Ahead of a huge Big Ten clash with undefeated No. 7 Michigan Tuesday night, No. 9 Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Greg Gard, along with forwards Micah Potters and Nate Reuvers, took time to speak to the media with some pregame thoughts:
Gard opened by discussing his admiration for a surging Wolverine team that currently sits atop conference standings:
“They’re a really good team. They’re playing well and can hurt you in a lot of different ways.”
The sixth year head coach spoke specifically about freshman Hunter Dickinson, who currently leads the Maize and Blue in points, rebounds, and blocks, praising how quickly he’s adapted to the college game:
“He doesn’t play like a freshman, he’s more physical. He doesn’t get rattled by double teams, and teams that have done that to him. He’s big, he’s listed as seven one, so he’s a handful, but he’s also got great patience. He has great poise and obviously finishes at a high rate.”
Gard also mentioned Michigan’s defensive prowess as a unit:
“I think part of it’s by system and part is by personnel. They put good pressure on the ball in key spots, but don’t get too extended. They’ve got size across the front line, and I think they do a good job of not getting out of position. It’s a combination of things that make them a good defensive team.”
Micah Potter discussed how the team’s cohesiveness and understanding of positioning improved their shooting as of late:
“The biggest thing is chemistry, you know, obviously we have guys that can shoot, but they also understand where guys are going to be at position-wise on offense for the type of shots we’re getting, whether it be post up kick outs or offensive rebound kick outs. An inside out three is the highest percentage [shot] you can get. So we’re trying to play like that.”
Potter also praised freshman Johnny Davis’ ability to get rebounds in spite of him rarely being the tallest guy on the court:
“The biggest thing is he attacks the rim. If he has the ball or not he’s always active. In rebounding, that’s the biggest thing, especially for a guard. Guards have a tendency to not box out as much. And obviously he’s super long and athletic, you know, and the athleticism he has means he can react and go move and get balls a lot easier than a lot of other guys. But the biggest thing is he’s just active, he’s constantly attacking the rim, with or without the ball.”
Nate Reuvers mentioned how D’Mitrik Trice’s development has been crucial to how the team plays late in games:
“He’s got a lot more confidence. He’s shooting it really well. Late in games, some of those shots are really tough. He’s got a guy in his face and everything, but he’s still just knocking them down. It takes a lot of pressure off. He had in that Indiana game probably at least four or five clutch shots down the stretch at the end of the game and whatnot. Really just helped us keep us in that game if you didn’t make those shots.
The Badgers will tip off with the Wolverines at 6:00 PM CST Tuesday night in front of a national television audience on ESPN.