Yesterday was certainly not a stellar day for Wisconsin athletics. After losing a heartbreaking game in overtime to rival Michigan State, the football team also recieved news that Quarterback Joel Stave is going to miss the rest of the season with a broken collarbone.
Perhaps the worst news came in between the two though as the athletic communications staff announced that Josh Gasser tore his ACL earlier that day, and is going to miss the whole season.
This news still stings. First off, Gasser is just an overally classy guy. You hate this for anyone, but especially for those guys like Gasser who have given so much to their programs.
In his time at Wisconsin, Bo Ryan has done a fairly good job of replacing guys that go down with these types of injuries. The thing is, Gasser is such a special player and I think it's going to be extrodinarely tough to replace the role he was set to have on this team. In my opinion, Gasser was the only player on this team who could effectivley replace Jordan Taylor's contributions.
The hardest part to swallow is that Gasser was a big part of this team, that in my opinion, also had a very good chance to be really special. With a duo of talented big men in Evans and Berggren, and guys like Dekker, Bruesewitz and Brust, this team had the potential to make a legit NCAA tournament run. With the loss of Gasser they'll still be good, but it certainly puts a damper on what could have been an amazing season.
Now, looking forward, it looks like Redshirt Freshman George Marshall is going to have to step up and take the starting point guard role. Andy thinks he's the best point guard on the team, and I've only heard great things about his potential. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if Marshall comes out of nowhere to have a great season. There's always hope and reasons to be optimistic in this situation.
Just last week it was Bo Ryan talking about the "next man up" mentality when replacing point guards of the past. Whether it was Hughes replacing Flowers, or Taylor replacing Hughes, there were questions about the position and each time the next man stepped up. Now it's time for Marshall to do just that for this team.
It could also mean we see a bit of a mix of Marshall and sophomore Traveon Jackson, who filled in at point guard at times last season and is the only player on the Badgers roster with actual game experience at the point guard position in a Division 1 game.
Look for our George Marshall Behind the Jersey Numbers preview in about a week or so and keep checking in here and on Twitter at @MTBadgers for all you Badger hoop needs as the season nears!