The Wisconsin Basketball season is right around the corner, so I’m taking a look at every single scholarship player on the roster. First up, Bill Murray’s worst nightmare, Bronson Koenig.
Last Season Recap
There’s only one you can start a Bronson Koenig season recap.
There is no doubt that Bronson Koenig was one of the clutchest players in the nation last season, and that shot is just one example. The veteran point guard hit 54.8 percent from beyond the arc with less than five minutes to go in games, including huge 3’s against Michigan State and Maryland. He also put the entire VCU defense in the spin cycle for a game-winner.
Even beyond his late game heroics, Koenig was solid in his first full season as Wisconsin’s starting point guard. He averaged 13.1 points while hitting 39 percent from 3-point range, earning a Third Team All-Big Ten selection. Despite all that, Koenig did have his fair share of struggles adjusting to his new role as an offensive focal point. He was inconsistent and streaky as a shooter and struggled to get to the rim.
Burning Questions For 2016
1. Can Koenig be a more consistent scorer and shooter?
Like most players that rely heavily on their jump shot, Koenig had some great games and some horrible games. When he was cold, he was ice cold. He had way too many single-digit games for a player of his talent. If Koenig can make his jump shot more consistent and become less prone to “off games”, Wisconsin will have much more success.
2. Can he get to the rim and draw fouls more often?
The biggest problem with Koenig last season was that when his jump shot wasn’t falling, he was very limited offensively. He kept hoisting them up, hoping that they would fall eventually. Even if Koenig does improve his consistency, he needs to become a more effective driver. Last season, over 80% of Koenig’s shot attempts were jump shots. In order to be a truly elite point guard, he needs to be able to get to the rim much more often and draw more fouls.
3. Can he improve his assist-to-turnover ratio?
Despite it being his greatest strength as a sophomore, Koenig has a relatively high number of turnovers compared to his assist totals. He averaged 1.5 turnovers per game, which isn’t horrible. But considering he didn’t drive very often and he only averaged 2.6 assists, it’s not good. If he’s going to penetrate into the paint and try to make plays, mistakes will happen. Since that isn’t really his game, he needs to do a better job taking care of the ball.
4. Will he get more rest?
Even after Jordan Hill entered the rotation following Bo Ryan’s retirement, Koenig was on the court almost all the time. He played 35 minutes per game, which is a lot for anybody, especially a player with the ball in his hands as much as Koenig. At the end of the season, only one Big Ten player played more minutes than him. It would be wise for Gard to give Koenig a little more rest in order to keep him fresh. Shooting is tough on tired legs.
2016 Season Preview
After a decent but somewhat disappointing junior year, Koenig is going to become one of the best floor generals in the country. He is one of the most experienced players in the country, a threat from deep and his turnover numbers will surely go down now that he’s being asked to do less. However, he can be more than just an elite “game manager”.
He already had a dangerous mid-range game, a deadly 3-point shot, and an impressive arsenal of moves to create those shots. Now, reports are coming out that he is much quicker, both physically and with the ball. If he can drive to the hoop more often and more effectively, he (and Wisconsin as a whole) will be nearly unguardable. Opposing defenses will be forced to pick their poison, and as a result, he’ll have a lot more space to shoot.
2016 Stat Prediction
33 minutes, 16. 3 points, 3.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1 turnover, 44% FG, 41% 3FG.
— Bob Cousy Award Finalist
— Second Team All-Big Ten