With the men's hoops season looming and Wisconsin fans in anticipation of yet another season of Badger basketball, a handful of former UW hoopsters are beginning their journey at the next level.
NBA training camp officially tipped off Tuesday, and all five former Badgers in the NBA are suiting up with new squads in 2012-13.
Devin Harris - Atlanta Hawks
2011-12 Stats: 11.3 PPG, 5.0 APG, 1.0 SPG
Harris begins the 2012-13 season with his fourth NBA team and will be expected to take over the reins at the point following the abrupt trade of all-star Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets. The 2004 Big Ten Player of the Year joins a relatively young roster that includes only seven players with five or more years of NBA experience but has the luxury of one of the more explosive front courts in the entire NBA with Josh Smith and Al Horford at the forward and center positions, respectively. Harris is no stranger to the spotlight and will be asked to anchor a squad that has been on the brink of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals each of the past three seasons.
- VIDEO: Harris at Hawks' media day
Alando Tucker -
2011-12 Stats: 14.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 APG (Texas Legends -NBDL)
After eclipsing Michael Finley as UW's all-time leading scorer and earning AP First-Team All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year honors in 2007, Tucker entered the NBA Draft and was selected 29th overall by the Phoenix Suns. The Illinois native signed with one other NBA squad (Minnesota T'Wolves) before bouncing around various NBDL and overseas franchises. Tucker will now begin his NBA journey with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he will aim to make an impression on a team that has been plagued by inexperience at the small forward position in recent years.
Greg Stiemsma -
2011-12 Stats: 2.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.6 BPG
The T'Wolves were a force last season, nearly making the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Steisma begins a new chapter with Minnesota in 2012 after earning his way onto the Boston Celtics roster last year, and earning valuable minutes and the respect of the coaching staff and teammates, including future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. The Randolph, Wisconsin, natives' persistent mindset paid off with a free agent offer sheet from the T'Wolves who will expect Stiemsma to bring the same defensive intensity and shot-blocking ability that made him a fan-favorite in Boston.
- VIDEO: 1-on-1 with Stiemsma
Jon Leuer - Cleveland
2011-12 Stats: 4.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, .508 FG PCT.
After being drafted by the Bucks in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft and spending the lockout-shortened 2012 NBA season in Milwaukee, Leuer will begin his sophomore campaign with the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers. Leuer showed flashes of stardom in his rookie season, appearing in 46 of 60 games played and tallying season-highs of 19 points (Chicago - 1/27/12) and nine rebounds (L.A. Clippers - 1/27/12), and will be expected to play a vital role on a young, yet resurging Cavs squad that is led by 2012 Rookie of Year, Kyrie Irving, at the point guard position.
Brian Butch - Utah Jazz
2011-12 Stats: 15.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG (Bakersfield Jam-NBDL)
After a stint with the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2012 Summer League, Butch's resilience has landed him a spot on the Jazz's NBA training camp roster. The Polar Bear last spent time in the NBA during the 2010-11 season, signing a 10-day contract with the Denver Nuggets. Butch is battling back from the latest in a long line of injuries and looking to make the final roster on a Jazz team that has just one other NBA veteran (Al Jefferson) taller than 6-feet-10.
Ten additional former Badgers have signed contracts to play professionally overseas for the 2012-13 season.
|Badgers Playing Professionally Overseas|
|Jason Chappell||Austria||Xion Dukes Klosterneuburg|
|Trevon Hughes||Lithuania||Pieno Zvaigzdes|
|Zach Morley||Germany||Alba Berlin|
|Keaton Nankivil||Germany||Ratiopharm Ulm|
|Ray Nixon||Japan||Shiga Lakestars|
|Kirk Penney||Turkey||TED Kolejliler Ankara|
|Kammron Taylor||Germany||Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg|
|Jordan Taylor||Italy||Virtus Roma|
|Mike Wilkinson||Russia||Unics Kazan|
|Rob Wilson||Cyprus||Ydra Asfalistiki ENAD|