Wisconsin men’s basketball all-time roster: Badger Legends
Over the past few decades, Wisconsin basketball has been one of the most successful programs in the nation.
The Badgers have had greats at all five positions, a legendary head coach in Bo Ryan, and a trio of Final Four appearances since 2000.
We put together Wisconsin’s all-time starting five, backup five, and coaching staff to put the Badgers’ impressive history into perspective.
There were a number of easy choices such as National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky, and ones that are sure to spark fair debate amongst Badger nation.
Here is a look at our BadgersWire all-time Wisconsin basketball roster:
Starting PG: Devin Harris (2001-2004)
CHICAGO – MARCH 14: Devin Harris #34 of the University Wisconsin Badgers dribbles during the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Ohio State University Buckeyes at the United Center on March 14, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 58-50. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Wisconsin has never had as electrifying of a point guard as Devin Harris. If you’ve watched Wisconsin games you’ve probably heard that current starting point guard Chucky Hepburn was the first true freshman to start at that position since Harris back in 2001-02.
The Badgers won a surprise Big Ten title that season, and followed it up with a title in his sophomore year.
His junior season was one of the best anybody has had in a Badger uniform, as Harris averaged a career-high 19.5 points per game to go along with 4.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds per contest.
Harris would go on to be the No. 5 pick in the 2004 NBA draft.
Starting SG: Johnny Davis (2020-2022)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MARCH 20: Johnny Davis #1 of the Wisconsin Badgers shoots a free throw during the second half against the Iowa State Cyclones in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Fiserv Forum on March 20, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Recency bias? Maybe, but Davis just put together one of the most impressive seasons in Wisconsin history.
As a sophomore, Davis put up 19.7 points per game an 8.2 rebounds per contest while leading Wisconsin to a surprising share of the Big Ten title.
No. 1 had the ball in his hands in every big moment last season, and delivered time and time again. It’s hard to pick just one signature moment from last year. Take your pick from his dominance at Purdue, waving goodbye to the Michigan State crowd, or closing out a win at Indiana. It was a historic 2021-22 season for the La Crosse Central product.
Starting SF: Michael Finley (1991-1995)
Unknown date; Champaign, IL, USA; FILE PHOTO; Wisconsin Badgers guard Michael Finley (24) on the court against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
His name is rightfully (finally!) in the Kohl Center rafters after a wait that was far too long.
Finley averaged over 20 points per game in three consecutive seasons as a Badger, and scored over 2,000 points in his Wisconsin career.
He also had the best NBA career of anybody on the all-time team, winning the NBA championship in 2007 with San Antonio and being named a two-time NBA All-Star during his early years with Dallas.
Starting PF: Alando Tucker (2002-2007)
March 3, 2007; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward (42) Alando Tucker celebrates after scoring during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin defeated Michigan State 52-50. Credit: Photo By Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2007 Jeff Hanisch
This is about on-court performance, and Alando Tucker undoubtedly deserves to be in our all-time team.
His final season in Madison was 2006-07, and during that campaign he put up a career-high 19.9 points per game. Tucker was named Big Ten Player of the Year in 2007 and a consensus first-team All-American.
He was the second Badger to reach the 2,000 point mark, joining the aforementioned Michael Finley.
Starting C: Frank Kaminsky (2011-2015)
Apr 6, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Frank Kaminsky before the 2015 NCAA Men’s Division I Championship game against the Duke Blue Devils at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Not only was Kaminsky a dominant college basketball player, he also won at the highest level Wisconsin has ever seen.
The 2015 National College Player of the Year was probably the easiest choice on this list. Kaminsky led Wisconsin to back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2014 and 2015, set Wisconsin’s single-game scoring record with 43 points, and earned about every award you can imagine.
His No. 44 jersey is rightfully retired in the Kohl Center.
Backup PG: Tracy Webster (1991-1994)
12 Mar 1994: Guard Tracy Webster of the Wisconsin Badgers stands on the court during a game against the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana won the game 78-65. Credit: Gary Mook /Allsport
This could have gone to a few different players, but I am personally a huge fan of Webster’s game.
