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Bo Ryan excited for season to begin

first_imgLUKAS KEAPPROTH/Herald photoThe men’s basketball team showed UW fans a fun time Friday with “Night of the Grateful Red,” but on Saturday, the team practiced in order to bring about a more important task — winning basketball games.Despite it taking place less than two weeks before the season’s start, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan saw the team’s first official practice as an immense learning environment for him and for all of the younger players.“I learned some things in there [about the players] — who enjoys competition … there’s levels of love for competition, and the real competitive guys will really stick out,” Ryan said.Last year, the team began practices five days earlier than it did this year. Regardless, Ryan feels that despite the Badgers’ lack of preparation before Saturday, they looked like a group of players that was ready to retain the Big Ten title it achieved last season.“I’m excited about how hard they went at one another,” Ryan said. “I was glad to see that they were able to pick things up quickly because we don’t have as many practices to prepare for the season this year, so we have to run a little faster.”While it was expected that returning starters Marcus Landry, Joe Krabbenhoft and Trevon Hughes would look strong, Ryan also commented on the impressive play of the freshmen, who had yet to take part in an official practice with all members of the team before Saturday.“The freshmen looked great,” he said. “They were right in the mix of everything. … I mean if you walked in there and didn’t know the players, didn’t know their names, didn’t know their ages, it would be hard to tell which ones were the freshmen.”Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the practice was that every member of the team participated in every drill. Unlike in years past, the Badgers are completely healthy going into the season.“Oh yeah, everyone played. No [injuries],” Ryan said. “There might have been some egos bruised a little bit, though. … Most of the guys were getting dunked on and being beat off the dribble, but for the young guys there’s so much to learn because of the overall athleticism of the players.”Even though the freshmen have yet to play a minute in an actual game, Ryan believes their mere presence on the practice court was enough for them to make an impact for the team.Ryan’s squads usually do not have much of an impact from freshmen, but with post players Brian Butch and Greg Stiemsma no longer on the roster, the first-years may have a bigger role on the team.“They have already helped,” Ryan said. “They’ve improved the level of competition — if they get minutes, great. If they work their way into the lineup, fine. But we’re not putting a lot of pressure on the freshmen.”Following their Big Ten Championship season, the Badgers are expected to produce similar results this year. Despite the team’s high expectations, Ryan and the rest of the team have different views on team goals.“From a coaching standpoint, the expectations I have are to just come out and work hard every day,” Ryan said. “As long as we have that, we’ll get better. We have guys that will get better as long as our work ethic doesn’t change.”last_img read more