Less than two weeks after inviting any interested UW student
to participate in an open tryout for the men's basketball team, the Badgers
have welcomed their newest member to the squad, walk-on freshman Wquinton
Smith, a 5-foot-11-inch, 200-pound guard from Milwaukee King
High School, impressed coaches enough to beat out the several other finalists who
had a shot at making the team.
"He's a very good student who was very good high school
player on a very good team," head coach Bo Ryan said of Smith.
Ryan also cited Smith's impressive physique and conditioning
as major factors in the walk-on winning the roster spot.
Playing for the Generals, one of the state's top teams, last
season Smith averaged 8.2 points per game while earning second team all-city
honors, despite shooting just 59 percent from the free-throw line.
"He's a Milwaukee boy, so I like him," junior forward and
fellow Brew City native Marcus Landry said, even though Landry played at heated
King rival Vincent High. "I actually know some his family members pretty well.
[My] first impression is he's a good kid. … Evidently he can play the game of
Smith also played on both sides of the ball as a member of
the King's football team and was good enough to be named first team
all-conference at quarterback and honorable mention all-conference at
Tuesday, Smith practiced with Wisconsin and proved to his
teammates he was worthy of a spot on the team.
"He'll be able to push Trevon a lot," guard Jason Bohannon
said of what Smith, who is likely to be redshirted, can contribute immediately.
"To have him play defense should really help Trevon.
"He seemed to get after it and be in the right spots. He
really fit in."
To close Tuesday's practice Ryan put Smith at the free-throw
line with crunches for the entire team as a punishment for missed shots. Smith,
in a pressure situation, was unable to convert any of his three attempts,
forcing the team to do a hefty amount of sit-ups.
"I think he was nervous being out there the first time,"
Landry said. "I think it'll get to the point where he's not nervous."
Ryan did not think putting the newcomer to the test right
away was too much to ask though.
"At least he knows he's a part of the team now," Ryan said.
"That's how I like to break guys in."