MADISON — Basketball season is nearing closer and closer, and on Sunday afternoon, Wisconsin Badgers fans saw a sneak peek at the 2018-19 men’s basketball squad at the Kohl Center with the annual Red/White Scrimmage.
The team participated in three 10-minute periods for a scrimmage that lasted just under an hour. The White team led by forward Khalil Iverson and guards Brad Davison and Brevin Pritzl outscored Ethan Happ, D’Mitrik Trice, and the Red team 41–34. That was due to a huge first period for the White squad, which shot 53.3 percent compared to Red’s 20 percent for a 21–6 advantage. Happ and the Red team rebounded in the second and third periods to actually outscore their teammates 16–11 and 12–9, respectively.
These observations are just thoughts based on three 10-minute periods of basketball from a team that has officially practiced together only since Sept. 27. Plus, this was just one glorified practice.
On that note...
- The shooting was not great, as the Red only made 12 of 29 attempts (29 percent) with the White squad not doing much better in converting 16 of 40 shots (40 percent).
- There were also 18 turnovers (11 Red, seven White) between the squads in the 30 minutes of court time.
- Head coach Greg Gard noted after the scrimmage that it may have been the best defense played during an intrasquad scrimmage in a long time, which obviously could have contributed to those numbers. Regardless, he said they need to clean up the turnovers.
- Davison looked solid, scoring 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting (2-of-4 from three-point range) with two rebounds and two assists for the White team. I liked his game both attacking the rim in the paint and also his shooting, a promising sign since he is recovering from shoulder surgery. Gard mentioned he may play Davison at three different positions.
- Sophomore forward Nate Reuvers looks like he has built upon his frame, and it showed on one possession where he matched up against Happ and hit a contested shot while drawing a foul. He finished the game with six points and three rebounds. Just one play, but he told us during local media day last week that he gained 20–25 pounds. That added work in the weight room will likely pay dividends this year against physical Big Ten opponents.
- Happ led all scorers with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting and made all three free-throw attempts to go along with his nine rebounds. He even brought out a nasty spin move on the way to a layup.
- Iverson led the team with 11 rebounds and added six points, though he committed five turnovers.
- Returning from season-ending injuries, Trice and Kobe King added 10 and five points for the Red team, respectively, on a combined 4-of-17 shooting, though both were perfect from the charity stripe (4-of-4 altogether). At the end of the third period, Trice connected on a three-pointer at the buzzer in a nice way to end the public scrimmage.
- True freshman guard Tai Strickland impressed a bit. He was only 1-of-3 from the field as he registered three points and three rebounds in about 25 minutes. What stood out, however, was some of the defense the NBA legacy showed with a steal—and from a non-coach eye, just matching up on players and grabbing boards. He did endure some freshman moments like committing a turnover when trying to get by Happ with a nifty move, but it will be interesting to see if he can crack a rotation with depth at guard this season.