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Wisconsin basketball freshman player profile: Ben Carlson

The versatile big man out of Minnesota will be looking to add some depth to the UW front court.

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NCAA Basketball: Michigan 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 freshman up on our player profile series is freshman big man Ben Carlson.

Position: forward

Height: 6-foot-9

Year: freshman

Hometown: Woodbury, Minn. (East Ridge High School)

Recruiting info: class of 2020; 4-star recruit according to the 247 Composite; No. 98 in the nation, No. 16 PF, No. 4 in Minnesota; had other offers from Purdue, Stanford, Xavier, Colorado, Creighton, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Wake Forest and others; after officially visiting Xavier, Wisconsin and Purdue in back-to-back-to-back weeks in late August/early September of 2019, Carlson picked the Badgers.

Player overview: A finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball Award last year, Carlson was a record-setter at East Ridge, leaving as one of the most decorated players in school history. Carlson set school records for career points (2,004), rebounds (1,083) and blocked shots (145) during his four years there. During his senior season, Carlson averaged 24.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per game while leading the Raptors to a 20-7 record and a conference title.

After he signed his letter of intent, head coach Greg Gard heaped praise on him in an interview: “On the court, Ben has a tremendously diverse skill set that should ultimately allow him to be effective in the post, off the dribble and from the perimeter as a shooter. His skills, combined with his great athletic ability, has us excited to begin working with Ben to help him reach his goals as a Badger.”

Carlson is exactly the type of big man that has thrived at Wisconsin for the past 20 years. He is capable of banging bodies down low and getting rebounds while also stepping outside to hit a three. His head coach at East Ridge, Josh Peltier, told Jesse Temple of The Athletic ($) back in May:

“This year, from the perimeter, he’s expanded it a lot. He had the full green light to shoot from wherever this year. He shot almost 36 percent from 3 this year taking just below three a game. He’s got a midrange game as well. He’s not a back-to-the-basket guy. He’s a guy that can play a variety of positions and put pressure on teams in a variety of ways.”

He’s also a guy that can handle the ball in a pinch, which is beneficial if teams try to press the Badgers, and can drive to the basket and finish through contact. He can protect the rim as well, but will do well to add some bulk in the weight room. He is by no means skinny, he just has a frame that can support more weight.

Role on 2020-21 team: The front court for the Badgers this year is pretty much set in stone already. Nate Reuvers, Micah Potter and Aleem Ford are all starting and Tyler Wahl is the first forward off the bench. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of minutes left over for any other big guys, but Carlson could certainly benefit from playing a bit this year since he could be thrust into the starting lineup in 2021-22.