ultimately kept UW out of March Madness for only the second time in more than two decades.
The sky isn’t falling in Madison, though; Wisconsin may return the entire rotation, and reinforcements are on the way.
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Greg GardJohn Fisher/Getty Images
Perhaps it’s best to start with seventh-year coach Greg Gard. This season was a disappointment—any UW campaign that doesn’t include an NCAA tourney bid demands that billing—and has understandably made Gard’s job security a talking point.
Since the Badgers have shared two Big 10 crowns in the past four seasons, Gard will very likely stay in charge.
Basically, the entire team should be back, too.
Every player has eligibility remaining, although four-year contributor Tyler Wahl could decide to leave. Following an injury-marred season, though, it’s easy to see Wahl sticking around in Madison.
Leading scorer Chucky Hepburn, top shooters Max Klesmit and Connor Essegian and key rotation players Jordan Davis and Carter Gilmore should all return with Steven Crowl and Wahl in the frontcourt.
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Nic Antaya/Getty Images
In reality, though, Wisconsin is destined to have a bit of transition. The roster currently has 12 scholarship players and three inbound freshmen, which is two above the maximum of 13.
Now, projecting the departures lands somewhere in the range of unfair and distasteful. While calling out a particular player feels improper, it’s fair to offer a reminder of top transfer reasons: limited minutes, a crowded depth chart or, yes, even a coach’s suggestion.
Based on the Badgers’ outlook today with our prediction Wahl returns, at least two players will need to transfer out.
Who’s on the Way
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As usual, Wisconsin is banking on talent identification, coaching evaluations and internal development.
The process has yielded great results in the past, and the Badgers are hoping 4-star center Gus Yalden is among the next success stories. While not an athletic marvel, Yalden is a smart player who checks a bunch of the traditional boxes for Wisconsin bigs.
Three-star forward Nolan Winter and three-star wing John Blackwell have signed with the Badgers, as well.
Wisconsin has also reached out to Dartmouth transfer Dame Adelekun. He isn’t guaranteed to head to Madison, but the takeaway is UW will be checking out the portal despite its scholarship crunch.
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