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The secret behind Connor Essegian’s immediate success with the Badgers

The Badgers have earned significant contributions from their freshman in 2022.

Freshman Connor Essegian’s growth into a key starter has been the biggest revelation of an up-and-down season for the Wisconsin Badgers, as the guard has consistently grown himself into a bigger role as the year has prolonged.

Since becoming a starter in Wisconsin’s win over Penn State on January 17th, Essegian has averaged 14.2 points per game, while shooting 38.7% from three-point range, developing into one of, if not the, best scorers on the team.

How has the freshman flourished onto the scene so quickly in his Badgers’ tenure? It’s the unwavering confidence that Essegian carries with him every time he steps onto the basketball court that makes him the lethal scorer that he is.

I feel like a big part of my game throughout my whole career leading up to even just college has been my confidence and, you know, just me going out there and just playing and just going hard really,” said Essegian after Wisconsin’s 64-59 win over the Michigan Wolverines.

While the career-high 23 points against the Wolverines will be a confidence booster for Essegian, the 6’4 guard believes that has been one of the biggest aspects of his game which has provided him an edge over others.

“I feel like [the career night will] help my confidence a little bit but, I feel like that’s just kind of always been an edge I’ve had on people. Just kind of being able to go out there and know I’m here for a reason. I’ve worked hard to get here, so that confidence will never never be shot.”

How has the guard been able to develop that consistency? Via the way he prepares, as Essegian has developed a routine that has stuck with him to his college days.

“It’s just preparation, you know. I just try and prepare the same way for every game,” Essegian said. “Getting the same shots up, same routine.”

But, one of the biggest aspects of growth from the freshman guard in 2022 has been his ability to impact the game in different ways other than his shooting ability, which was seen on Tuesday when Essegian drove twice for layups.

“Started off hitting some early shots, but obviously that faded, you know, and found other ways to contribute. So really, it’s just kinda letting the game come to me. I’m not really forcing anything and you know, let my teammates help get me open and me helping get them open, so it’s kind of a big circle.”

Essegian will look to continue adding to his arsenal, which should come as he gets bigger in size through his collegiate career, aiding him in finding different ways to scorer other than just hitting threes.

“Definitely on the scouting report, [driving is] probably not, you know, people’s priority when guarding me. So, it’s been a part of my game I’ve been trying to work on. I know defenders are going to try and get me off that three-point line. So, adding aspects to my game is gonna be huge going [on] for my career.”

Earlier in the season, when interviewing Essegian, the freshman guard shared a similar sentiment in regard to his confidence, despite the adjustment from high school to college.

“It’s different, you know, being the main player on a high school team for four years and coming here and coming off the bench right now. There’s definitely a different approach I’ve got to bring to it, but, at the same time, I’m just playing basketball. I’m just going in there and on the same court, doing the same thing, and putting the ball in the hole. It’s something where I’m just having fun and doing whatever it takes to win.”

That confidence is a much-needed element at the collegiate level and has been the secret behind Essegian’s immediate success with the Badgers.

While he certainly needs improvements on the defensive end, his unwavering confidence has provided a much-needed boost offensively for the Badgers in 2022.