Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Ryan, Badgers get set for exhibition season

Men’s basketball head coach Bo Ryan and his team will meet their first 2010 opponent Saturday. The Badgers play UW-La Crosse.[/media-credit]

Head coach Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin men’s basketball team will begin their exhibition season Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center against UW-La Crosse.

The team finished last season with an overall record of 24-9 and were ranked fourth in conference with a 13-5 record. Despite 12 straight trips to the NCAA tournament, the Wisconsin Badgers enter the season unranked and Ryan addressed the media Monday as his team prepares for their first game of the year.

Benefits of exhibition games


Ryan sees a lot of benefits involved with in-state exhbition. A while back, exhibition games were usually played against foreign teams. This changed, though, when it was suggested that teams play other Division 2 or Division 3 state universities.

What team would turn down the chance to play in the Kohl Center?

“There’s nothing on their agenda other than their bringing their program, their team, into the Kohl center which is still the place in the state of Wisconsin where people will want to play,” Ryan said. “High school kids want to get here for the state championship, college teams love coming in here, and so it is something that promotes basketball in the state.”

Ryan believes exhibition games against other Wisconsin programs benefits all parties involved.

“You don’t think that every young man who plays in one of these state schools doesn’t want to come in here and play against the Badgers? Of course they do,” Ryan added. “I mean that’s pretty exciting. I’ve said it every year: I would loved to have to come in here and play and coach.”

Meet the freshmen

Although Wisconsin lost starting seniors Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon, Ryan talked of how impressed he is of the four first-year Badgers who will begin their official collegiate season this weekend.

The first of the group is Evan Anderson, a 6-foot-10 center who Ryan believes may already be prepared to handle the physicality of the Big Ten conference.

“He’s more physical than we realized, which is great,” Ryan said.

Ryan noted that Ben Brust’s speed will be an asset to the team from the guard position. In fact, Brust has already made a lasting impact on the Badger head coach.

“Ben Brust is the fastest guy coming off screens that I’ve ever coached,” Ryan said, “I’ve had some guys with a little bit of speed but he’s like a bullet.”

Another incoming guard is Josh Gasser who plays at a level beyond his years, which is impressive to anyone.

“Josh Gasser is not 18 or 19, he’s 21 or 22. The way he sees the floor is maturity,” Ryan said.

The final freshman is Duje Dukan has also shown promise early on but may need more time to develop strength.

The four freshman will all try to contribute for UW, but in order to do so this early in their careers, they must first be responsible on the defensive end.

“The biggest thing all four of them have to learn is what we do defensively,” Ryan said. “Offensively you can always go to the playgrounds or an open gym or go places…Defense is what’s going to make the difference.”

Mixing things up

The Wisconsin coaching staff has been trying different rotations to see which group clicks best, but Ryan says the exhibition games will help answer some questions about the starting rotation.

“We keep mixing the groups up,” Ryan said. “I don’t play favorites, and guys are going to have to step up what they’re doing if they want to be in the starting group, but you don’t have to be a starter to be a player, obviously.”

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