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Badgers G Kamari McGee confidence “through the roof” after career night

The Badgers guard had himself a hell of night at the right time on Tuesday.

The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Michigan Wolverines 64-59 on Tuesday, potentially keeping their season alive as the season nears an end.

A big reason for the win? Surprisingly, backup point guard Kamari McGee, who played 14 key minutes as Chucky Hepburn’s reinforcement.

McGee has struggled to crack the rotation at times this season, battling to win that backup point guard role, but the guard played his best game of the year at the most crucial time, potentially solidifying a role in the lineup as March comes.

The 6’0 guard scored six points on 3/4 shooting, while grabbing a key offensive rebound and dishing out an assist.

More importantly, he executed the offense, which the Badgers have struggled to do when their backups touch the floor, playing in an aggressive manner and aiding Wisconsin in reaching a 12-point lead in the second half.

After the game, when asked about his confidence, the UW-Green Bay transfer didn’t hold back.

“Through the roof,” McGee said. “Well, my confidence is always high. But, it’s definitely a booster, you know. [I] just feel like I’m playing at a much better pace and I’m playing under control. So, it’s definitely gonna keep going up, but it’s always there, regardless of how I’m performing on either end. The confidence never, never drops.”

The backup point guard acknowledged his impact, believing in himself as he was awarded with significant minutes.

“I feel like I gave a good spark on both ends. Whether it was me just being a pest on the defensive end or getting into the paint and I’m making the right reads, I felt like I was just all over the place and just gave us a spark the spark that we needed.”

At 6’0, 180 pounds, McGee is, without question, undersized on the court.

But, when he can just execute the offense at the minimal level of requirement, the backup has shown he can play at this level, producing good energy on the defensive end.

McGee’s revelation has come at the best time for the Badgers, who are in dire need of backup depth as they come close to the postseason, with Jordan Davis and Carter Gilmore serving as the only playable options thus far.

Now, the Badgers have a backup guard they’re comfortable playing, and one who’s clearly improving with pacing and confidence as the season prolongs.

McGee isn’t an otherworld talent by any means, but Wisconsin doesn’t need him to be. Instead, they need someone capable of playing turnover-free basketball, while remaining aggressive and executing the offense, which hasn’t always been there for their guards.

Following his career-high performance as a Badger, McGee earned heaps of praise from his teammates and coaches, as Steven Crowl and Greg Gard both mentioned the backup’s key minutes.

Gard was appreciative of McGee’s performance, adding how beneficial the increased rest is for starter Chucky Hepburn.

In [Kamari McGee], I thought, you know, he’s practiced well, he’s given a spark before, and I thought it was a good matchup for him,” Gard said. [It helped] take some of the pressure off Chucky [Hepburn] and [Hepburn] was just constantly having to you know, facilitate things and run that it gives him a time just to rest and reflect a little bit too. [McGee] made the most of his opportunities. I thought he did a good job and you know, that’s been the key.”

Crowl believes the pace of the game has slowed down for McGee, which has elevated his play.

“I think [Kamari McGee] had the best game of his year, getting downhill and playing at a better pace. Like we were just talking out in the hallway, the game’s kind of slowing down for Kam and we really saw that tonight,” Crowl said.

If the Badgers can get ten good minutes out of McGee, it can keep the offense afloat when Hepburn is on the bench, while providing the starter with necessary rest.