As we all navigate recruiting websites to see who is supposed to be good or which player joining our favorite team is going to be a super-freshman, I can’t help but think if we actually know what we (or they) are talking about. Outside of a very few players, there is virtually no way to know how a 17-year-old’s basketball game is going to translate to the college level.
When Sam Dekker joined the Wisconsin Badgers program last season, well, everyone and their mother “knew” he was going to be a big deal.
Dekker came out of high school ranked as high as the 13th best prospect in the entire nation. The 6-foot-7 forward was going to be a versatile player who could beat you from beyond the arc as well as driving to the basket. Despite having a very good freshman year (9.6 points, 3.4 boards per), many did not feel that he really lived up to his otherworldly recruiting billing.
Honestly, it is pretty unfair to hold expectations that someone has on a player against the player themselves. It was not as if Dekker told you that he was going to Wisconsin and was going to average 20 points per outing. Still, regardless if it is fair or not, he is going to need to do more next season if the Badgers want to have even more success.
That is why this offseason is crucial for Dekker. There is not really a lot of holes in his games that he could actually fix. He shot a relatively high percentage from the floor, was decent at draining 3-pointers, and it is not like he can somehow become more athletic by doing jumping-jacks. He could, however, find a way to be a more aggressive rebounder as well as more selfish with the basketball.
Sure, there are some other things in his game that needs to be defined, but no area of his game is so weak that the idea of him being the Badgers’ main-man-on-campus is unthinkable. For Dekker, the time to start living up to the hype assigned to him is happening as we speak in some gym — where no one is watching.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone