LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 28:  Sam Dekker #15 of the Wisconsin Badgers shoots a three-pointer alongside Gabe York #1 of the Arizona Wildcats in the second half during the West Regional Final of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Greatest Wisconsin Badgers of All-Time: No. 35 Sam Dekker

No. 35Sam Dekker, Men’s Basketball

This one is hard, as we’re all just months off of the high of reaching the national championship game in the NCAA tournament. However, it is nearly impossible to realize the talent, production and importance of Sam Dekker to recent and all-time Badgers basketball history.

Just how big of a deal is Dekker to recent history at UW? He joins Devin Harris as the only player to leave early for the NBA Draft under head coach Bo Ryan.

Dekker didn’t get there by accident, having one of the best NCAA tournament performances of any player in Wisconsin Badgers basketball history. He averaged 19.1 points per game, shot 58.2 percent from the field and averaged 5.5 rebounds per game in the run to the national title game.

This past season was his best in a Badgers uniform, shooting a career-high 52.5 percent from the field and averaging 13.9 points per game.

All of that ended with Dekker being named second team All-Big Ten, a finalist for the Julius Erving Award (given to best small forward in the country) and being name named the 2015 NCAA West Regional MVP.

In three years, Dekker racked up 1,363 points and ranks 15th on the all-time scoring list. He Had 78 career double-digit scoring games; nine 20-plus point games and was one of four UW freshmen to start a game under Bo Ryan (Devin Harris, Alando Tucker, Josh Gasser).

He also was named second team All-Big Ten in 2014 and honorable mention in 2013, while also being named to the 2013 All-Freshman team in the Big Ten during his first year in Madison.

While it’s hard to not be in the moment when thinking about Dekker, it’s also hard not to deny the talent level he possessed and showed on the court. However, he also struggled with defense and wasn’t the go-to guy for the Badgers often leading up to the 2015 NCAA tournament.

After all, his name doesn’t appear in any top 10 list on the UW record books for a career or single season. That, more than anything else keeps him from being much higher on this list.


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

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