July 2010 Archives

Leuer praise keeps rolling in

Leuer_01.JPGA few days ago we talked about a CBSSports.com article that had USA Select Team coach Jay Wright praising Wisconsin senior Jon Leuer, this time it's ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla doing the gushing.

In a column posted Friday on ESPN.com, Fraschilla said Leuer will be on his short list of Big Ten Player of the Year candidates. You have to be an ESPN Insider to read the column, so below is what he had to say about Leuer:

These were a few of the college players who impressed me at the camp. It doesn't mean that I necessarily think these guys are all surefire NBA players, but I think they strengthened their standing with NBA scouts.

Jon Leuer, Wisconsin, 6-foot-10
Wright raved about Leuer during practice sessions and he was right on the money. Leuer has an excellent shooting touch to 20 feet and is your classic "stretch power forward" who will be murder in pick-and-pop situations. While not a bruising player, he held his own around the basket. And his length allowed him to elevate to create space for his deft stroke when he was in the paint. While Michigan State and Purdue have a number of Big Ten Player of the Year candidates on their rosters this coming season, Leuer will definitely be included on my list.


Herbert profile, Badgers picked 10th and Kendricks and the draft

Some more Badger related links this morning.

Tom Mulhern profiled UW strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert.

Mulhern ends the piece by writing, "Perhaps the most important thing Herbert has seen this summer is a hungry football team that realizes how good it can be, provided it pays the price.

"I won't get too far ahead of myself," he said. "They want to be as good as they know they can be. That's the best way to say it. ... That's going to come through when you get to camp and see how the guys are working and how they go about their business and how they regulate themselves. But they want to be great."

Read: With summer workouts almost finished, players are ready for camp

Four Badgers to compete for WPSL title

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WPSL Q&A with Laurie Nosbusch | WPSL Website

Wisconsin junior Laurie Nosbusch (Mequon, Wis.) and sophomores Alyssa Vogel (Germantown, Wis.), Lindsey Johnson (Sussex, Wis.) and Joana Bielefeld (Brookfield, Wis.) will compete for the national Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) title with the FC Milwaukee Nationals (10-1-0) this weekend.

Nosbusch, who captains the Nationals, will lead the Midwest Championship squad against the Boston Aztec Breakers Reservers (10-1-1) in the first WPSL semifinal game on Saturday at 5 p.m. (CT) in Richardson, Texas.

Borland on ESPN.com

ESPN.com's Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg has a quick story on sophomore linebacker Chris Borland as he battles back from off-season shoulder surgery.

According to the article, Borland was recovered by May and was given the all-clear by doctors in June.

Read: Wisconsin's Chris Borland ready to roll

Herbert talks summer workouts

UW strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert sat down with Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal to discuss the team's summer workouts. The full story will be coming later apparently, but here is some stuff from Herbert that didn't fit the story.

Read: Strength coach Ben Herbert is one intense dude

Bielema on the radio

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has some notes from Bret Bielema's appearance on the Lucas and Lepay morning show on Thursday.

Bielema talks about John Clay, players returning from injury, Nick Hill and Jay Valai. Follow the links below to read what Potrykus had to say or listen to Bielema's interview via podcast.

Read: Bielema likes what he sees in Clay

Listen: Bielema on Lucas and Lepay (7/29/10)

Schofield and Graham sign NFL contracts

Former UW football players O'Brien Schofield and Garrett Graham have signed contracts with their respective NFL teams on Wednesday.

Schofield, drafted in the fourth round by the Arizona Cardinals in 2010, agreed to a four-year contract. According to the article, "Schofield was considered one of the top pass rushers in this year's draft before he tore a ligament in his left knee in his first practice for the Senior Bowl. He is expected to start the season on the physically unable to perform list, but remains hopeful he can play later in the season, according to the website of the Arizona Republic.

Graham, who was also drafted in the fourth round in 2010 by Houston, signed a four-year contract with the Texans. According to the article, "Graham received a lot of reps during the Texans' OTA practices, in part because former UW standout Owen Daniels remains sidelined following reconstructive knee surgery."

