Ethan Happ has been a critical part of Wisconsin’s ascent to the top of the Big Ten standings.
The sophomore forward is the Badgers’ leading scorer (14.7 points per game), but he might be even more valuable on the other end of the floor. Happ is second in the Big Ten in steals with 2.0 per game, averages more than one block per game and is in the middle of a Wisconsin defense that ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense (59.8 points per game).
Happ is in the conversation for Big Ten Player of the Year, but he’s also getting attention for a different honor. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said Monday morning that Happ was the “best defender” he’s watched this season, and that the 6-foot-10 forward is currently the front-runner to win National Defensive Player of the Year.
Wisconsin's Ethan Happ is the best defender I've seen all season. To this point, he's the leader for National Defensive Player of the Year.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) February 6, 2017
Happ was named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team last season. He also was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year in the 2015-16 campaign.
He’s taken a clear step forward this season. Could national recognition follow?