For the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2019-20 season, big changes will be forthcoming.
Looking ahead to the future, B5Q writers asked ourselves, “Who should be the players to watch on Greg Gard’s team for next season?”
Six of us sat down to rank, discuss and debate the returning/incoming players on a 1-15 scale based on our respective point of views (criteria we laid out on Friday morning). We revealed No. 5 through No. 2 already, and now we crown the Wisconsin student-athlete that we believe is THE Badger to watch in 2019-20.
You guessed it, folks, it is forward Nate Reuvers.
- 34 games (all starts)
- 7.9 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, 1.0 assists per game, 1.8 blocks per game (led team)
- Shot 44.9% from the field, 38.1% from three-point range
- 63.4% free throw shooter
- Scored career-high 22 points and recorded 10 rebounds in road win at Illinois on Jan. 23 (first career double-double); scored 18 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in road loss at Maryland on Jan. 14; registered 14 points and six rebounds in Big Ten Tournament win vs. Nebraska on Mar. 15
- Blocked nine shots in Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament win vs. Stanford on Nov. 21; blocked seven shots in road win at Minnesota on Feb. 6
Why B5Q ranked him at No. 1
Our band of writers break down Reuvers and why he is rated so highly on our list. The conversation is lightly edited for clarity.
Jake Kocorowski: Coming in at No. 1 on the list, and beating out Kobe King by one vote is Nate Reuvers. He finished fourth on the team in scoring, third on the team in rebounding and first in blocks. Without a doubt, Reuvers will need to replace some (most?) of the production that will be missed from departing seniors Ethan Happ and Khalil Iverson in the paint, along with asserting himself on defense more.
Ryan Mellenthin: His inside/outside game has the potential to really cause problems for opposing teams.
Kevin O’Connell: Reuvers’ development is really what will determine if this is a tourney team or not IMO.
Drew Hamm: Reuvers either needs to be the best player for the Badgers next year or the second best, because King exploded, for Wisconsin to do anything good.
Jake: Owen, you, Drew and Kevin all had him at No. 1. What stands out to you the most about Reuvers?
Owen Riese: REMEMBER THE LAST GOOD TALL GUY WISCONSIN HAD THAT COULD SHOOT THREES WOW ME TOO.
Kevin: I think there is an argument to be made that Reuvers is the Badgers’ best three-point shooter.
Ryan: And his ability to hit from outside, will help open up the paint for guys like King to slash and finish, with him drawing the opposing big out to guard him.
Kevin: He’s long, a great shot blocker and can really knock down threes ... we’re all hoping he can make a Year 3 jump similar to Frank Kaminsky.
Neal: Year 3 Kaminsky jump ... man that would be awesome.
Drew: Number one, he’s tall. Number two, he looks like he won’t be able to buy cigarettes for another decade. Number three, he can shoot the three. Number four, he swats shit with no regard for human life on defense. Number five, he, uh, better learn to stop fouling or else the Badgers are in trouble.
Jake: I was think that same thing, Neal, and I feel he’s ahead of where Kaminsky was at this time in his career. It was an interesting juxtaposition for him during the season. Two games in particular where Happ was in foul trouble, he stepped up with career games (hello road contests at Maryland and Illinois). Then others where he was the one on the bench with foul trouble.
Kevin: He still seemed a little overmatched physically sometimes last season, maybe due to the fact he had to burn his redshirt as a freshman, but I’d expect him to put on some weight and be a real offensive weapon next year.
Neal: If we flashback to when Reuvers, Brad Davison and King were freshman during the Australian trip ... King and Davison were really impressing and Reuvers was staring down the barrel of a redshirt year. Yet here we are two years later, talking about Reuvers as most impactful player.