Read:
Ex-Badger Schofield signs $2.2M deal with Arizona
Ex-Badgers tight end Graham signs $3.1M deal with Houston

Incoming freshman Tennyson and team earn national runner-up finish

Soon-to-be UW freshman Joey Tennyson helped Shattuck-St. Mary's to a national runner-up finish in the U.S. Youth Soccer Boys Under-18 National Championship Series over the weekend. Oregon's EastSide United Liverpool Red bested Shattuck 1-0 in Sunday's national title game in Overland Park, Kan.

Q&A with Solinsky

After an extremely busy -- and record-setting -- start to his 2010 season, former Badger Chris Solinsky participated in a question-and-answer session with Flotrack.org.

The piece is lengthy and delves into a number of different topics. From his American-record 5,000 meters in May to details about his training habits (spoiler alert: He still uses the Badger Miles system), Solinsky covers a lot of ground.

If you have a few minutes, it's a good read with some great insight. Also, if you're not already, be sure to follow Solinsky on Twitter: @ChrisSolinsky.

Read: Q&A with Chris Solinsky

Weekend roundup

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Here are a couple Badger-related stories from over the weekend.

Barry Alvarez spoke with Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal to discuss scenarios for when Nebraska begins play in the Big Ten in 2011. Alvarez talks about conference alignment, a championship game and more.

Read: It's unclear what the Big Ten will do with 12 teams, but Alvarez has ideas

Mike Lucas of Madison.com catches up with former UW quarterback Brooks Bollinger, who is preparing for his second season in the United Football League. Bollinger, who was the league's MVP last season, talks about that inaugural season, the disappointment of not being signed by an NFL team and the comfort level he has with the UFL.

Read: Bollinger finds contentment in UFL

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Leuer impresses in Vegas

When Wisconsin senior Jon Leuer went to Las Vegas to train with the USA Basketball Select Team last week, he was certainly a household name in Madison and the Big Ten. After a week of impressive workouts and scrimmages against the USA National Team, Leuer is quickly becoming a household name NATIONALLY.

Don't believe me? Just ask Villanova head coach Jay Wright and CBS Sports' senior writer Gary Parrish. In Parrish's Five for Friday column he offered the following:

2. Who's the best college player with USA Basketball?

All five of the guys -- LaceDarius Dunn, Jacob Pullen, Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Marcus Morris -- I listed last week as frontrunners for preseason First Team All-America honors are here, so take your pick. But the question that intrigues me isn't the one about who's the best as much as it's the one about who's proved to be better than the people running these workouts anticipated.

I asked Villanova's Jay Wright that exact question.

His answer was Wisconin's Jon Leuer.

"He's really good," Wright said. "Maybe I haven't followed him as well because he's from the Midwest, and maybe he wouldn't surprise anybody else. But he's got great size, he puts it on the floor, he passes it, he can shoot it. He's just a ballplayer."

An NBA ballplayer?

"Yes," Wright answered.

Moments later, I told Leuer that Wright was raving about him.

"Really?" Leuer said. "That's a good guy to get a compliment from."

Bolas, Miller lay down sub-4 miles in Dublin

They have only been in the professional circuit for less than a month, but Jack Bolas and Craig Miller have wasted no time working  their way to the front of the field.

The former Wisconsin track and field athletes signed contracts with New Balance to begin their new careers as professional runners, following a season that saw both earn All-America honors in the 1,500 meters at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

The pair continued their European tour Wednesday with the Morton Mile Meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Football bios updated

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The football roster page has been updated.

All freshmen bios are now up along with headshots and new uniform numbers. There are still four freshmen that need headshots, so they'll have the Motion W logo until then.

In addition, some of the upperclassmen have updated their headshots. For example, Nick Toon, J.J. Watt, Blake Sorensen and others have new photos to look at.

2010 Football Roster

ESPN.com Big Ten chat

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This afternoon at ESPN.com, Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg hosted a live chat. I've pulled out the relevant Badger questions but feel free to read the whole thing by following the link at the bottom.

A new release from the Big Ten offices: "The Big Ten Conference announced on Thursday that the Big Ten Network and ESPNEWS will air coverage of the opening session of the 2010 Big Ten Football Media Days on Monday, August 2. The media days and luncheon will take place at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.

Welch sets goals high

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Wisconsin junior kicker Philip Welch was recently profiled by his hometown newspaper, the Fort Collins Coloradoan. In the article by Hap Fry, Welch talks about his path to Wisconsin and what his goals are for this season.

Read: Welch handling pressure at Wisconsin

What a difference a year makes

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On Madison.com today, Mike Lucas has the story of how far UW QB Scott Tolzien has come since this time last year.

Tolzien was named to the preseason lists for the Manning Award, the Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Davey O'Brien Award this season, but as Lucas points out, "Tolzien didn't make the (Davey O'Brien Award Preseason) list (in 2009). Fact is, Tolzien was on nobody's radar at this time last summer. He wasn't even on the first line of the Badger depth chart at quarterback. Dustin Sherer got top billing, followed by Curt Phillips and/or Tolzien."

Read: Tolzien's star continues to rise

Howe returns from Azerbaijan

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2010 Golden Grand Prix

Junior Andrew Howe traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan July 5-18 to train for and compete in the 2010 Fila Golden Grand Prix international tournament at 74 kg.

In the international tournament, Howe fell to Azerbaijan's Chamsulvara Chamsulvaraev 1-0 and 2-1. Due to tournament rules, he was then eliminated when Chamsulvaraev lost his second match. 

Casillas and Pressley: from undrafted to starting?

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Over at ESPN.com, Len Pasquarelli has an article about Russell Allen, a linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars who was undrafted in 2009 but went on to play in all 16 games with five starts.

In a sidebar, Pasquarelli lists five players who also went undrafted in 2009 but could contend for starting gigs in 2010. Of the five on the list, two are former Badgers: linebacker Jonathan Casillas of New Orleans and fullback Chris Pressley of Tampa Bay.

On Casillas, Pasquarelli wrote, "The departure of veteran Scott Fujita in free agency opens up the starting weakside spot for the defending Super Bowl champs, and the former Wisconsin star could compete for the vacancy. Untested Jo-Lonn Dunbar is the favorite, but Casillas should push him. Casillas appeared in 11 games in 2009 and started the final two, posting 17 tackles in those two outings."

On Pressley, "Originally signed by Cincinnati, Pressley was subsequently acquired by the Bucs off the Bengals' practice squad. He started in three of his seven appearances for the Bucs and had only one carry (for zero yards) and one reception (for two yards), but the former Wisconsin standout is a selfless blocker who fits the fullback mode. Current starter Earnest Graham is more of a tailback-type who might be a questionable fit at fullback."

Read: Russell Allen a rare undrafted gem

Strong summer continues for Badgers

The summer continues to heat up for a number of athletes with ties to the Wisconsin men's and women's track programs.

• Incoming freshman Emily Sisson opened the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships with a 10th-place finish in the 3,000 meters Monday. Her impressive time of 9:16.80 ranks No. 8 on the all-time list for high school athletes, according to Track & Field News.

To put that mark in perspective, Sisson's time would rank No. 9 on Wisconsin's all-time list. Consider the names of Badgers who have run faster and you get a list that reads like a who's-who of UW -- and collegiate track -- history:

1. Kathy Butler (8:48.61); 2. Cathy Branta (8:49.64); 3. Clare Eichner (9:03.06); 4. Mary Hartzheim; 5. Maureen Hartzheim (9:05.37); 6. Stephanie Herbst (9:08.64); 7. Suzy Favor (9:12.33); 8. Cindy Bremser (9:13.4); 9. Kelly McKillen (9:16.48).

That group -- which includes three Olympians -- accounts for a combined 64 individual Big Ten championships, 45 All-America awards and 24 individual NCAA titles.

Sisson won the U.S. junior title in the 3,000 meters last month to earn her spot on Team USA.

• Senior Jenny Soceka, who completed her collegiate eligibility with an All-America performance at the NCAA championships in June, has not slowed down since.

So far this summer, Soceka has set a Big Ten record in the pole vault by clearing 14-3 1/2 (4.35m), competed at the 2010 USA Outdoor Championships and, most recently, finished third at the 2010 Grand Haven Beach Vault last weekend in Grand Haven, Mich.