If you are a young buck like myself, head to the YouTube vault to appreciate his pizzazz, shot-making, and speed.
Webster averaged a career-high 17.3 points per game as a freshman, and averaged nearly six assists per game for his career as a Badger.
Backup SG: Kirk Penney (1999-2003)
Nov 19, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers former guard Kirk Penney watches the game with the Green Bay Phoenix at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin defeated Green Bay 84-60. Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Kirk Penney is the shooter I want in my backup five.
Devin Harris’ partner in crime helped lead Wisconsin to a number of big-time NCAA Tournament victories throughout his four-year Badger career. One of the best players to ever come out of New Zealand, Penney averaged a career-high 16.2 points per game as a senior in 2002-03.
As a freshman, he was part of Wisconsin’s upset run to the 2000 Final Four.
Backup SF: Sam Dekker (2012-2015)
Mar 14, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Sam Dekker (15) shoots against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second half in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament at United Center. Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
This one was also an easy choice. Whether you want to put him at the three or the four, Sam Dekker had to be on this list.
The Sheboygan, Wisconsin native led Wisconsin to back-to-back Final Fours alongside Kaminsky, and averaged a career-best 13.9 points per game as a junior before he declared for the NBA draft.
Dekker is one of the most complete players in Badger history, and it felt like he always provided exactly what was needed in the big moments. Moments like this one:
Backup PF: Jon Leuer (2007-2011)
Mar 19, 2011; Tucson, AZ, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Jon Leuer (30) dunks the ball against the Kansas State Wildcats during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the McKale Center. The Badgers defeated the Wildcats 70-65. Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Leuer’s outstanding 2010-11 season earns him a spot in our backup five.
During his senior campaign, the Minnesota native put up a career-high 18.3 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per contest. He could do a little bit of everything on the offensive end, with the ability to stretch the floor at 6-foot-10.
Leuer went on to be a second-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2011.
Backup C: Rashard Griffith (1993-1995)
Sophomore center Rashard Griffith takes the ball to the hole against Penn State’s John Amaechi in 1995.
1995 Press Photo Wisconsin Sophomore Center Rashard Griffith Against Penn State
Rashard Griffith was an absolute beast at Wisconsin. The 6-foot-11 big man averaged a double-double in 1994-95 as he dropped 17.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
Despite only playing at Wisconsin for two years, his impact during both of those seasons easily earned him our backup center spot.
Assistant Coach: Greg Gard (Head coach from 2015-present, assistant from 2001-2015)
Feb 22, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard looks on during the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes at the Kohl Center. Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports
The two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year was Bo Ryan’s assistant from 2001-15 and helped lead Wisconsin to a pair of Final Four appearances before taking over as the head man.
As a head coach, Gard is 160-90 and a two-time Big Ten regular season champion.
Assistant Coach: Joe Krabbenhoft (assistant from 2016-present)
Dec 4, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft speaks to players during the game with the Marquette Golden Eagles at the Kohl Center. Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Krabbenhoft has been a key recruiter for the Badgers since joining the staff. He is also a former Wisconsin Badger himself, playing for Wisconsin from 2005-09. He joined Wisconsin as the video coordinator under Bo Ryan in 2012-13 before returning as an assistant in 2016.
He is currently Wisconsin’s associate head coach.
Head Coach: Bo Ryan (head coach from 2001-2015)
Mar 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bo Ryan cuts the net down in celebration of the 85-78 victory against Arizona Wildcats following the finals of the west regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Staples Center. Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
It doesn’t’ get much easier than this choice.
Bo Ryan is a Wisconsin living legend. As Wisconsin’s head coach, he went 364-130 and a ridiculous 172-68 against the Big Ten.
He led Wisconsin to four Big Ten regular season titles, was a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, and helped lead the Badgers to the 2014 and 2015 Final Four.