Sconnie Sports Talk

Vitto Brown thriving with confidence

Wisconsin forward Vitto Brown goes for the loose ball against Siena. (Photo by Rebecca Haas/


In the beginning of the season, Vitto Brown just needed to slow down his game and gain some confidence.

Since suffering a painful rib injury in January, which has since healed, Brown has played a major role in turning around Wisconsin’s season. The injury caused him to slow down since he physically could not play at full speed and gave him time to re-evaluate his game.

“I’ve been able to slow it down more and get more confident on my shot,” Brown said after practice on Friday. “Although I missed a lot yesterday [against Michigan State], it’s not going to affect me mentally. I’ll be able to keep going straight forward and improve for the next game.”

“Before I got injured, sometimes I was doubting myself,” Brown continued. “If I miss a shot or something, I may not take another one because I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But now if I miss a shot, I’ll shoot again.”

He has averaged 12.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23.8 minutes per game in the team’s last six contests, integrating himself in Wisconsin’s offensive attack. His defense has improved mightily as well, as he is finally utilizing his 7’3″ wingspan and fouling much less than he did earlier in the season.

Brown was not mentioned as much on scouting reports earlier in the season, but teams now have to pay extra attention to him when they prepare for Wisconsin. He has added another threat to an offense that needed more options outside of Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig, and Ethan Happ.

“You can’t beat a team with two guys, or three guys when Ethan’s playing too,” Brown explained. “I think me and Showy [Zak Showalter] have both tried to step it up on offense on more, and that just makes us harder to guard.”

Not only does Brown appear more confident on the floor, he has a swagger off the court now of a man who has figured out his game. It clearly was not just the injury that gave Brown the time off to look again at his game. Winning has helped, but the support from his teammates and coaching staff has been tremendous. When asked about Brown’s development, Gard credits the junior forward’s overall maturation this season.

“He’s matured in so many ways, which is great to see as a coach,” Wisconsin interim head coach Greg Gard said on Monday at his weekly press conference. “I think Vitto has come through that process where he has understood the intangibles in the game, and that’s helped his numbers grow.”

When it comes down to it now for Brown, he does not worry anymore about making shots. He has become a mentally tough player, gaining the confidence guys like Hayes and Koenig already have on the floor.

“It’s not even really just about seeing the ball go in the hoop,” Brown explained. “It’s just knowing that you can put it in the hoop.”

Brown has always been a gifted basketball player. But now, he has finally become a gifted, confident basketball player.

Wisconsin takes on Illinois Sunday night at the Kohl Center at 6:30 PM.