News out of Madison yesterday afternoon is that Ethan Happ will return to the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball program next year and withdraw his name from the NBA Draft this June. Happ came off of a junior season where he played 30.8 minutes per game and averaged 17.9 points, 8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting 52.8% from the field. The move was more expected than the alternative despite the Badgers poor record last season and missing the tournament.
Happ didn’t have an outstanding season, but rather had a season that was confronted by Big Ten teams double teaming him and forcing him to play a different style of basketball. Nonetheless his bread and butter low post game is not what NBA scouts were worried about. It is no secret that Happ lacks NBA size and while his low post skill is among the best in the class, he lacks any sort of NBA shooting ability. This in the end made Happ reevaluate his stock and return for a final season at Wisconsin.
When Happ returns he will be accompanied by every key player that played alongside him last season. Another year will be under all of their belts and they will come back with reasonable expectations from Wisconsin fans. Their biggest and most obvious expectation is clear: make it back to the NCAA tournament. The Badgers are no longer injured and young, but rather healthy and more experienced. Trice returns along with Kobe King coming off of injury, but also having a long offseason of work, Davison will come back with a healthy shoulder after surgery and build on a memorable freshman year. Iverson and Pritzl will also be seniors joining Happ and looking to close their college careers on a high note.
In the end this announcement gives Badger fans much to look forward to for next season. Many pieces return allowing for coach Greg Gard to use them all versitilly next season and play many different players in different roles. If Wisconsin is to be successful next season they will need many of the players to play at a high level and play different roles. As far as Ethan Happ’s potential NBA career, he needs to develop a shot. It’s as simple as that. If he develops a shot, he could be a versatile NBA 3 or 4 with a strong post game and an ability to stretch the floor. If he can do that for next season at Wisconsin, he could provide the lift and boost that the Badgers need to become a top team in the nation.