Badger duo makes history

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Jeff Potrykus
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
— Anchors from the first day of practice in October, junior guard Jordan Taylor and senior forward Jon Leuer combined to keep Wisconsin in the running for a share of the Big Ten Conference men’s basketball title into the final week of the regular season.

On Monday the duo helped UW make history.

Taylor was named a consensus first-team all-Big Ten pick and Leuer was named to the coaches’ first team and to the media second team.

That gave UW two first-team picks on the same all-Big Ten list in the same season for the first time in school history.

“In order for us to have the kind of year that we’ve had and some of the success we’ve enjoyed, Jon and Jordan were obviously instrumental in that,” UW coach Bo Ryan said in a UW release. “I’m very proud of them and think that their recognition is richly deserved.”

Taylor, who was not on the media’s preseason all-league team released in October, was a unanimous pick Monday according to the media. He was also named to the league’s all-defensive team.

Senior forward Keaton Nankivil was named honorable mention by the coaches and media.

Purdue senior JaJuan Johnson was the consensus pick for player of the year. He was also named the defensive player of the year. Matt Painter of Purdue was named coach of the year by the media and coaches after leading the Boilermakers to a second-place finish at 14-4.

UW, picked to finish as low as seventh, finished in third place with a 13-5 mark. The Badgers (23-7) are ranked No. 13 in both Top 25 polls.

“I’m honored to be selected, but I feel that individual awards are a reflection of team success,” Taylor said in a UW release. “None of us would be recognized if it weren’t for the guys around us and the coaches around us that put us in a position to be successful.”

In league games only, Taylor finished in the top five in five major categories.

He was first in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.63 with 88 assists and 19 turnovers), third in scoring (20.3 ppg), fifth in assists (4.89 per game), fifth in three-point percentage (46.7 percent) and fifth in free-throw percentage (86.0 percent).

“He has done some things where he has made things happen for his teammates and for himself to put us where we are,” Ryan said earlier Monday during his weekly news conference. “He has earned it.”

Leuer, a preseason first-team pick, was solid throughout league play. In league games, he finished fifth in scoring (18.3 ppg), tied for sixth in rebounds (7.3 per game) and second in free-throw percentage (88.6 percent).

“It’s a huge honor to be placed on the same list as the other first-team honorees,” Leuer said in a release “I think all of the other players on the list represent the Big Ten in the right way. To have your body of work compared on the same level as other great players is really meaningful and I’m honored.

“You can’t earn these type of honors without your teammates and they definitely deserve just as much recognition and Jordan, Keaton and I.”

Nankivil averaged 12.1 points per game in league games, the No. 3 mark for UW. He scored in double figures in 14 of 18 league games and finished third in three-point percentage (47.8 percent) in league play.

“I think that shows how far Keaton has come,” Ryan said. “It’s nice that people have recognized his contributions and how significant they are. He deserves it.”

Including Taylor and Leuer, UW has produced nine first-team all-conference players in Ryan’s 10 seasons as head coach. Leuer and Taylor are UW’s first selections to the first team since Brian Butch was a consensus selection in 2008.

Taylor said after the regular-season finale Sunday at Ohio State and again Monday he thought Leuer deserved to be player of the year in the league.

“But you can only control what you do on the court,” he said. “Being picked first-team recognizes all the work he’s put in on the court from his freshman year until now. It’s really satisfying for me to watch him progress and have his hard work pay off.”

Last updated: 2:16 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

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