Dean Oliver on D'Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison and Trevor Anderson Last Season: 'They Just Evolved'

Jake Kocorowski

Last week, AllBadgers.com spoke with Dean Oliver about a variety of topics. Those included reflecting on last year's season, what could be next steps for the Badgers in 2020-21, and the three listed guards that are a part of the 2020 class.

We also touched base on three returning members of the UW backcourt next season in D'Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison and Trevor Anderson. When asked what strides he saw out of those particular Badgers to help fuel the program's eight-game winning streak to end 2019-20 -- on way to a share of the Big Ten regular season title -- Oliver described their growth.

"I think all three of them, they just evolved," Oliver told AllBadgers.com on May 14.

When discussing Trice, who finished the season averaging 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, Oliver first praised the guard's consistency on the defensive end of the floor.

"I don't think he gets enough credit for what he did on the defensive end," Oliver said. "He took the challenge every night to not only perform on the offensive end and run the show and all of those things you got to do as a point guard, but he really played some great one-on-one defense and shut some guys down that normally have great games. 

"He held pretty much everybody either under their average, or they had to take a lot of shots to get their average. He took that upon himself and really was a huge help on the defensive end all year long."

During that eight-game winning streak, UW called out in previous game notes that Trice averaged 10.4 points and 5.8 assists per contest, connected on 46.2% of his three-point attempts. His assist-to-turnover ratio was a sparkling 3.3-to-1 in that span.

"Then, his game really evolved I think especially with the ball screens," Oliver said. "He's such a scorer and such a shooter, but you look at the assists and the assists-to-turnover ratio for the season, someone who handles the ball that much, and what he did is very impressive. Especially because he's kind of changed his game. He's really evolved. He's evolved his game where it was all score, score, score. Now, you don't know if he's going to score 20, 25 (points) or he may score zero and have 12, 13 assists. 

"You really don't know because he's just going to take what the defense gives, and he's just kind of matured as a point guard. He's kind of went from more of a shooting guard/point guard to a true point guard, and I think that evolved last year."

Anderson came off the bench for the Badgers in 2019-20 after recovering from what became a season-ending knee injury the year prior. He played in all 31 games and averaged 1.8 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 12.2 minutes per contest.

Oliver referred to Anderson as "always a bulldog" and saw the Stevens Point, Wis., native and UW-Green Bay transfer become more comfortable on the floor.

"I think you could see his confidence kind of just evolve and getting better as the season went along," Oliver said. "His shot started falling. I think early on, it was all pass, pass, pass, and towards the end of the season, he started to look more for his own shots. I think that helped a lot."

Last season, Davison contributed 9.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.65 assists per contest. During the team's eight-game winning streak, he led the Badgers with 30 points -- tying a career-high mark in that category -- in a win at Nebraska in February.

Oliver stated Davison has been "rock solid" throughout this three-year career at Wisconsin, but the assistant also believes that the Minnesota native learned to trust his teammates more.

"I think he's kind of that soldier that just wants to charge and wants everyone to follow him, but sometimes you got to hold on and wait for the right time," Oliver said. "And I think he found his spots and learned how to find the spots and then also learn how to play off the ball a little bit better. 

"I think a couple years ago when he always had the ball in his hands because he was playing point guard, it took a while to adjust to playing off the ball. Then now, it doesn't matter whether he's on the ball or off the ball, he's finding ways to help the team. Then being more patient in finding his spots as far as when to look for passes and when to get his head up. Knowing when to look to score and take over a game. He has that ability and like I said, he just really matured and was smarter about when to attack and how to attack."

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