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Wisconsin basketball: 2019-20 wings preview

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The wings will need to play big in order for the Badgers to have success this year.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Wings

Positon Group Members

  • Kobe King, redshirt sophomore, wing, 4.5 ppg, 2 rpg, 31% from three
  • Aleem Ford, redshirt junior, wing, 4.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 36% from three
  • Tyler Wahl, freshman, wing, 6-foot-7, four-star recruit
  • Courtland Cuevas, junior, wing, 6-foot-5 walk on from Madison
  • Samad Qawi, junior, wing, 6-foot-6 walk on from Racine

Projected wing depth

Projected Wing Depth

Rotation spot Wing
Rotation spot Wing
Starters Kobe King
First off bench Aleem Ford
Depth Tyler Wahl, Courtland Cuevas, Samad Qawi

Breakout candidate: Aleem Ford’s role through two season in a Badger uniform has been perimeter shooter. On a per 40 minutes basis, Ford averaged nearly three times as many three point attempts as two point attempts. He has drawn a lot of praise from teammates and coaches over the summer for flashing more strength and aggressiveness. Ford led all scorers in the Red-White scrimmage with 11 points, shooting 9-for-10 from the free throw line. No three point baskets and 10 free throw attempts show Ford’s new found aggression may be for real.

Unless Micah Potter can pull off some witchcraft and wizardry to be cleared by the NCAA, Ford is the second tallest player with college experience behind Nate Reuvers (Note to Drew – expect these Harry Potter references to never end). Ford is poised to show his summer work paid off with a more multi-faceted basketball arsenal.

Key Player: There is a good chance the Kobe King breakout would have happened earlier had he not suffered a season ending knee injury as a freshman. Despite playing in all 34 games last season King did not appear fully confident post injury.

Now almost two years from surgery, the slashing, aggressive style King flashed as a freshman should return. If the rumors from the super-secret scrimmage against Iowa State are to be believed, King was the Badgers leading scorer.

Regardless, King’s ability to create his own shot off the dribble is a much needed piece to the offensive puzzle for the Badgers. As his confidence and ability grows, the more dangerous Wisconsin will be.

Overview of position group: Depth is minimal on the wing, only Ford and King have college experience. Freshman Tyler Wahl does figure to be a part of the rotation. Often the biggest struggle for younger players under the Ryan/Gard regime has been picking up defensive responsibilities.

Wahl was a standout defender in high school. Equally capable of guarding 6-foot-3 Tre Jones and 6-foot-9 Matthew Hurt, both high caliber Team USA team members that now play for Duke. Wahl needs to become a more consistent shooter, but he is ready to contribute immediately on defense.

Walk-ons Courtland Cuevas and Samad Qawi are the newest members of the team. Both joined after the team held open tryouts for UW students. Cuevas and Qawi are expected to provide depth for the scout team. However Qawi recently turned a few heads with an emphatic dunk on Nate Reuvers.

Which also serves as a good reminder that despite what itchy Twitter fingers may want to type during in-game frustrations, division one athletes are better than you.

The Badgers have plenty of talent on the wing but consistency is key. Experienced guard and post play will be expected, but the ceiling of the Badger’s season will be determined in large part by how effective King and Ford can elevate their play.