Ethan Happ – Wisconsin’s jack of all trades
The Wisconsin Badgers are once again rising in the NCAA men’s basketball rankings thanks in part to lanky sophomore Ethan Happ, the team’s hard-working power forward. Happ and the Badgers visit Purdue, Sunday, Jan. 8, on CBS in a matchup of two of the Big Ten’s better teams this season.
Happ sat out as a redshirt when the Badgers made a run for the NCAA title two seasons ago; coming up short to Duke in the NCAA Championship game under former coach Bo Ryan. They weren’t expected to be as competitive in the 2015-16 season, especially after Ryan retired in December, conceding the job to Greg Gard who eventually turned the team around. They entered the NCAA Tournament as a seventh seed and made the Sweet 16 before bowing to Notre Dame.
Happ was there for it all, being only the third freshman to start on opening day for Ryan and then in all 35 regular season games. He piled up solid statistics along the way on both offense and defense, quickly becoming known as one of the most well-rounded players in college basketball, averaging 11 points and seven rebounds per game. He also joined Kevin Durant and DeJuan Blair, being just the third freshman in the NCAA over the past 15 seasons to score 400 points, have 60 steals and 30 blocks.
This season his average time on the court is down by four minutes per game but through mid-December he was averaging 13 ppg with the rebounds, blocks and steals also coming. NBA scouts are surely taking note.
Born: May 7, 1996
Birthplace: Milan, Ill.
Height/Weight: 6 foot 9 inches/235 pounds
Team: Wisconsin Badgers
Position: Power forward
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Major: Communication arts
Honors and Achievements: Big Ten freshman of the year, 2016; Big Ten all-defensive team, 2016