For coordinating producer Bill Friedman, the Big Ten Network original series The Journey is about finding the most intriguing personalities and capturing stories that reveal a side of these players hidden to most fans.
It was just that criteria that convinced him to include three Wisconsin basketball seniors — Mike Bruesewitz, Dan Fahey and J.D. Wise — for The Journey’s annual “Senior Night” segment, which airs Sunday at 7 p.m. CDT. Though the Badgers’ own Senior Day ended in a crushing loss to Purdue, the key for the crew who pieced this who together was to cast a fresh glow on the emotional ride for these seniors in the final home game of their career.
“I think the goal of Senior Day is just to kind of show the finality of it,” Friedman said. “I think that’s one of the things that really makes for compelling television and compelling storytelling in general are these firsts, lasts, onlys. Those are things that carry weight because Mike Bruesewitz is never going to have another Senior Day.”
The three UW players selected for the segment may not seem the most obvious choices, but each had the type of backstory that the Big Ten Network thought would appeal to fans.
Wise presented a particularly interesting story because he earned his roster spot through an open tryout as a freshman and, despite just 26 career minutes on the floor, remained with the team for all four years.
Fahey, a fan favorite who has recently gained attention for photos of him holding back fired up teammates from the floor after a teammate’s monster dunk, presented his own intrigue as a third-generation student-athlete at Wisconsin. As the ringleader of the #BenchMob Twitter movement along with Wise, the senior guard has turned into the team’s most recognized cheerleader.
“He’s just got a great personality,” Friedman said. “I think people are going to learn a lot about some of the Badgers’ pregame traditions, including Dan Fahey’s traditional call of ‘Ain’t gonna be no catwalk.’”
Perhaps the most obvious player chosen to be featured was Bruesewitz, the red-haired forward well known for his appetite for fighting over loose balls on the court and taking the occasional dive into the stands to save a possession. One of the most vocal and emotional leaders on Bo Ryan’s squad this year, the “Brueser” will reflect on his favorite Kohl Center memories Sunday night.
“One of the things that really struck me from watching the material was just you can really see the appreciation that a guy like Mike Bruesewitz has about some of the memories he’s been able to be part of at Wisconsin,” Friedman said. “As he pointed out to us, he’s been a part of three court storms at the Kohl Center and that’s pretty cool.”
The Wisconsin trio joins a list of three other former Badgers who have been featured on The Journey’s Senior Day segment, now in its fourth year. The 30-minute show features UW’s Senior Day alongside those at Indiana and Illinois and profiles nine different seniors.
For more information and updates, follow The Journey on Twitter @BTNJourney