What Wisconsin is getting in Brad Davison, where things stand with the specialists and more
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Today is Tuesday, May 9, and this is what’s for breakfast.
It’s cliché to say, but it appears that Brad Davison is the very definition of the term “student-athlete.”
The 4-star guard, who also played football at Maple Grove (Osseo, Minn.) High School, signed with coach Greg Gard and the Badgers last November. He is nearly as accomplished off the court and field as he is on them, which led to him receiving the award as the 2017 Scholar Athlete by the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation on Sunday.
— Brad Davison (@braddavi34) May 8, 2017
An AP All-State quarterback, Davison threw for 43 touchdowns in his career and ran for another 25, in addition to leading his basketball team to the state tournament this spring and earning AP All-State honors in that sport as well. But the accolades away from athletics are just as impressive, according to PressNews.com.
“In the classroom, Davison has held an ‘A’ average to rank near the top of his class. He has earned three Presidential Education Awards and is a National Honor Society member, school site council member and Link Leader. Davison plans to major in business management or finance in college.
Davison has put in more than 120 hours of volunteer work with youth football and basketball, volunteering throughout the course of the year. He has gone on service trips to Jamaica and Costa Rica, and also volunteering at Shriners Prom closer to home.”
Davison chose the Badgers over Stanford, so it’s clear that academics matter to him. And he won’t be the first or only player to play high-level basketball and compete at a high level in the classroom at Wisconsin. Nigel Hayes and Zak Showalter were on the Academic All-Big Ten team this last year and also earned All-Big Ten recognition for their work on the court.
— Nadine Babu (@NadineBabu) May 8, 2017
Davison is the example of what Wisconsin strives to have in its athletes, even if they rarely are as diverse as the quarterback/point guard/scholar/humanitarian appears to be.
Offers, offers, offers
Wisconsin football has landed nine commitments in the Class of 2018 so far, with the class ranking 20th in the country, according to 247Sports.com. But the Badgers continue to search for players, especially at wide receiver. Of the 178 players they’ve offered, including the 58 who already have committed somewhere, 35 are receivers.
— Jeshaun Jones (@JeshaunJones06) May 8, 2017
That’s nearly 20 percent of the offers out there for a position not normally associated with Wisconsin. And perhaps that’s the cause of the challenge the Badgers face. As it stands, they have no receivers committed in the class, but it’s clearly a priority. A big year out of the passing game, including production from senior Jazz Peavy and sophomores Quintez Cephus and A.J. Taylor, would help the narrative on the recruiting trail.
Where things stand: specialists
Wisconsin finished spring practice in late April, and we’ve been looking at where things stand, position by position. We conclude with the specialists.
What happened: After back surgery ended his 2016 season just three games in, junior Rafael Gaglianone was full go throughout the spring and handled nearly all the kicking duties. Sophomore Anthony Lotti was the team’s main punter, with junior P.J. Rosowski also seeing time.
Biggest takeaway: Gaglianone isn’t back to where he was before the injury.
Nor could someone expect him to be after undergoing back surgery for a second time in three years. But Gaglianone is attempting to return to the player who made seven of eight attempts through three games last year, including the game-winner against No. 5 LSU in the season opener. When he’s on, the Brazilian is among the best kickers in the Big Ten and could be among the best in the country.
The face you make when you didnt play in the game but still got a ring!! pic.twitter.com/qlxtNHTSz2
— Rafael Gaglianone (@rafagaglianone) April 21, 2017
Biggest question: Who’s the long snapper?
A trivial question, sure, until the long snapper doesn’t do his job and his team loses a game. A mistake by Connor Udelhoven against Auburn in the 2015 Outback Bowl, in the 2015 game at Nebraska or last season against the Tigers, and we’re not talking about game-winning kicks and the celebration that came after.
But Udelhoven is gone and the long snapper the Badgers recruited in 2016, Jake Cesear, is no longer around. That left freshman Josh Bernhagen as the lone long snapper on the roster this spring, though tight end Zander Neuville also worked there. They’ll be joined this summer by Adam Bay, a scholarship member of the 2017 class, who was ranked as the fourth-best long snapper in the country.
All mine pic.twitter.com/Hk1VTkmKix
— Adam Bay (@LongSnapper42) May 7, 2017
It seems like a relatively easy job, but when it goes bad, it can go really bad. Wisconsin will be hoping to find its No. 1 long snapper early in fall camp.
Wisconsin’s basketball success overseas
Before Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker were selected in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft, Wisconsin basketball’s professional profile was largely overseas. Yes, Devin Harris was a well-known player after going in the first round in 2004, but he’s since bounced around to several teams over his 13-year career, while second-round pick Jon Leuer is with his fifth franchise in his seven seasons.
Thanking God for this year's MVP. The support of family, great team players, fans, and organization is what made it happen. Thank you all. pic.twitter.com/gTUgPWFEQe
— marcus landry (@Mlandry11) May 8, 2017
While the Badgers have struggled to gain traction in the NBA, they’ve experienced a ton of success in leagues in Europe and Asia in recent years, most recently with Marcus Landry being named the 2017 Most Valuable Player in the Italy-based LBA (Lega Basket Serie A). That comes on the heels of another former Wisconsin player, Brian Butch, leading his team to a title in Japan.
The history goes back even further with Rashard Griffith choosing to play overseas after being drafted in the second round of the 1995 NBA Draft by Milwaukee. He spent time in Israel, Turkey, Spain and Italy over a 15-year career. Other former stars such as Alando Tucker, Jordan Taylor, Kirk Penney and Kammron Taylor have gone on to have successful careers outside of the limelight of American basketball.
And that’s just fine. Wisconsin has been among the most successful programs in college basketball over the last 17 years, largely with players whose skill sets translate to the European style of the game. While they’re not earning millions and millions in the NBA, most of of the former Badgers aren’t playing for scraps and have been able to make a nice living while traveling the world. That’s not too bad.