Soceka cleared 14-0 (4.26m) to match runner-up Mary Saxer, who took the second spot on the criteria of misses. Reigning NCAA champion Kylie Hutson won with a clearance of 14-6.

• On the men's side of the Beach Vault competition, UW volunteer assistant coach Joe Samaniuk cleared 17-5 (5.30m) to finish fifth.

• Across the pond, the duo of Jack Bolas and Craig Miller continue their initial European tour as professionals. Both signed with New Balance following the USA outdoor championships in June, where Bolas finished seventh in the 1,500 meters.

After getting off to a fast start in their first two professional races, the pair ran an elite 1,500 meters race as part of the Folksam Grand Prix stop in Karlstad, Sweden, on July 15.

Bolas led the charge by finishing sixth in 3:39.26, with Miller registering a season-best time of 3:40.16 to take ninth place. The pair were among five Americans in the field, including winner David Torrence, who clocked a 3:37.73 to take the top spot.

Both Bolas and Miller are expected to race Wednesday at the Morton Mile Meeting in Dublin, Ireland. The duo will represent two of the seven athletes confirmed for the event that have gone below the 4-minute threshold.

Ryan part of John Wooden tribute

Of the many tributes to the late John Wooden, CollegeChalkTalk.com may have come up with the best and most fitting. The legendary UCLA coach passed away on June 4 and the site recruited some of the game's top coaches and former UCLA players to write about one of the blocks on Wooden's famed Pyramid of Success.

Wooden's Pyramid of Success contains 15 philosophical building blocks for winning at basketball and at life. CollegeChalkTalk.com enlisted coaches like Bo Ryan, Steve Lavin (St. John's), Phil Martelli (Saint Joseph's), Tubby Smith (Minnesota), Rick Barnes (Texas), Tom Izzo (Michigan State) and Ben Howland (UCLA), along with players like Bobby Hurley and Kevin Love to discuss one of the pyramid topics.

Wisconsin's Ryan addressed the building block titled "Team Spirit" and offered the following commentary:

One of the many things I admired about Coach Wooden's teams was that everyone on the team, one through 15, seemed to be involved, yet understood his individual role.  His teams were the ultimate esprit de corps and I have tried to emulate that spirit with my teams.

As Coach Wooden once said, "Team spirit means you are willing to sacrifice personal considerations for the welfare of all."

True team spirit exists when guys on the bench live through the guys on the floor, knowing that they've been a part of getting to this moment.  Everyone involved in the program knows that the actions on the floor and the success of a team are a direct result of group preparation and involvement.  The value of the experience comes from the efforts.

At Wisconsin we always talk about everything being geared toward team goals and a team championship.

Our energy is always focused on what is coming next.  Coming together as a cohesive group and fortifying strengths. Success is shared by all and blame is spread across everyone's shoulders.

ESPN.com's Hope and Concern for Wisconsin

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Over at ESPN.com, Adam Rittenberg has been doing a series where he chronicles a reason for hope and a reason for concern for each Big Ten team in the 2010 season.

Today Wisconsin is up. In this video piece, he lists the offensive line as the biggest reason for hope and the special teams as the reason for concern.

Video: Hope and Concern -- Wisconsin

NBA Summer League Recap - July 19

• NBA Summer League Main Page   |   Standings  |   Statistics

The 2010 NBA Summer League is in the books with the final games wrapping up on Sunday. The five Badgers playing in the league may not have posted gaudy numbers, but all were consistent contributors on some of the league's top teams.

Here is a breakdown of each of the former UW stars now donning the NBA logo:

Marcus Landry - Indiana Pacers/New York Knicks
Landry had a productive summer, playing for both the Pacers and Knicks during Summer League action. With Indiana (3-2) in the Orlando League, Landry saw duty in four contests, averaging 14.5 minutes per game. Highlighted by a nine-point, five-rebound game vs. Boston (July 9), Landry averaged 7.3 points, 3.0 boards, 1.5 assists and 0.8 steals.

Playing for the Knicks (3-2) in the Las Vegas League, Landry again appeared in four games, upping his numbers to 8.3 points per game in 12.8 minutes. A key figure in New York's 3-2 record, Landry also averaged 2.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game.

