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Wisconsin basketball freshman player profile: Justin Taphorn

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The preferred walk-on joins the Badgers after a solid high school career.

Courtesy of Justin’s Twitter account

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 first freshman up on our player profiles is preferred walk-on Justin Taphorn.

Position: small forward

Height: 6-foot-4

Year: freshman

Hometown: Pekin, Illinois (Pekin High School)

Recruiting info: Class of 2020, no stars, not ranked

Player overview: The Pekin, Illinois native is one of two freshmen preferred walk-ons (along with Carter Gilmore) who will be joining the Wisconsin Badgers program this season. Taphorn was lightly recruited, receiving preferred walk-on offers from only the Badgers and Missouri Valley program Bradley, which is just 20 minutes from Taphorn’s hometown. He also received some interest from Division III schools. The 6-foot-4 wing averaged 10.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists as a senior and displayed a good shooting stroke from three on his high school highlight tape.

Taphorn will likely play small forward or shooting guard for the Badgers and will be an important practice and scout team player for Greg Gard and his staff. Taphorn comes from an athletic family, as his father played at UW-Green Bay under Dick Bennett and his older brother Nathan had a fairly successful basketball career of his own, playing four years at Northwestern. As is the case with most walk-ons, expectations are low that Taphorn will ever become a real contributor for the Badgers, but he looks to be the type of hard-working, fundamentally sound player Gard and his staff like having on the roster.

Role on 2020-21 team: As a true freshman walk-on, Taphorn will be at the end of the bench for the Badgers this season. He will be a player that that will contribute for the scout team in practice, but there really isn’t a whole lot to expect from Taphorn for the 2020-21 season. If Taphorn ever sees playing time in real games, it will likely come when he is an upperclassmen.