The Wisconsin Basketball season is right around the corner, so I’m taking a look at every scholarship player on the roster. First was Bronson Koenig, second was Zak Showalter, and third was Nigel Hayes. Now, a player with a sweet voice, but an even sweeter stroke, Vitto Brown.
Last Season Recap
Over the last 15 years, Wisconsin Basketball has been known for having players develop on the bench for a few years before exploding onto the national scene. Vitto “3tto” Brown is just the latest example of that. He went from 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds as a sophomore to 9.7 points and 5 rebounds as a junior.
Brown’s breakout season started slowly, but his three-point shot quickly became one of the most consistent in the conference at 40%. His shooting was vital for the Badgers because it allowed for much better offensive spacing. Brown also was a good post defender and a capable rebounder.
Despite his importance to the team, Brown also had his share of weaknesses. His ball handling was horrible. Horrible. Whenever he dribbled, I held my breath. I’m sure Greg Gard did too. Brown also struggled with decision making at times, forcing drives even though that clearly wasn’t his strength. As a result, he averaged 1.1 turnovers per game.
Burning Questions for Brown
Will Brown try to score in the paint more?
It’s never bad to hear that a player is working hard on their game, and if Brown can be even remotely formidable in the post, he could pose a matchup problem for teams trying to figure out how to guard Hayes, Happ, AND Brown down low. However, Brown needs to be a spot up shooter first and foremost for the Badgers to be successful
Brown is a phenomenal shooter. Besides Bronson Koenig and Brevin Pritzl, he’s probably the best pure shooter on the team. He is also a good rebounder and defender. Whenever he tries to do more than that, it never ends well.
He needs to realize that he doesn’t need to be a ball handler. He doesn’t need to be a dominant post scorer. Wisconsin has Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes to play in the post. Brown just needs to be a 3-and-D type player.
Don’t get me wrong. Brown being a threat to score in the post on occasion would be great, just as long as he is primarily a shooter. (I just realized Brown is the exact opposite of Nigel Hayes in this regard.)
Will his ball handling be better?
As mentioned earlier, Brown’s ball handling is abysmal. As a big man, he doesn’t need to put the ball on the floor much. But it would be nice if he could take a few dribbles without giving the entire Kohl Center crowd a heart attack.
Will the arrival of Andy Van Vliet cut into Brown’s minutes?
Van Vliet has a very similar skill set to Brown. They are both big men that are phenomenal spot up shooters and can space the floor. While Brown has the edge in experience and strength, Van Vliet is two inches taller. Brown will still be the starter, and will play more minutes. But Van Vliet is also going to see the floor a lot.
The biggest key for Brown is understanding his role. On the offensive end, his job is stretch the floor, spot up, and hit open jump shots. On the defensive end, he needs to play physical post defense and rebound. Last year, he did that, and the result was positive. I expect the same this season.
Honestly, there probably won’t be that big of a statistical difference between Brown this season and last. Even if did improve his inside skills, he is still better on the perimeter, and that’s where he will be deployed more. His turnovers will go down due to his comfort in ball handling, and his minutes may slightly dip because of Van Vliet. But other than that, it should be the same old 3tto Brown.
9 points, 5.5 rebounds, .5 turnovers, .5 blocks, 42% 3, 49% FG.
Honorable Mention All-Big Ten