Frank Kaminsky finished with 15 points, 10 boards, four steals and three blocks to lead No. 2 Wisconsin to a 49-38 win at arch-rival Marquette on Saturday afternoon.
The Badgers didn’t shoot all that well, but they played their typical brand of tough defense and got big buckets and key hustle plays from the usual suspects: Josh Gasser, Trae Jackson, Nigel Hayes.
The guy that didn’t play well — again — was Sam Dekker. He was questionable heading into Saturday as he continues to deal with an ankle injury, finishing the day by playing just 22 minutes while shooting 1-for-5 from the floor. He had five offensive rebounds and three assists, but he clearly wasn’t himself.
That ankle isn’t healthy, which makes you wonder if it’s smart to keep Dekker in the lineup at this point.
That’s not to say he’s necessarily hurting the team, and Wisconsin may be better with him on the floor at, say, 75 percent than to have him sit out. But the Badgers will not be at their best until Dekker is fully healthy. Wisconsin plays at Milwaukee on Wednesday and then host Nicholls State next Saturday. After that, the Badgers have a nine day layoff before a trip to Berkeley to play Cal on Tuesday, Dec. 22nd.
That’s more than two weeks away. If there was ever a time for Dekker to shut things down and get his ankle right, it’s now.
Because I know this: as good as Kaminsky has been this season, Sam Dekker is Wisconsin’s most talented player.
And if the Badgers are going to be Big Ten and national title contenders, they need that Sam Dekker on the floor.