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Wisconsin Badgers - Remember The Name, John Blackwell

The Wisconsin Men's Basketball Team is off to quite a start this year. While things started with a Kohl Center record for points at 105 in a win over Arkansas State, the Badgers would drop the next two games, one to the Tennessee Volunteers, who are ranked 12th in the nation currently, and the next to Providence. While the team found themselves at 1-2 record-wise after a dominant first win, they have turned things around and found themselves at 7-3 through their first ten games. With two of their first three losses being to Arizona, who is ranked first in the country, and to Tennessee, as I stated, is ranked 12th, this team finds themselves ranked 23rd in the nation after a nice run of wins, which included a blowout of #3 Marquette in the Kohl Center to win the I-94 rivalry. With early success, there have been multiple keys to it. Among the successes are the play of Chucky Hepburn, Tyler Wahl, Steven Crowl, and AJ Storr, among others. A freshman breakout has happened already.

John Blackwell, a former three-star recruit from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, has been a key in the Badgers' early success this season. Blackwell was ranked the 26th best guard in the nation by 247 sports coming out of college. Still, he has proved to exceed those rankings thus far, having earned the Big Ten Freshman Of The Week Title twice this season. For the season, Blackwell is averaging 9.9 points per game and 3.6 rebounds, which brings quite a spark off the bench for a team that needs as much offense as possible.

Basketball is in Blackwell's bloodline, as he is not even the first of his family to compete in Big Ten Basketball. Blackwell's father, Glynn, competed for four years back in the 1980s for Illinois, played in 106 games (57 starts), and even averaged 12.1 points per game as a senior. It's safe to say the background of a great basketball player has transferred over, as John is off to about as good a start as you could ask for from a freshman. Not only is Blackwell a spark on the offensive end, shooting 11/21 from three thus far at 52.4%, but he also has stepped up on the defensive end, guarding some of the best guards in the country.

Coming off of his most minutes played in a game against the number one team in the country, Arizona, at 26 minutes, Blackwell was on from beyond the arc, shooting 4/5 from three. This was his second-highest-scoring performance besides his career-high 18 points against Robert Morris earlier in the season. With his outstanding play comes praise and attention. One notable coach has seen Blackwell's play, including a ten-point performance against his team as the Badgers dominated Michigan State. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo would talk to Evan Flood of 247 Sports about how he had also "had Blackwell on campus, but they had another guard already" and implied that it was a miss on not retaining Blackwell. It seems the Badgers have found a steal in the former three-star recruit, as he will look to continue an outstanding freshman season for Wisconsin.

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
John Blackwell #25 of the Wisconsin Badgers

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