Male athlete of the semester: Ethan Happ

first_imgFreshman Ethan Happ’s decision to redshirt last year may have salvaged Wisconsin’s season this year.For the better part of this season, Happ’s name was chained to comparisons of previous Badger great, Frank Kaminsky. Every time Happ was mentioned, immediate comments loaded with similarities to last year’s national player of the year followed.But for Happ, living up to the expectations left by one of the greatest basketball players in school history would only prove half the battle during his first year on the court.Understanding the value of learning from — rather than competing against — eventual first round draft picks Sam Dekker and Kaminsky in last year’s campaign led Happ to redshirt his first season with the Badgers.“Going against Frank and Nigel [Hayes] and Sam every day in practice made my game jump a lot more than playing six to eight minutes [off the bench] would have,” Happ said in October before the season began.Men’s basketball: Happ’s emergence vital in Badgers’ midseason resurgenceThis was not the year the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball anticipated. The Badgers, who entered the season ranked No. Read…Under new head coach Greg Gard, Happ quickly began to blossom into the player that many fans had expected to see one day, but certainly not this soon into his career. The forward began to rattle off double-doubles night after night, finishing the season with yet another freshman school record by claiming 10 of these feats in one season.All of a sudden a team that had started conference play in shambles, losing four of its first five games, was turning into a legitimate contender after rolling to a seven-game win streak.After Happ’s game-winning layup against Michigan State, Wisconsin would finish the regular season with 11 wins and only two losses, both of which came against top-15 opponents on the road.Men’s basketball: Happ’s game-winning layup pushes Wisconsin over No. 4 Michigan StateIt was another game for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team and another down-to-the-wire finish, and for the first time in Read…Happ’s integral role in the team’s success did not go unnoticed nationally either. Despite competition against freshmen projected as first-round NBA draft picks, Happ’s 12.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game earned him the 2016 Big 10 Freshman of the Year award, becoming only the second player in school history to achieve this honor. He was named to the conference All-Defensive Team after leading the Big Ten in steals.Now with the team’s leading scorer junior forward Hayes uncertain about his future in Madison, Happ’s sophomore season could serve as a glimpse into the future success of University of Wisconsin’s men’s basketball for years to come.last_img read more