MADISON, Wisconsin – “Get older, stay old” was a mantra for the Wisconsin basketball program for some time.
In 2021-2022, the Badgers had six senior fellows they could turn to for experience. This will not be the case in 2021-22 as head coach Greg Gard forms a very young and inexperienced group while trying to rebuild a team that has lost four players who started games and includes 12 underclassmen. The average age of the UW team 2021-22? At only 19.5 years old.
While an adversarial roller coaster season likely awaits his squad, Gard was heartened by what he saw during the offseason.
“I liked the approach of this group from the start, even when we started last spring, and then added all the newcomers throughout the summer for eight weeks,” Gard told reporters on Monday. “And then we picked up where we left off when we started school about a month ago.
“Really excited to see how they can come together. A group that I think has a lot of really good individual pieces, but obviously new faces that haven’t spent a lot of time in a Badger uniform and are looking forward to it. to see how it all comes together.
“But we’re very obviously very early in that process and the stage of coming together to be the best team we can be.”
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UW opened training last week and will kick off with the annual Red-White scrum on October 17.
Badgers return just two top-class students from last season’s squad – main guard Brad Davison and junior striker Tyler wahl. Gard also hit the off-season transfer portal, adding the Cincinnati forward Chris Vogt, a senior, ranger of Wake Jahcobi Neath, a junior, and an UNLV guard Isaac lindsey, a first year man.
Mixing those players with four real freshmen entering the 2021 recruiting class, the Gard have their hands full this offseason.
“They are all very impatient. The level of effort has been tremendous,” said Gard. “I think the chemistry is really good. It just keeps growing, but I really liked their effort, their level of competition.
“Off the ground I see them and they travel in packs, they’re in a group all the time. So I think there’s the formation or the beginnings of a pretty good team.
“And again, we’re so early to put it all together and we’re literally taking it step by step. There has been a lot of exercise work in those first three days. And we will progress over the next few weeks and adding layers to it, but just their effort and energy that they’ve come up with each day has been the most awesome thing and now it’s about having it all come to fruition. “