Nathan Reuvers came out aggressive as soon as the basketball was tipped. Like Kobe King he was hunting for his shot and moving without the ball well, as the pair of future teammates were trading baskets back and forth throughout the game.
The aggressiveness that Reuvers displayed early in the contest allowed him to register five points quickly with a pair of field goals. On Reuvers’ second field goal attempt he was able to draw the foul, make the shot and connect on the free throw. With his height advantage, Reuvers was able to draw fouls against La Crosse Central and at times create three-point plays for himself.
Overall Reuvers scored 33 points on 14-for-22 shooting from the field in the 15-point victory. After scoring 20 points in the first half and with the Panthers in control of the game, Reuvers did not have to log heavy minutes in the second half. At the same time, when Reuvers was on the floor, he remained aggressive and was looking to find ways to help his team continue to build on their lead. There was one point in the second half where Reuvers beat King for an offensive rebound and generated two points off the second chance opportunity to put the Panthers up by 20.
Reuvers’ shot may not have been falling from three but he still managed to collect eight rebounds and had four blocks. The scoring is nice to see considering the height advantage but was impressive was that he stayed active throughout the game and didn’t take plays off.
Reuvers commented after the game that he would have liked to have done a better job of rebounding both individually and as a team, acknowledging they weren’t consistently boxing out and struggled to come up with some 50-50 rebounds.
King said after the game that Central is undersized and that in order to keep up with teams that have size they need to find ways to be aggressive on the glass. Against a team with the size of Central, Reuvers should be able to find a way to individually collect more than eight rebounds. The Panthers did shoot the ball well, but even if Reuvers isn’t collecting offensive rebounds, he should find a way to keep Central from producing a second-chance opportunity.
Reuvers is a skilled big man but it is clear that he needs to get stronger. His 6-10 height gives him the edge over a lot of players, but he’ll need to bulk up in size to compete with other Big Ten frontcourt players. Reuvers is capable of playing next year to help fill UW’s frontcourt void but his minutes will be determined if he can hold his own on the block.
Even though Reuvers’ perimeter shot wasn’t falling he didn’t force the situation, only taking the shot if he managed to get open on the perimeter. Reuvers will have better games from three, but in a game where he clearly has the size advantage over Central, he needs to be playing on the post and generate high quality looks around the basket.
Reuvers does a lot of good things on the court, including instances where he brought the ball up the floor after a missed shot or tried to generate points in transition. In those moments when Reuvers was leading the offense, it was hard not to think about Ethan Happ or Frank Kaminsky and their strong ball skills for bigs. It is good to see that Reavers is comfortable with the ball in his hands.
Like King and Brad Davison, Reuvers will have an opportunity to carve a role out for himself at Wisconsin next year, especially with the amount of seniors graduating after the season. With Happ the only player returning from Wisconsin’s starting frontcourt, the Badgers will need Reuvers to add the necessary strength to compete. It is clear that he is a skilled big man who is able to stretch the floor with his capability to knock down a three. That reason alone makes it is easy to see him finding a role next year.