Coming into the 2016 season, no one expected D’Mitrik Trice to play a big role for the Badgers. However, we are just over two weeks into the season and he has proven to be an integral part of this team.
No one saw this coming. Through seven games, the freshman has become arguably the Badgers most effective bench player. While his averages may be modest (5.6 points per game, 1.9 assists per game), he has provided a presence as a backup point guard that has not been felt since the graduation of Traevon Jackson made Bronson Koenig the team’s only real and viable point guard option. The Badgers struggled in 2015-2016 at running an efficient offense when Koenig was on the bench, with either Jordan Hill or Zak Showalter running the point. Neither possessed the poise needed at the position. Trice, on the other hand, carries a confidence about him that seems beyond his years. He is assertive with the ball and knows what to do when it is in his hands.
Trice has also been a hallmark of efficiency. He is currently shooting 50% from the field and 58% from three, while being 89% from the free throw stripe. He forces nothing, which is exactly what you want from a backup point guard. He also plays great defense, and has shown that he is capable of doing what Badgers scrappers of the past pride themselves on the most: drawing charges.
His best performance thus far came in the Badgers 69-51 victory over Chicago St. In only 23 minutes, Trice dished out seven assists, a number that is hardly ever reached by a Badgers player. Trice followed this up by recording five points, three assists, and four rebounds against a tough Tennessee team in Maui, playing 24 minutes. Very few freshmen come to Wisconsin and make this much of an impact this early in their careers.
Trice has played so well that he has garnered simultaneous floor time with Koenig. This has enabled the Badgers to utilize Koenig as a shooting guard, which opens him up for looks that he often does not see while orchestrating the offense. With Koenig’s knockdown shooting ability, this could help turn the Badgers usually modest offense into a much more high octane one.
While Trice’s role for 2016-2017 season will remain as being a bench player, the future looks promising. He most certainly will be the Badgers starting point guard after the graduation of Koenig, and will be one of the Badgers most experienced players after the graduation of four of the starting five. Trice is going to play a key role in transitioning the Badgers from the Hayes-Koenig era into a hopefully equally successful one.
Trice comes from a basketball family, one that Badgers fans are likely familiar with. His brother, Travis, was a standout for Michigan State for four years, being a thorn in the Badgers side on multiple occasions. Accordingly, Badgers fans can hope that D’Mitrik will continuously return the favor to the Spartans over the course of his career in the red and white, while also building greatly upon the early success he has experienced thus far.