On January 11, senior point guard Traevon Jackson went down with a foot injury against Rutgers. After Jackson's departure from the contest the Badger's squandered a comfortable lead and ultimately lost to the Scarlet Knights by a score of 67-62. The Badgers game plan has completely changed once Jackson sustained the injury, as the point guard role was handed over to sophomore guard Bronson Koenig.
Many doubted whether Koenig could adequately fill in for the ailing Jackson as a playmaker and a leader. Since taking over as the starting point guard, Koenig has increased his scoring total from 4.4 points per game to 11 points per game, as well as consistently knocking down over 40 percent of shots from beyond the arc. Before sustaining the foot injury Jackson's total +/- was at 5.7 for the season, while Koenig's total +/- is up to 7.1 for the season. In this time span the Badgers have strung together seven consecutive victories with Koenig at the forefront of each one. Needless to say, Koenig has silenced most of the doubters.
In a recent press conference, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan praised Koenig for dedication, decision-making, confidence, and maturation.
While it has become evidently clear that Koenig is capable of consistently recording numbers that are equal to or surpass Jackson, there are still some questions about Koenig that remain unanswered. Jackson posses undeniable confidence and leadership qualities that have yet to be seen coming from the sophomore. These qualities have led to Ryan to instill extraordinary amounts of trust in Jackson. In the past, Ryan has given Jackson the ball in late game situations, most notably when Jackson missed a midrange jumper against Kentucky that would have sent the Badgers to their first NCAA title game under Ryan. It remains to be seen whether Ryan will put the ball in Jackson or Koenig’s hands late in the second half.
As the Big Ten Tournament approaches, the Badgers' coaching staff has a huge decision to make. Ryan has made it clear that no decision has been made as to whom will be the starting point guard down the road.
Without a doubt the debate over who is to start at point guard will continue to rage on. Although it has become obvious that Koenig is maturing before our eyes, into a player that hopefully leads the Badgers to postseason tournament success. Whether that means as a starter or coming off the bench is yet to be determined.