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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

November 6th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Wisconsin Badgers


Overall Rank: #4

Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten


2005-06: 19-12, 9-7, 4th (t)

2005-06 postseason: NCAA


Wisconsin usually has a bunch of no-names that you just know are going to overachieve under Coach Bo Ryan and finish towards the top of the Big Ten, no matter how much talent they lost the year before.  So what happens when the roster is loaded with talent and experience?  These guys could play under a high school coach in a high school gym and beat some of the best teams in the nation.  Add the Kohl Center and Coach Ryan into the mix, and we have ourselves a national title contender.


Who’s Out: Ray Nixon is the only departing player.  The 6-8 swingman started all 31 contests and averaged 6.2 points per game.  Nixon was second on the team last year with 46 long balls, but there are options to replace Nixon in that department.


Who’s In: The backcourt could use some more depth and there are four newcomers ready to fill the void.  Trevon Hughes is an unselfish point guard, but can score when he wants to.  He’s a strong finisher and can get to the basket for easy buckets or dishes to the big guys.  Jason Bohannon, Iowa’s Mr. Basketball last year, averaged 27 points per game during his senior season in high school.  He’s a tremendous outside shooter and will battle for minutes on the wing.  Mickey Perry redshirted last year and has plenty of talent to contribute this year.  Perry is super fast and proved he will be an impact this year averaging 7.2 points per game during the Badgers summer tour of Italy.  Walk-on Brett Valentyn will provide some emergency depth at the point guard position.  J.P. Gavinski, a 6-11 center, averaged 20.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 7.6 blocks during his senior season at Wisconsin Dells High School.  Like with most big men at Wisconsin, Gavinski isn’t expected to do too much during his freshman campaign, but will have the opportunity to learn the ropes from some quality big men.


Who to Watch: Keep an eye on the forwards.  Alando Tucker will put up national Player of the Year type numbers after averaging 19.0 points and 5.7 rebounds as a junior, all while battling with a nose injury.  For his senior campaign, the 6-6 forward has added a little range on his jumper and, if Wisconsin can make a run, it will be because of Tucker.  The most interesting battle for playing time will take place at the other forward spot.  Jason Chappell started 30 games as a power forward last year, but Marcus Landry has the talent to dethrone him from his starting position.  Chappell is a steady presence under the basket and averaged 4.4 points and 4.3 rebounds on the year.  Landry missed the second half of his freshman season due to academics, but averaged 6.0 points in 16 appearances.  No matter who starts, both will see quality minutes.  At the center spot, Brian Butch returns to add to his 9.9 points and team high 6.0 rebounds.  After a disappointing freshmen season, Butch came on strong once he found his role on the team.  With even another year of experience under his belt, Butch is ready for a big season.  Surprise sophomore Kevin Gullickson and 6-11 Greg Stiemsma will add even more depth up front.


Final Projection: If there is a problem, it’s at the two guard spot.  Kammron Taylor will once again run the show.  He’s a solid long range shooter and scorer, but needs to take better care of the ball.  By March, incoming freshman Hughes could take over the point guard duties, sliding Taylor over to the two.  In the meantime, Taylor will run the point and Michael Flowers will be his backcourt mate.  Despite only starting in two games, Flowers was third on the team in minutes and shouldn’t have a problem moving into the starting role.  After sophomore Joe Krabbenhoft, the depth on the perimeter will have to be handled by the freshmen, unless things get out of hand and everybody’s favorite walk-on Tanner Bronson can mop up some minutes.  The only thing that can beat the Badgers on paper is poor free-throw shooting.  Besides Taylor, the team is questionable in that category and Tucker is just painful to watch on the charity stripe.  Eventually the Badgers will lose a game down the stretch because of free throws, but hopefully it won’t be in March.


Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA


Projected Starting Five:

Kammron Taylor, Senior, Guard, 14.2 points per game

Michael Flowers, Junior, Guard, 6.1 points per game

Alando Tucker, Senior, Forward, 19.0 points per game

Jason Chappell, Senior, Forward, 4.4 points per game

Brian Butch, Junior, Center, 9.9 points per game


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