Trevon Hughes - Houston Rockets
Back-up point guard Trevon Hughes showed the Rockets (3-2) that when given the opportunity, he still knows how to score. Hughes appeared in four games, but saw more than 10 minutes of playing time just once, filling up the box score with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in 17 minutes of Houston's 100-91 loss to Toronto. Overall, Hughes averaged 2.5 points, 1.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steal per game.

Greg Stiemsma - Minnesota Timberwolves
Former Badger big man Greg Stiemsma appeared in all five contests, playing 13.8 minutes per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves (1-4). He may have averaged only 0.6 points per game, but he flashed his rebounding and defensive prowess Wisconsin fans have come to love. The Class of 2008 Badger averaged 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

Joe Krabbenhoft - Portland Trailblazers
Krabbenhoft averaged 9.0 minutes per game for the 4-1 Blazers. The 2009 Wisconsin graduate grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes of action in Portland's league-finale win over Chicago on Sunday. For the week, Krabbenhoft appeared in all five of the Blazers' games and finished with per game averages of 1.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 0.6 steals.

Brian Butch - Denver Nuggets
Butch's season was cut short by a knee injury, but his Nuggets went on to finish the league with a 4-1 mark. Butch started the first two games - both Denver wins - averaging 7.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 0.5 steals per game.

Butch underwent successful surgery on Tuesday, July 13 and has begun his rehabilitation in Denver.

The next step for these former Badgers will be to hope for an invitation to an NBA training camp, which begin in late September.

Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon attendees announced

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The Big Ten has announced the 33 player representatives for the 2010 Big Ten Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon, scheduled for Aug. 2-3 in Chicago.

The Badgers will be represented by Senior quarterback Scott Tolzien, senior defensive back Jay Valai and junior running back John Clay.

The inclusion of Valai has ESPN.com Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg especially happy, saying on his blog "On behalf of the Big Ten media corps, I'd like to thank Wisconsin for bringing Valai, one of the best personalities in college football. Jay will be happy to know I've bulked up since our last visit (or not), and I'm sure he'll have some memorable lines in Chicago."

Cecil Martin giving back

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Yesterday, Mike Lucas wrote a very nice piece on former UW fullback Cecil Martin, who is now working as a motivational speaker for the National Collegiate Scouting Association. The article shows how Martin is giving back and helping young student-athletes.

Read: Martin clears path off the field
The American-Statesman (Austin, Texas) is doing their own top-25 countdown prior to the 2010 season. On Saturday, the publication put the Badgers at No. 11.

Among other things said in the breakdown of the Badgers, the offensive line "shapes up as the Big Ten's best," while adding that "Wisconsin's defense took a hit with the departure of All-Big Ten DE O'Brien Schofield (12.5 sacks in '09), but the returners include LB Chris Borland, who had five sacks and forced five fumbles last season, when he was named the Big Ten freshman of the year."

Follow the link at the top of the page to read the full report on the Badgers.

Badgers named to 2010 CFI Preseason All-America teams

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Earlier this month College Football Insiders released their inaugural preseason All-America teams and the Badgers are well represented.

Senior offensive lineman Gabe Carimi was named to the first team, while fellow senior offensive lineman John Moffitt and junior tight end Lance Kendricks were each named to the second squad.

A trio of Badgers were named as honorable mentions: junior running back John Clay, sophomore linebacker Chris Borland and junior kicker Philip Welch.

Carimi and Moffitt named as best O-line duo in the nation

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Last Monday Mike Huguenin of Rivals.com named the top duos at each position in the country. At the offensive line position, he tabbed Wisconsin seniors John Moffitt and Gabe Carimi.

About the pair, Huguenin said, "Carimi might be the best offensive lineman in the nation. He's huge (6-7/315) and plows over opponents in the running game. He's also surprisingly nimble on the outside and is a solid pass blocker. Moffitt, who also can play center, is a mauler in the middle."

To see the complete list, including the breakdown of best duos by position in each conference, which includes another Badger pair, follow the link.
The photo shoots for the 2010 football game program covers took place yesterday on the field at Camp Randall Stadium, all paying homage to former UW greats.

