Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Position Preview: Wings
Trying to replace Nigel Hayes won’t be an easy task. Having Nigel be the main offensive option on the wing gave the Badger’s a complete scoring attack from every spot on the floor. The theme of this years wing class is raw athleticism, it will be up to Badgers coaches to take these raw talents and determine who can fill the void.
#21 Khalil Iverson (Junior)
3.9 (PPG) / 3.3 (RPG) / 0.6 (APG) / 53.2% (FG%) / 15.3 MPG
Arguably the best athlete on the Badgers, Khalil Iverson comes to Madison for his third campaign in the cardinal and white. In his sophomore season, Iverson was the second man off the bench for Greg Gard’s squad. Iverson, when he came into games last season, made sure that he played within himself on the offensive end of the floor attempting only 2.7 shots per game. His true impact for the Badgers last season was the ability to shut down opponent’s top guards because of his length, and the ability to body up with forwards due to his strength and athletic frame. Iverson is currently at an important crossroads in his basketball career; with a large portion of the scoring from last season not returning Iverson doesn’t have the luxury to simply be a defensive stopper with his apparent increase in minutes. Khalil needs to take the next step offensively by looking for seams in the opposition’s defense to use his elite level athleticism. If Khalil can do this for the Badgers, it will subsequently open up the three-point shot for his other teammates. We know what we will get defensively from Iverson, and it will be interesting to see if he can expand his role with a glaring void needing to be filled.
#23 Kobe King (Freshman)
2016-17 Statistics @ La Crosse Central High School
27.0 (PPG) / 8.7 (RPG) / 3.2 (APG) / 57.4% (FG%)
The Badgers add another former Wisconsin Mr. Basketball to their arsenal with La Crosse’s own Kobe King. Kobe is a versatile player, starting with his ability to attack the defensive glass and immediately begin transition offense when he snatches the rebound. King has an incredible ability to finish with both hands if he chooses to go coast-to-coast and attack the rim. If defenders step up to stop King, you can trust him to make the pass to an open teammate. King’s a good shooter from deep as he has a swift stroke allowing him to get off shots with little space around him. A part of King’s game that will translate well at the next level is his post-game. With a smaller guard on him, he can use his footwork and size to toy with defenders on the block. Kobe will be a major impact guy for the Badgers as I can see the Badgers using him at the SF position this season in a three guard set. King would be on average, small for the position, but his athleticism and wingspan will be enough for him to guard the position. It is important for King to progress on the consistency of his mid-range jump shot because he will not be able to bully defenders as easy as he did in high school.
#2 Aleem Ford (Redshirt Freshman)
2016-17 Statistics @ Wisconsin
No Stats: Redshirt
Aleem Ford, possibly the most forgotten player on the Badgers roster, might have the highest potential of any player on the roster. Ford, in his redshirt season, made it a priority to put weight on his lanky 6’8 frame, according to the Badger’s website he is listed at 215 lbs. Due to his length, Ford can guard multiple positions and create controlled havoc defensively by forcing turnovers. Aleem was not recruited highly until his senior campaign, and because of that there are many parts of his game that are unknown to the casual Badger fan. When studying his senior season highlight tape, the first thing that is noticeable is his superb rebounding ability. Ford consistently will get the inside position when attempting to rebound the ball, and if he doesn’t have position, he will use his elite athleticism to jump over defenders. Offensively Ford has a sweet shot in which he uses his length to elevate over smaller defenders. If guarded by a taller defender, he uses an aggressive first step to get around defenders to create offense for himself or a teammate. Ford is equipped with physical gifts that make him a college player, but Coach Gard will be hoping that his skills improve enough to warrant Ford’s spot as a starter in years to come.