Badger of the Decade


first_imgTucker was named Big Ten Player of the Year and was a consensus First-Team All-American in 2007.[/media-credit]In the past decade, Wisconsin athletics experienced a Final Four berth, a dynamic Rose Bowl appearance and four combined national championships from the men’s and women’s hockey teams.And the Herald Sports Badger of the Decade wasn’t a part of any of that — making his accomplishments even more impressive.Alando Tucker earns our Best Badger of the Decade Award for his record-setting career, consistent dominance and overall effect on Wisconsin basketball.First the r?sum?:? Tucker became the first Badger to be a consensus First-Team All-American since 1942, and he was a finalist for every major national player of the year award.? Named Big Ten Player of the Year his senior season, Tucker led the conference in scoring at 20.0 points per game — the first-ever Badger to lead the league.? Finishing his career with averages of 16.5 points per game and 48 percent shooting, he topped Michael Finley his senior year to become the all-time leading scorer in Wisconsin history.Much like the swing offense on which he thrived, Tucker’s game wasn’t always pretty, but it was almost always effective.Utilizing power post moves that belied his 6-foot-5 frame and a turnaround jumper uglier than Betty herself, Tucker could score from anywhere on the floor and often did. For style points, his ferocious dunks could bring the Kohl Center crowd to its feet in an instant.Like his place at the top of many UW records, however, Tucker will always be linked with earning the basketball team a No. 1 ranking during the 2006-07 season — the first-time ever in the history of Wisconsin basketball. Even though the ranking was short-lived (UW lost two games the following week), it represented an unprecedented achievement for Wisconsin and proved Bo Ryan’s team could compete with all the five-star recruiting classes out there.Honorable mentions: Fellow basketball superstar Devin Harris, women’s hockey Patty Kazmaier-winners’ Sara Bauer and Jessie Vetter, along with football’s John Stocco, an underrated Badger quarterback.Harris has proven to be the better pro, starring in the NBA, and was certainly a phenomenal Badger. Leaving for the draft a year early, however, knocks down his rating, especially considering the starting five UW would have had if Harris came back with Harris, Tucker, Mike Wilkinson, Kammron Taylor and Zach Morley. Wow.Bauer and Vetter certainly excelled with career records and championships, but the weaker competition pool in women’s hockey keeps them at honorable mention.Finally, Stocco certainly won enough games and kept Wisconsin a perennial top-25 team, but the lack of dominance holds him back in the end.last_img read more