Wisconsin’s heralded freshman class—guards Kobe King and Brad Davison and forward Nate Reuvers—no doubt will be counted on to contribute significantly this season.
Yet the play of several juniors, all of whom have had nothing more than complementary roles to this point, stood out during UW’s annual Red-White scrimmage Sunday at the Kohl Center.
“We have a really good team,” junior guard-forward Khalil Iverson said. “Everyone can contribute something.”
Iverson, who likely will move into the starting lineup this season, contributed eight points, five rebounds and two assists in the White’s 55-34 victory.
Iverson’s offseason goals were to improve his shooting and ball-handling and to become more assertive offensively. He showed that assertiveness early and made both his free-throw attempts.
“I tried getting guys the ball, too,” he said.
Junior forward Charlie Thomas, who averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds last season, appeared more comfortable around the basket. He contributed a team-high 14 points for the White and added four rebounds.
“He has been a little more consistent,” head coach Greg Gard said. “He was pretty active today. He finished around the rim.”
Junior forward Andy Van Vliet, who was ineligible as a freshman and played a total of 48 minutes last season, contributed nine points, nine rebounds and two blocks for the White.
“I think he can do a lot of different things,” Gard said. “He is still young, has a lot of areas to grow in. But he plays hard, makes a lot of plays happen offensively and defensively.”
Although Reuvers struggled for the Red, King and Davison both showed they are ready to contribute immediately.
King scored from inside and outside as he hit 2 of 5 three-pointers and 7 of 13 shots overall. He finished with a game-high 16 points for the Red, which featured Ethan Happ and D’Mitrik Trice.
“Just whatever they ask me to do—guard the best player, rebound, score,” King said when asked about his role this season. “I’m willing to do anything to try to help us win.”
King and junior forward Alex Illikainen (eight points, five rebounds) carried the Red team.
Happ had six assists and five rebounds but missed all four shots. Trice made just 2 of 8 shots and only 1 of 5 free-throw attempts.
“Ethan struggled a little bit today,” Gard said. “(Trice) struggled. Two guys that haven’t been struggling.
“That’s good to see other guys step up.”
Davison, on the White team, was one of those players. He contributed 10 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists. He also drew a charge.
“I’m glad he is on my team,” Gard said.
“I’ve said all along he’s not your typical freshman, physically or mentally.”