Busting Brackets

Wisconsin Basketball: Breaking down Badgers newcomers for 2024-25 season

The Badgers will have plenty of new faces this year. Take a look at where they fare in the lineup.
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John Tonje

Veteran John Tonje arrives in Madison after spending four seasons at Colorado State and a season at Missouri. At Colorado State, Tonje meticulously increased his scoring averages -- and overall impact -- in his four years in Fort Collins, notably averaging 14.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 1.3 APG in 2022-23. 

Using his fifth year of eligibility, Tonje would commit to Missouri, only appearing in eight games on four starts. However, Tonje would average only 2.6 PPG in a year plagued by an offseason foot injury -- which ultimately sidelined him for the remainder of the season in mid-January. 

With a medical redshirt in the books, Tonje entered the transfer portal in mid-April, committing to New Mexico 10 days later. A week later, Tonje flipped his commitment in favor of Wisconsin for his final year of eligibility.

Where John Tonje fits in the rotation

Because Wisconsin lost many key pieces, Tonje provides a much-needed veteran presence. The 6-foot-5 guard is a versatile piece where he can slot in as the two in spot-up situations, helping add a bit of size to an otherwise smallerbackcourt or adding depth on the wings at the three. Given how the roster has shaped out, there are two viable paths for Tonje regarding his role. 

If Gard wishes to roll a three-guard starting lineup (Freitag/Hunter, Klesmit, Blackwell), Tonje will come off the bench. However, if Gard wishes to add a bit more size and roll out a more “traditional” starting five, Tonje is a perfect fit in the small forward starting position.

Tonje, who does most of his damage in transition and as a spot-up shooter, shot 39% from behind the arc. in 2022-23 at Colorado State. 47.3% of his shots taken were from three. Tonje runs the floor well and is a strong, forceful finisher at the rim. Wisconsin was a team that vastly improved in transition eFG%, increasing their transition eFG% from 43.4% in 2022-23 -- the worst in college basketball -- to 61.4%, the 14th-best in the country, according to Hoop Math. Tonje should help the Badgers continue their efficiency in transition.