Wisconsin Assistant Coach Dean Oliver on 2020 Guards
Wisconsin signed five scholarship players and one walk-on for its class of 2020. Three -- Johnny Davis, Jordan Davis and Lorne Bowman -- were listed as guards in a release from UW in November 2019.
AllBadgers.com asked Oliver about what stands out about their respective games that he sees could benefit the program, even possibly starting next season.
"I'll tell you what, I'm really excited about all of them," Oliver told AllBadgers.com on May 14. "They're just naturally talented players that can do so many things. I think off the court, too, what they bring to the team, you look at all three of those guys and all of the guys coming in, they just bring that positive energy every day. That competitiveness, that fire."
One of the two twins that have come into the program, Johnny Davis is a four-star talent and the No. 126 player in the country according to Rivals for the 2020 class. Along with being named Wisconsin's 2020 Mr. Basketball award winner, WisSports.net's profile reports the future Badger averaged 27.2 points per game in 25 contests this season for La Crosse (WI) Central.
"You look at Johnny Davis and the fire he has and intensity he has on that court," Oliver said. "A lot of people see the dunks and everything, but there's a ferociousness to him that guys are going to want to follow. It's unique, and that's what I really like about him."
Oliver believes that Jordan has a "chance to be great, I think, on the defensive end especially."
"He's got a fire on the defensive end," Oliver said. "He wants to shut guys down and he takes pride in that, and I'm excited to see where he's going to go as far as his progress in that first year when they get on campus."
Oliver stated that Lorne Bowman, a four-star guard and the No. 93 player in the country according to ESPN for the 2020 class. Oliver called him a special player.
As a former standout at the position for Iowa, Oliver said one has "to be special to be a point guard because there's so much that comes to it."
"I think his demeanor as far as how he handles, he's always cool and calm on the court, no matter what the situation. Comes through in the clutch. I tell you what, really excited to see what he can do and what he's going to do once he gets on campus because he's truly a unique player, a special player.
"Has a butter-smooth pull-up (jump shot). I tell you what, he's got one of the best pull-ups I've seen. A lot like D'Mitrik Trice, they talk about Trice's pull up and then we've got Lorne Bowman coming in with something similar, so it'll be nice to see those guys, competing with each other, one in practice, but also maybe playing together. Trice is someone that can can bump over to the two (position) or play the one and maybe give him a break."
Last season, Tyler Wahl found time on the court as a true freshman as a contributor within the rotation. The forward played in all 31 games with three starts and averaged 15.5 minutes per contest.
There could be opportunities for this 2020 class to break into the rotation, potentially at the guard spot with Brevin Pritzl exhausting his eligibility even though Trice, Brad Davison and Trevor Anderson return.
Oliver believes the biggest thing for any freshmen is to get time on the floor and stay on there, and "the biggest part of that is playing defense and not turning the ball over,
"Those are the two hardest things for freshmen to do is to play good defense, and to play aggressive without turning it over," Oliver said. "There's going to be some times, some learning opportunities where they've got to learn how to do those things. That's what the preseason and all that is all about. I think they all have the right mentality where they can take criticism, where they can learn from their mistakes, that they'll get a chance.
"That's all we can promise them that they're going to get a chance, and then it's up to them to kind of niche out, carve out their playing time by doing those things. The offensive talent, those things will always come out with playing time, but you've got to earn that playing time by being able to be on the court. If you can't play defense consistently, if you're turning it over too much, you're hurting your team, you can't be on the floor. It's just as simple as that."