Jackson could miss regular
season with fractured foot
By RICK SOLEM
Bronson Koenig gets his first start at point guard tonight.
At 8 p.m. against Nebraska (10-6, 2-2) on ESPN2, Koenig takes over for the injured Traevon Jackson.
“It’s unfortunate to lose Trae, but while he’s out, it’s on all of us to step up,” Koenig said. “I’m ready.”
And all of La Crosse says, ‘Finally.’
It’s funny to say that, because underclassmen usually don’t see the court for Bo Ryan’s seventh-ranked Badgers (15-2, 3-1 B1G), but Koenig also teased the nation with his performance against Kentucky in the Final Four.
We all remember he scored 11 points in 16 minutes in the first half, keeping the Badgers afloat, while Jackson sat with foul trouble.
All of La Crosse knows all too well the sophomore is capable of those types of games on a more consistent basis.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a backup as well-prepared as Bronson,” UW assistant coach Greg Gard told the Associated Press.
Now, Koenig is running the Badgers’ offense in his second career start – he took the floor for Frank Kaminsky of all players in Sunday’s loss to Rutgers – but the expectation that Final Four Koenig reemerges should be extinguished.
He’ll score more, that’s for sure. His abysmal 42.1 shooting – 31.8 from beyond the arc – will rise with more consistent minutes. And, every once in awhile that unconscious Koenig that dominated the Wildcats may rear his head.
But his role stays relatively the same. Get the ball to the big guy, who the Badgers get back from a concussion. Let Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes do their thing. Make the right decisions, D up and simply run the offense without mistakes.
And, if need be, take over.
He hit a jumper with 23.3 seconds remaining that cut Rutgers’ lead to 64-62 on Sunday. Koenig finished that game with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 2 of 4 from beyond the arc. He added three assists, two rebounds and just one turnover in 31 minutes.
He’s still feeling out his role, and now that he’s likely finishing out the regular season as the starting point guard. While Jackson recovers from his fractured right foot, Koenig could emerge. ‘Finally.’