Wisconsin’s 2020-21 basketball season did not go as planned on the court and it appears to have been just as rocky off of it.
In audio leaked from a meeting during the season that was first sent to the Wisconsin State Journal and later posted to YouTube, the Badgers seven seniors can be heard telling coach Greg Gard their issues with him, which include them feeling he doesn’t care about them as people and that he doesn’t have their backs.
“I think that us as a group, as a unit we’re connected,” guard D’Mitrik Trice said. “I think we all care for one another when we’re on the court, but I think there is that disconnect between us as a group and as a team and you (Gard).
According to the State Journal, the meeting happened in February when the Badgers were struggling mightily after starting the year in the top-10 in the country and coming off a season in which they won the final eight games of the regular season to win a share of the Big Ten title.
“Last year we were playing for one another but we were also playing for you,” Trice told Gard. “I feel like the disconnect where we’re not playing for you right now. We’re not here to build your resume, so to speak with all respect given. But we’re playing more as a team and then there’s you. I feel like there’s just not that that connection that we need to have in order to be great.”
The meeting, according to the State Journal, lasted close to two hours, though only 37 minutes of it has been leaked and you don’t hear Gard or his assistants talk. However, the entirety was emotional from the players side of things.
“I just feel like, coach, we don’t have a relationship,” forward Nate Reuvers said. “In my mind it is too late for that. I personally don’t think or feel that you care about our future aspirations. I can’t come and talk to you. I just don’t want to talk to you. After this coach I don’t know what relationship we’re going to have, if we even have one. At this point it’s probably too late to fix that.”
Gard and outgoing UW athletic director Barry Alvarez responded to the leak and resulting story in a pair of statements: