Badgers’ Future Burns Bright

It was a Saturday evening in Apple Valley, Minnesota; some of the best recruits in Wisconsin and Minnesota were there to represent their high schools. Apple Valley is less than a half hour from Minneapolis and the Golden Gopher campus, but this evening all eyes were directed on the Badgers. More specifically their future. Two Badger commits from different states prepared to face each other for the first and last time for their respective high schools, both boasting 11-1 records. Kobe King and Nathan Reuvers will be teammates for the next four years at Wisconsin, but Saturday they were both playing for state pride. The gym was packed, but Minnesota apparel was hard to spot, Wisconsin apparel on the other hand seemed to fill the stands. The fans gathered were not partial to either team, cheering each recruit for every basket they made. Kobe King ended the night with 49 points, but Nathan Reuvers had 33 and more importantly the W.

It was in this game that the Wisconsin fans were able to see a glimpse of their future. Next year the Badgers will welcome in one of their best recruiting classes of the last decade, three players who could conceivably all play roles as freshman. Three players who have starred on the court for their respective programs, boasting a combined 48 offers despite all having committed fairly early in the process. Brad Davison is the third man in this trio (and last to commit, committing in mid-July last summer). Reuvers and King put on a show Saturday night, with Davison on the sidelines to support them both. The majority of Wisconsin fans will see them for the first time next fall so the following will be a brief summary of what they can expect:


Nathan Reuvers: 6’10” PF Lakeville, Minnesota 247 recruiting national rank: 64

Reuvers is the highest rated of the three, he is best described as a classic Wisconsin big man. He plays very similar stylistically to former Wisconsin big man and current Detroit Piston: Jon Leuer. Reuvers can score inside and out, he has a smooth shot and a quick, clean release with range that extends beyond the three point line. He is actually a fairly talented shot blocker for someone that lacks truly explosive shot blocker, he positions himself very well and utilizes his length to contest shots and help on defense. Reuvers is dominant on the glass as well, boxing out and grabbing boards at impressive rates. He has already put on a fair amount of weight compared to his junior season, but is still skinny for a collegiate PF. He is a fairly complete player as far as high school big men go, which projects him to translate well to the collegiate level.  For comparison sake, he appears to be much further along than fellow Badgers Charlie Thomas and Alex Illikainen were at the same age. That said there is at least a chance he could get the starting nod next to Ethan Happ next season over the aforementioned duo. The Badgers will be short at the forward spots with the graduations of Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown, so there will be at least an opportunity for Reuvers to seize a starting spot as a freshman.

Brad Davison 6’3″ PG Osseo, Minnesota 247 recruiting national rank: 101

Davison is less a traditional Badger player as he is a college basketball stereotype. In an interview with him last summer (viewable here) he compared himself to Aaron Craft and Jon Scheyer, two of the most hated people college basketball has seen. This is the perfect way to start a description of Davison’s play style he is a strong, athletic guard who plays physical on both ends. He has a very well rounded game and projects to be a stronger scorer than Craft was, he already has a good jump shot and can get to the rim often. Around the rim Davison displays good touch finishing amidst taller defenders, he is not afraid of contact either going right at help defenders. He shows promise as a passer as well, being able to navigate the pick and roll and throw fairly good entry passes. He is far away from a pure point guard and could definitely play alongside a point guard with his size and off-ball ability. Davison is also college ready, he has excelled at some of the highest levels of play. His summer team, Howard Pulley Hoops, posted an excellent record with him being featured as a focal point of the team. Jordan Hill or Brevin Pritzl will likely occupy the second guard spot next to D’Mitrik Trice, but both Davison and King will have a slim chance to win this spot. Davison should see minutes as a freshman even if it is just bench minutes.

Kobe King 6’4″ SG Lacrosse, Wisconsin 247 recruiting national rank: 166

I saw plenty of King his junior season and junior summer, I figured when he enrolled at Madison he would be a raw player with plenty for Gard and his staff to work on. King has come out this season a drastically improved basketball player, he no longer has moments where he plays passive. He ferociously attacks the paint, and gets offensive rebounds early and often. King cleans the glass on both ends, despite rarely being the biggest guy on the court he uses his athleticism to be a plus rebounder for his position. A handful of high school analysts have called him the best rebounder that state of Wisconsin has to offer this year. With a terrific first step and good on-ball skills he is a nightmare with the ball in the half court and in transition. The biggest improvement with King is the consistency with which he has been able to score, his pull-up jumper looks much better and cleaner. His jumper as a whole looks compact and clean, it is so refreshing to see young recruits with good mechanics that coaches will not need to spend hours in the gym refining. In my opinion Kobe King plays a lot like Zak Showalter, if Showalter was a bit more athletic and a much better shooter. The energy these two players bring to the game is extraordinary and can change the culture of a locker room. King would be an even bigger long shot than Davison to crack the starting five  as a freshman, but with the way he has improved I am not willing to rule anything out.

The Badgers will lose four starters from a senior class that saw 2 Final Fours and a Sweet Sixteen. Also, Bucky is the odds on favorites to win the Big Ten this year. The best programs find a way to reload quickly and it appears the Badgers have done just that. This could be a historic class with the Badgers, boasting three highly rated recruits that all come with a “college ready” mentality. Badger fans should be excited for next year, they got three more guys that in addition to their on court efforts, all truly want to be Badgers. The Badger fans in attendance Saturday got a special treat in the form of a glimpse into the future.


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