Wisconsin's Bronson Koenig Will Soon Be a Household Name


Bronson Koenig had 13 points and four assists in Wisconsin’s win at Michigan on Saturday night. While his scoring has been sound since starting point guard Traevon Jackson went down with a foot injury — he’s been in double figures in each of his four games as a starter, and is shooting a solid 37.3% on the season from three-point range — it’s his ball-handling and passing that will really put him on the map. In two years, he’ll be that insane Badgers guard in the NCAA tournament that you could’ve SWORN has been playing college ball for a decade.

Up top, you’ll see a play where Koenig dribbles the length of the court before throwing a lefty no-look pass between two defenders to a cutting Sam Dekker for a dunk. Though this was a spectacular highlight, it’s emblematic of the type of play Koenig creates with regularity. His passing is so smooth and appears so effortless that the angle or difficulty of what he’s just done does not always register until you’ve seen a replay.

“I’m obviously going to have to start being more vocal as a leader,” he said last week of stepping in for Jackson, as shared by Madison.com. “I think that’s one area of my game that I need to focus on. I’m confident that I’ll step into that role.”

Koenig, an in-state recruit from La Crosse, eschewed offers from Duke, North Carolina, and Kansas to play for Wisconsin. “I remember watching Kirk Penney way back when I was really little,” he told Wisconsin Public Television this past November. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play for the Badgers. I’ve always been a Bo Ryan fan.”

Koenig’s father is German and his mother is Native American. “The main I reason I chose Wisconsin is so my family and all the Native Americans — all the Ho Chunks from Wisconsin — can come watch me play,” he said.

“We’re one of the oldest families in the tribe,” said his mother, Ethel Funmaker, in the PBS feature. “We still follow our traditional ways. There’s a lot of Native Americans that do not make it off their reservations. Just to see him succeed and play on national television, and take the steps that he needs to to go where he wants to go [is inspiring for all of us].”

Except for Ben Brust, the Badgers have a vast majority of their Final Four team back from last year, and Jackson is expected to return in time for the Big Ten tournament in March. Koenig’s ascension as one of the best distributors in the nation will go a long way in hopefully helping the team repeat last year’s performance or go further.

Related: Frank Kaminsky’s Journey From AAU Snub to Final Four Stud