Incoming freshman Happ named tournament MVP playing for Team USA


Happ

April 28, 2014

MADISON, Wis. -- The days following the Badgers’ exit from the 2014 Final Four were largely marked by two things: saying goodbye to graduating senior Ben Brust and sky-high expectations for 2015.

While much has been made of Wisconsin’s nearly unanimous top-5 ranking entering next season (CBS.com Rankings ESPN Rankings), little is known about who will be occupying the scholarship of the departing Brust.

UW’s Class of 2014 features just one scholarship player, and you won’t find him on any top-100 or five-star lists… but perhaps you should.

Ethan Happ, a 6-foot-8 forward from Taylor Ridge, Ill. (Rockridge High School), will join the Badgers in June and will do so with the MVP trophy from the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Germany.

Competing in the 16-country, under-18 boys basketball tournament in Mannheim and Viernheim, Germany, Happ averaged a double-double with 19.1 points and 10.7 rebounds in leading the United States to its first appearance in the championship game since 1996. Happ also averaged 3.4 steals and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting over 60.0 percent from the field.

“Personally, this is one of the best experiences that I'm ever going to have in my life,” Happ told Stripes.com.

Happ seemingly raised his level of play as the tournament went on, posting over 20 points and 10 rebounds in each of the three medal-round games. Happ scored 21 points with a team-high 17 rebounds in a placement game win over Italy before leading Team USA with 29 points, 13 boards and seven steals in the semifinal win over Serbia.

The U.S. would finish the tournament with a mark of 6-1 after an 86-73 loss to Italy in the championship game. Happ went for 20 points and 11 rebounds in the title game.

International basketball writer David Hein had this assessment after the tournament.

“Happ can, quite simply, do it all. He’s a small forward who proved that he can move up and guard the four and play in the post. He can dribble in traffic, rebounds at both ends, has good anticipation, doesn’t have a lot of wasted movement. He’s a vocal leader on the court, can play against bigger guys than him on defense and score in the paint. He blocks shots, gets his handles on loose ball and he’s a finisher who can drive to the lane as well. And he was the deserved MVP.”

Happ’s United States roster featured fellow Class of 2014 Div. 1 signees Shavar Newkirk (Saint Joseph’s), Mike Williams (Rutgers), Austin White (High Point), Korey Kuenstling (Drake) and Scott Lindsey (Northwestern) as well as several from the Class of 2015.

Held every two years since 1958, the Schweitzer tournament serves as an unofficial world championship for under-18 boys basketball and boasts alumni like Magic Johnson, Vince Carter, Toni Kukoc, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.

An AP first-team All-State selection in both his junior and senior seasons, Happ led Rockridge High School to a 28-1 record in the 2013-14 season and the No. 1 Illinois Class 2A ranking. He averaged a double-double this season, scoring 33.0 points per game and grabbing 15.0 rebounds per contest.

 Happ's Game-By-Game Statistics
Pts Reb Stl Blk FG-FGA
 1. Chile 17 6 2 2 --
 2. Ukraine 24 9 3 2 11-17
 3. France 11 6 4 2 3-9
 4. Spain 12 13 7 1 6-9
 5. Italy 21 17 1 2 8-12
 6. Serbia (semifinals) 29 13 7 3 13-18
 7. Italy (championship)
20 11 0 1 9-15
      Averages
19.1 10.7 3.4 1.9 50-80
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