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Wisconsin basketball returning player profile: Joe Hedstrom

What will the injured big man look like this year after his recovery?

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

While the official start date of the 2020-2021 college basketball season is still up for discussion, we here at Bucky’s 5th Quarter are champing at the bit for hoops to start and have decided to get our returning player profile series going again. Over the next two weeks we will profile all of the returning players and then the week after that we will profile all of the incoming freshmen on the team.

The next player up for the defending Big Ten champion Wisconsin Badgers is big man Joe Hedstrom.

Wisconsin v Northwestern Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Player: Joe Hedstrom

Position: center

Height: 7-foot-0

Year: redshirt sophomore

Hometown: Hopkins, Minn. (Hopkins High School)

Recruiting info: class of 2018; 3-star center by both 247Sports (No. 62 center, No. 8 in Minn.) and Rivals; offers from Boise State, Utah, Cleveland State, Columbia, Denver, Loyola Marymount, North Dakota, North Dakota State, and South Dakota

2019-20 statistics: six games played, 1-for-2, two points, two rebounds, one turnover

Career statistics: six games played, 1-for-2, two points, two rebounds, one turnover

Player overview: The Hopkins, Minn. native averaged 14.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as a senior at Hopkins High School, helping the Royals to a 26-2 record and a final national rank of No. 38. Hedstrom provides the Badgers with size, shooting ability and a hard-working attitude.

Hedstrom was a walk-on his first year but is now on scholarship after a redshirt season in 2018-19. He was slated to get some minutes early last season due to big man Micah Potter being forced to sit out the first semester, but he had knee surgery on Dec. 21 and missed the rest of the season.

Role on 2020-21 team: To start the season, and assuming he’s fully healthy, Hedstrom will probably be used as the first big man off the bench. With Potter and Nate Reuvers in the starting lineup, if one (or both God forbid) of them gets in foul trouble Hedstrom will be counted on early in the season while the freshman big man Ben Carlson gets his feet wet.

At 7-feet tall, Hedstrom has the height to be an intimidating force at the rim on defense but he’ll need to make sure he knows the ins and outs of the Wisconsin defensive scheme before Greg Gard fully trusts him.

Offensively, however, Hedstrom brings a bit more to the table already. He’s the ideal stretch five that the Badgers have traditionally liked to have on their roster. In a perfect world he won’t be needed for too many minutes this year, but he’s certainly an intriguing player that could use some minutes to gear up for 2021-22.