Tyler Wahl is the glue that holds Wisconsin Basketball together

MADISON, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 29: (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MADISON, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 29: (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

When most people think of the 2021-2022 Wisconsin Basketball team, the first player that comes to mind is Johnny Davis. While Davis has, without a doubt, been their best player statistically, there is another player that the team cannot function without.

Tyler Wahl is the glue that holds Wisconsin Basketball together

When Tyler Wahl first came to Wisconsin, it was obvious that he had the potential to become Wisconsin’s next great star at the forward position.

During his first two years at Wisconsin, he was stuck in a crowded forward room that featured players such as Nate Reuvers, Aleem Ford, and Micah Potter. With those three all having graduated after last season, Wahl has become the man to step up and fill their roles.

Wahl has grown a tremendous amount this season. Coming into the year, the Badgers knew that one of the things that their team’s success would depend on was the growth of Tyler Wahl. Not only has he grown, but he is now a player that could join Johnny Davis on the All Big-Ten team for the Badgers.

Even when the season first started, Wahl still hadn’t fully taken that leap to become one of Wisconsin’s leaders. However, he definitely has done that now.

Wahl knows that if he is not aggressive on the offensive side, Johnny Davis and Brad Davison will have a tough time with the defense focused on them. By becoming more aggressive this season, the offense has opened up, not only for him but for the Badgers team as a whole.

When the season started, Wahl’s career-high in scoring was 14 points, and he had only done that one time in his first two years. Wahl has now gone over the 14 point mark seven times this season and scored 14 or more points 8 times. It is no coincidence that Wisconsin is 7-1 in those games, with their only loss being in a game where they did not have Johnny Davis.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Wahl’s growth this season has been his free throw shooting. During his freshman season with the Badgers, Wahl shot an abysmal 38.9 percent from the free-throw line. Although he only had 18 attempts during his freshman season, that number is horrifying to see on the stat sheet.

His sophomore season wasn’t the best free-throw shooting season either, but he was able to jump up to 56.7 percent last season for the Badgers. This season, he has become a much better free throw shooter, raising his percentage to 70.8 percent. Wisconsin fans will take that, as they no longer have to live in fear when Wahl is at the free-throw line.

Wahl’s impact may not show up in the box score at all times, but it has certainly been seen how important he has been to the Badgers this season. Wahl missed Wisconsin’s game against Michigan State on January 21st. If anybody was wondering how important Wahl is to this year’s Wisconsin team, they certainly found out in that game.

Ben Carlson and Carter Gilmore took the minutes that Wahl usually receives against Michigan State, and it wasn’t exactly pretty. The two combined for only six points on 2-9 shooting and three rebounds. To put into perspective why that is so significant, Wahl’s season averages in those categories are 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. That means that the two players asked to fill the shoes of Wahl in that game couldn’t even match the output of the one Tyler Wahl.

Wisconsin as a team was clobbered in the rebounding category in the game without Wahl as well. Michigan State won the rebounding category by a substantial margin of 39-20 and brought down 11 offensive rebounds. Traditionally, Wisconsin is a team that rebounds well. Seeing them struggle as badly as they did in that game speaks volumes to the importance of Wahl to Wisconsin on both sides of the court, as the game was never close after Wisconsin’s 8-0 run to start the game.

Wahl is possibly the most underrated player in all of college basketball. He’s not the name that jumps out at you when checking out the box score, but he is a player that sticks out while watching the games. He does everything fundamentally well and makes playing look easy most of the time. Wisconsin would not be 17-3 this season without the tremendous play of Tyler Wahl, both on offense and defense.