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Friday, April 19, 2024
Expect shakeups to starting five when Hughes, Bohannon leave
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Expect shakeups to starting five when Hughes, Bohannon leave

Now that Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils have cut down the nets, the 2009-'10 NCAA men's basketball season has finally come to an end. As a Badger fan already looking ahead to the 2010-'11 campaign, one of my favorite parts of discussing Wisconsin basketball in the off-season is speculating next year's starting lineup; who will replace the seniors from this season and how players may fare facing the potential of an expanded role. So here's an early look at the potential starting lineup for UW for next season.

 

Departing seniors

Only senior guards Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon leave Wisconsin after this season, but unfortunately for UW, these were two impact players.

Hughes started the year strong, particularly in the non-conference slate. Hughes provided Wisconsin with consistent scoring and solid defense playing the point. As the year progressed, Hughes became more inconsistent, and turned in some disappointing performances in important games. In UW's only Big Ten Tournament contest Hughes shot 4-for-16 from the field, and didn't even connect on a field goal until there were two minutes remaining in the game.

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Then in Wisconsin's second round NCAA Tournament game, Hughes shot an unimpressive 3-for-8 from the field, and turned the ball over six times. Besides forward Jon Leuer, Hughes may have been the Badgers' best offensive weapon, but when Wisconsin needed stability from its senior in big-time games, Hughes came up short, concluding his career as a Badger in disconcerting fashion.

Bohannon provided Wisconsin with a long-range threat last season for Wisconsin, but could never quite achieve the status of an elite long-distance shooter, which was his reputation entering Wisconsin from high school. Bohannon never reached 40 percent from long range in his four season with Wisconsin, and often missed clutch 3-point attempts. He did, however, improve his ability to get to the basket as he gained experience and was still a dangerous shooter from behind the 3-point line.

I may be nitpicking with these two players. They both gave UW heavy minutes and experience, and were more than capable offensive players. But while replacing Hughes and Bohannon may not be easy, it sure won't be impossible. Here's what UW's starting lineup should look like next season.

Guard—Jordan Taylor

Taylor will be the most experienced and talented guard in the starting lineup for next season. Taylor was inserted as a starter when Jon Leuer was injured, and head coach Bo Ryan couldn't take Taylor out once Leuer came back, sticking with a three-guard lineup all year because of how well Taylor was playing. Taylor is a good ball-handler, can get to the basket and can also hit longer-range shots. He struggled with his mid-range jump-shot, but can be effective in that area at times.

Taylor somewhat fits the mold of Hughes as a shoot-first point guard, but so far in his career Taylor has not looked to the basket as much as Hughes had. To be successful next season, the Badgers need Taylor to provide stability at the point guard position, remain a viable scoring option and also develop a knack for distributing the ball.

 

Guard—Rob Wilson

This is the most unproven starter for Wisconsin. With Ryan's propensity to start upperclassmen over freshmen, it's a pretty safe bet Wilson will start next season. Wilson had his moments last season, such as when he came off the bench to score 13 big points in a comeback win against Michigan. But as a whole he was a marginal offensive player for Wisconsin, neither showing the ability to get to the rim nor shoot from long range.

The Badgers will need Wilson to show improvement next season. He'll be a role player, but he'll need to at least give opposing defenses something to think about when he has the ball.

 

Forward—Tim Jarmusz

Last season Jarmusz began the year as a starter, but once Leuer fully returned from injury Ryan went with Taylor to remain in the starting lineup and relegated Jarmusz to the bench. Jarmusz should be back in the lineup next season.

Badger fans were never happy with Jarmusz last year. His game is long-distance shooting from a set position, and he only did that marginally well. Jarmusz rarely made plays off the dribble or through the pass, and was also frequently picked by the opposition on defense. Next year Wisconsin needs Jarmusz to solidify his outside shooting and become quicker on defense to be an effective player.

 

Forward—Keaton Nankivil

Nankivil's greatest problem last season was consistency. He's shown what he can do at times, like when he scored 25 on 9-of-14 shooting at Purdue last season. But other games he's disappeared.

When Nankivil has a poor performance, it's not because he's shooting a low percentage, it's because he's not taking enough looks at the basket. Nankivil will be called on for more scoring next season. Standing 6'8"" and boasting impressive shooting range, Nankivil needs to be more assertive offensively next year.

 

Forward—Jon Leuer

Leuer improved the most of any Badger last season, despite missing extensive time because of an injury. Leuer showed he could carry the team on his back at times, such as against Michigan State at home and early against Cornell.

Offensively he shot the ball well from all over the court, and scored consistently from the low- and high-post. Defensively he has the size and strength to guard the opposition's most prolific low-post threat.

Fans should expect Leuer to become the centerpiece of the Wisconsin offense next season, and if he progresses even further as a player, it will be a prosperous year for the senior.

Who do you think Wisconsin will start in the 2010-'11 season? Can they fill the void left by Hughes and Bohannon? E-mail Scott at kellogg2@wisc.edu.

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