Greatest Wisconsin Badgers of All-Time: No. 26 Wes Matthews

We’ve reached the halfway point in our summer-long countdown of the 50 Greatest Wisconsin Badgers of all-time! So take a moment to reflect on the names at the bottom of the list and don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter @MTBadgers by using #GreatestBadgers.

But, let’s get on to the reason we’re all here..who comes in at No. 26?


No. 26 — Wes Matthews, men’s basketball

To many in Badger nation today, the name Wes Matthews is like a swear word. After all he played for Marquette and killed the Badgers on occasion. However, that’s not the person we speak of here. Instead, we’re talking about the father of said former Marquette player, Wes Matthews.

For those who were around in the late 1970’s, Matthews and a few others represented a ray of hope in what are now considered the dark ages of Badger basketball. That was never the case when Matthews had the ball in his hand, as he often lit up the Wisconsin Field House and opposing barns throughout the Big Ten.

Arguably there wasn’t a better player to come to the University of Wisconsin until very recent history. Just how good was the elder Matthews on the basketball court? His records still stand the test of time through the heights the program is currently experiencing.

His career scoring average of 18.1 points per game ranks him third all-time at UW still. Additionally, Matthews is fifth in field goal percentage (.817) and also ranks inside the top 10 in single-season field goals (211 in 1980).

Overall, Matthews finished his career at UW as the leading scorer for all three years he was at the school (1978-1980) and racked up 1,251 points. He was a second-team All Big Ten pick in his final season at UW in 1979-80 and third team pick the season before by the UPI.

In an era where few players truly stood out in a conference loaded with top national talent, Matthews was part of that crew. He went on to play nine seasons in the NBA and earned two NBA Championship rings as a member of the LA Lakers.

Full 50 Greatest Badgers List:

No. 50Randy Jablonic
No. 49Alex Rigsby
No. 48Michael Lihrman
No. 47Howard “Cub” Buck
No. 46Don Davey
No. 45Pat O’Dea
No. 44Curtis Joseph
No. 43Dean Anderson
No. 42Ivy Martin
No. 41Ron Vander Kelen
No. 40Carly Piper
No. 39J.J. Watt
No. 38Joe Pavelski
No. 37Barb Franke
No. 36Dick Cable
No. 35Sam Dekker
No. 34Jolene Anderson
No. 33Paul Gruber
No. 32Mark Johnson
No. 31Chris Borland
No. 30Lisa Boyd
No. 29Lee Evans
No. 28Tony Granato
No. 27Jamar Fletcher

*photo courtesy UW Athletics.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com