UW basketball team takes shape

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Aaron Brenner/Special to the Gazette
Thursday, November 8, 2007
— After a pair of exhibition games against in-state schools, University of Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan is a lot closer to figuring out his playing rotation, at least for the nonconference schedule leading up to the Big Ten season.

The Badgers took care of UW-Eau Claire, 74-35, Wednesday night at the Kohl Center.

While the minutes were pretty evenly spread out among 15 players last Sunday against Edgewood College, Ryan rolled out a nine-man rotation that could be a fixture when the games begin to count.

“The second game, most coaches are looking for that (rotation),” Ryan said. “It’s fluid … I believe in my guys. I’m not going to put a guy on the floor that I don’t feel is going to work hard and do what we ask.”

For the second straight game, the starters were guards Trevon Hughes and Joe Krabbenhoft, forwards Brian Butch and Marcus Landry, and center Greg Stiemsma.

The key reserves were guards Michael Flowers and Jason Bohannon, and forward Jon Leuer. Forward Keaton Nankivil also got a few sporadic minutes in the early going.

Krabbenhoft always has been a hustle-type player for the Badgers, but he may be emerging as a serious scoring threat, both inside and out.

The junior was 6-for-7 on field-goal attempts. He was shooting well from the perimeter— nailing a three-pointer—and from under the basket, hitting easy lay-ups and connecting on put-backs.

“He took his shots that were available,” Ryan said. “Teammates hit him with passes, he got offensive rebounds—he just plays the game.”

“In our swing offense, as long as you keep moving, we all know how to catch and pass, which makes the game real simple,” Krabbenhoft said. “Some of my teammates found me for wide-open lay-ups, and my job is just to put it in at that point.”

Like Krabbenhoft, Hughes was in double-digits in points for the second straight game, scoring 13. Landry added 11.

In Wisconsin’s two exhibition games, those three shot 28-for-40—an impressive 70 percent.

“We’re getting open looks, and (hitting them),” Hughes said. “That’s how the game should be played.”

With the graduation of UW’s top two scorers from last year, Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor, the Badgers are looking forward to an offense where anybody could get hot on any given night.

“We know that this team can have several guys scoring a certain amount of points,” Landry said. “We won’t be focused on two guys getting all the points. It’s to our advantage this year.”

The Badgers were pleased with their effort in the exhibition games, but said they’re excited for the games to start counting.

“At the end of this game, when the clock was winding down, we all looked at each other and said, ‘We’re ready to go,’ ” Krabbenhoft said.

Flowers speaks for first time

Michael Flowers answered “basketball-only” questions Tuesday in his first talk with the media for the 2007-08 season.

Flowers took a two-week leave of absence from the team and didn’t participate in the majority of UW’s preseason practices. He returned a few days before the Badgers’ first exhibition game Sunday against Edgewood College and didn’t look like he had missed a beat.

“This is just like riding a bike,” Flowers said. “You never forget how, so it wasn’t a concern for me, for my coaches or for my teammates.”

Before taking questions, Flowers announced he wouldn’t divulge any explanations for why he took two weeks off. But he did say he never was fully separated from Ryan and the team.

“I was always a part of this program,” Flowers said. “The coaches supported me all along. Just because I wasn’t on the floor doesn’t mean I wasn’t a part of the program.”

Last updated: 11:42 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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