The Wisconsin men’s basketball program has a unique opportunity to prepare for the upcoming 2022-23 college basketball season. UW will embark on a 10-day, four-game road trip while visiting France from August 7-17.
College basketball programs are allowed to travel internationally once every four seasons. UW’s last international trip came back in 2017 when the team played in Australia and New Zealand.
The trip couldn’t have come at a better time for Wisconsin, who lost 58% of their scoring from last season and experienced some roster turnover in the offseason.
Gone are Johnny Davis (NBA), Brad Davison (Graduation), and their top three reserves from last season – so rotation spots are up for grabs across the board.
Thankfully, UW returns a strong nucleus of Chucky Hepburn, Tyler Wahl, and Steven Crowl to build the team around. Because of the trip, Coach Gard can hold 10 full-team practices over the summer to prepare for their upcoming exhibition games – which is invaluable for a team needing to find their new on-court identity.
These additional practices are essential for getting newcomers Max Klesmit, Kamari McGee, Connor Essegian, Luke Haertle, Ross Candelino, and Isaac Gard up to speed and better acclimated with the system.
Returning players such as Jordan Davis, Jahcobi Neath, Carter Gilmore, Markus Ilver, and Isaac Lindsey are each pushing to earn more opportunities in 2022-23. They will also need that time to step up and grow into new roles after playing sparingly last season.
The trip across the pond should help UW both on and off the court – at least in terms of bonding and team chemistry.
I, for one, am most interested in getting an early look at minute distribution and rotations to gauge where players stand in the eyes of Coach Gard. However, it’s far too early for the box scores to hold too much weight.
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