Sam Dekker Will Be a Star in the Big Ten But Not Until Next Season

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on January 31st, 2013

Deepak is a writer for the Big Ten microsite of Rush The Court. Follow him on Twitter for more about B1G hoops at @dee_b1g.

Most top recruits out of high school don’t have Wisconsin on their short list when it is time for them to commit to a college hoops program. Badgers head coach Bo Ryan rarely pursues top-25 players from the prep ranks unless they fit well with his offensive philosophy. Swinging the ball around, using at least 25 to 30 seconds of the shot clock, and playing in an offense which is one of the slowest in the country (61 possessions per game) is not very appealing to the top recruits who don’t want to be held back. But Badger freshman Sam Dekker has been an exception to this trend. Highly touted as a senior (#13 by Rivals), he chose to head to Madison to play for Ryan. Dekker’s performance so far this season has been impressive at times but he hasn’t been seen consistent playing time yet — the limited minutes can be attributed to Ryan’s offensive system and his reliance on the upperclassmen who can play “Badger basketball.”

Sam Dekker (right) may be Wisconsin's best scoring option but he will have wait till next year for extended playing time.

Sam Dekker (right) may be Wisconsin’s best scoring option but he will have wait till next year for extended playing time.

The 6’7″ wing has averaged about 22 minutes per game this season, while scoring an efficient 9.0 PPG along while pulling down 3.4 RPG. His minutes have been inconsistent because he is fourth on the depth chart of forwards this year behind Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans and Mike Bruesewitz. All three seniors have been a significant part of Ryan’s teams over the last two years and understand the principles of his offense very well. They are very disciplined with their shot selection due to their maturity and are also quite physical on the defensive end of the floor. Without Josh Gasser in the lineup this year, the Badgers don’t have as many offensive options so they rely more than ever on using the shot clock efficiently and playing great team defense. Dekker, like most freshmen, is prone to turning the ball over at times or missing defensive assignments, which means more to Ryan’s teams because of fewer possessions. As a result, Ryan has only used the freshman off the bench but always seems to revert to his seniors during crunch time unless Dekker has played a perfect game. For example, during the recent 70-66 loss to Iowa, Dekker scored 13 points but was pulled during the second half because he had turned the ball over five times. During conference play (except against Illinois) the Badgers haven’t run away with any of their games and most of their wins have been within 10 points which pushes Dekker back to the bench because Ryan needs Breusewitz to defend the best wing during the final minutes. Dekker may be Ryan’s best pure scoring option but the combination of three senior forwards who exemplify the physical nature of the Badger’s defensive philosophy seems to be a better plan of attack for him so far this season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Set Your DVR: Week of 01.21.13

Posted by bmulvihill on January 21st, 2013


Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @TheMulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

We just had one of the most memorable weekends in recent memory in college hoops. Every game seems to be up for grabs and it’s making for an exciting season. This week should be no different as each conference has its share of important match-ups. Let’s get to the breakdowns!

Cincinnati at #3 Syracuse – 3:30 PM PM EST, Monday on ESPN (***)


Jim Boeheim’s Team Looks Great After This Weekend

  • Cincinnati barely snapped a three-game home losing streak on Saturday with an overtime win against Marquette. The Bearcats were without star guard Cashmere Wright as he continues to heal up from a knee injury. Wright is day-to-day so we don’t know quite yet if he will be available against Syracuse, though. If he is unable to play, his three-point shooting will be missed greatly against the Orange’s match-up zone defense. Although, even if he plays, the size of the Orange backcourt will surely create issues for the 6’0″ guard. In its huge win at Louisville over the weekend, Syracuse proved its size and length on defense makes Jim Boeheim’s team a clear title contender. Both of these teams excel on the offensive glass, so keep a close eye on which team is getting more second-chance opportunities and making the most of them — this could be another place where the Syracuse size makes a difference. More than likely this game will be won on the defensive end.  However, if the Bearcats don’t find a better shooting stroke quickly, this game will not be close regardless of their defensive effort. They shot 41.4% eFG against Marquette, so a shooting number like that won’t cut it against Syracuse.

#12 Michigan State at Wisconsin – 7:00 PM PM EST, Tuesday on ESPN (****)

  • It felt like Iowa was due for a big win at home and it happened to come against Wisconsin on Saturday. After the Badgers’ huge win against Indiana last week, the weekend loss to Iowa brought the team back to reality, but they don’t get much rest with the Spartans coming to town. In order for the Badgers to beat the Spartans, they must play their typically great defense. Bo Ryan‘s squad is 1-4 against teams that shoot over 50% eFG against them so it’s clear that they do not have the offense to go back and forth with teams. Luckily, the Spartans are not a great shooting team with nine games under 50% eFG themselves on the season. This should make for a very close defensive-oriented contest in Madison. Keep an eye on free throws, as they will be a major factor in determining the outcome. Wisconsin must play good defense without fouling; if they are sending Michigan State to the line early in each half, they could very easily drop two games in a row. Look for Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix to be all over Wisconsin forward Jared Berggren, forcing someone else on the Badgers to beat them. This should be another slugfest in the Big Ten.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story