The Wisconsin Badgers are nearing the start of their 2023-2024 season, with an exhibition game against UW-Stevens Point coming in exactly one week to kick off their campaign.
There’s been a sense of energy around the program this offseason after the Badgers failed to meet expectations in 2022, missing the NCAA Tournament for just the second time since 1998.
However, there’s been a lot of continuity this season for the Badgers, who returned nearly every rotational player from last season, except for Jordan Davis, while adding A.J. Storr from the transfer portal and Nolan Winter, Gus Yalden, and John Blackwell as freshmen.
On what’s expected to be a deeper team for the Badgers in 2023, there have been questions as to how the freshmen will fit in, with Gard dubbing it “open season” for minutes.
But, there may be some clarity regarding one freshman, as NCAA Insider Jon Rothstein reported that Nolan Winter is “firmly cemented” in the Badgers rotation ahead of the season, with head coach Greg Gard sharing with him that the forward is at least inside the top eight.
The Badgers hinted at this last week, as reports surfaced that Winter was among Wisconsin’s top unit, consisting of eight players, following a strong Red-White scrimmage performance.
#Badgers top unit on Thursday appeared to be:— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) October 19, 2023
FWIW Gilmore started at the SF when UW first broke 5-on-5.
Blackwell, Lindsey, McGee, Yalden, and Ilver moved up with that unit as time went on.
There were all sorts of… pic.twitter.com/EFkTW2CaC1
It appears that Wisconsin’s top six are set with A.J. Storr and the returning starters, although the rotation within that unit is currently unclear.
However, for Winter to be potentially right behind that is an impressive feat, considering how tough it is for freshmen to see consistent playing time at Wisconsin.
The Badgers lacked size last season, and will surely benefit from Winter’s 6’11 frame, while there could even be possibilities of the freshman playing alongside Steven Crowl in bigger lineups.
Rotations will start to fizzle out as the Badgers begin the season, but one thing seems sure at the moment: Winter has himself a spot among the top eight.