If you’ve paid any real attention to college basketball over the last few years then you know that Wisconsin big man Ethan Happ has been a dominant force of the Big Ten Conference. Happ has earned All-Big Ten honors in back to back seasons, and last season he tallied over 500 points, 250 rebounds, and 100 assists.
— Nick Osen (@TheRealNickOsen) October 11, 2018
Coming off of a season where Wisconsin missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years and withdrawing his name from this summer’s NBA Draft pool, Happ is again at the centerpiece of how effective the Badgers can be this season.
I spoke with Happ at Big Ten Media Day about his perspective being a veteran in the conference and about his poised and patient game.
I’ve seen a lot of different players come through the Big Ten. The biggest thing is I’ve just learned a lot from all of them. From how to guard a Nick Ward to how Matt Costello used to defend me, to what Melo Trimble does on ball screens…
There’s just so many different guys who are so skilled and so good at what they did that I feel like it’s made me a better player.
I asked Ethan about the nature of his poised and patient game and how that’s developed for him over time.
Yeah, I think early on in my career you’ll find a lot of travels and a lot of three-second violations and things like that so there’s definitely been growth with my decision-making. And that just comes from experience and knowing that the ball is not on fire. If you need to hold it for a little bit or you need to take a couple of extra dribbles and you’re under control, you can do that.
For young players listening to this or watching this, it’s just that you need to take your time to make the best play available, not the first opportunity that you get.
Wise words from a wise player who’s earned a great amount of perspective in his years at Wisconsin and in the Big Ten.