Tracking Badger alumni and the NHL

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It has been an eventful offseason for the Wisconsin men's hockey team and its dealings with the National Hockey League. There have been free agent signings, graduate signings and early departures to the league. There have also been prospect camps, and a short list of former Badgers are still waiting to find out where they'll end up for the coming year.

 

If you are keeping score, two former Badgers changed NHL franchises, five signed their first NHL deals, three pros from last season are unrestricted free agents, three others signed with the same team as last season, one is a restricted free agent and 13 former and current Badgers attended or are attending NHL prospect camps.

 

The most impactful to Badger fans as it relates to the 2010-11 Badgers are the four underclassmen who have signed NHL contracts. To recap, the New York Rangers inked Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh, while the Columbus Blue Jackets signed Cody Goloubef and the Detroit Red Wings brought Brendan Smith into the fold.

 

After that, five players who will be on the Kohl Center ice for next year took part in NHL prospect camps. Blue liners Jake Gardiner and Justin Schultz spent time at the Anaheim Ducks camp. In addition, returning forward Craig Smith joined former Badger Blake Geoffrion at the Nashville Predators camp, while Podge Turnbull skated with the Los Angeles Kings. Finally, incoming Badger forward Jason Clark took part in the New York Islanders prospect camp.

 

In addition to those six players, seven additional former Badgers skated in camps, including McDonagh, Stepan, Goloubef and Brendan Smith, as well as Andy Bohmbach and John Mitchell, who skated in Chicago, and Kyle Klubertanz, who took part in the Montreal Canadiens camp.

 

All of these players hope to one day make it to the world's best hockey league and add to the Badgers in the NHL legacy.

 

Some of those already in the NHL look to continue to add to that legacy. San Jose's Joe Pavelski, St. Louis' Brad Winchester and Minnesota's Robbie Earl are three who resigned with the team they skated with last season.

 

Stanley Cup champion Adam Burish, who won the Cup this year with the Chicago Blackhawks, has already moved on and signed a deal with the Dallas Stars. He is not the only Badger to change organizations, however, as Brian Fahey, who still looks to make his NHL debut, left the Colorado Avalanche franchise to sign with the Washington Capitals.

 

Among those looking for a team are unrestricted free agents Chris Chelios, Andy Wozniewski and Joe Piskula. Chelios (Atlanta) and Wozniewski (Boston) saw NHL time last season, while Piskula (Los Angeles) has in the past.

 

One more former Badger with NHL experience who is searching for a home is Madison, Wis., native Jack Skille. Skille is a group 2 free agent, which means if a team other than Chicago signs him to a deal, the Blackhawks can match the offer. If Chicago doesn't match, they will receive draft pick compensation should the forward sign for more than just over $1 million a year.

 

It has been an interesting offseason for the Blackhawks following their Stanley Cup victory. The organization has been forced to trade away some of its key parts from the Cup run because of salary cap issues. Those trades should leave room for someone like Skille or even former Badger Jake Dowell, to stick with the NHL team in the upcoming season.

 

That leaves nine other former Badgers not mentioned who already have previous contracts, so they are working out in preparation for the upcoming season with little stress. Those include Calgary's Rene Bourque, Los Angeles' Davis Drewiske, Ottawa's Brian Elliott, Edmonton's Tom Gilbert, San Jose's Dany Heatley, Detroit's Brian Rafalski, Florida's Steve Reinprecht, Nashville's Ryan Suter and Carolina's Jamie McBain.

 

UW has had 65 Badgers skate in the NHL, all time, including 17 during the 2009-10 season.

 

Bolas, Miller off to fast start as pros

Bolas_Miller_BT_Blog.jpg

After four years together as members of the Wisconsin men's track and field team, Jack Bolas and Craig Miller are spending at least one more summer as training partners.

And, just like their time as Badgers, it's hard to argue with the results.

The pair signed on to run professionally for New Balance just days after their collegiate careers came to an end at last month's 2010 USA Outdoor Championships and, the same week, began competing as pros in Europe.

The duo kicked off their post-collegiate careers with a 1-2 finish in the 1,500 meters at the British Milers Club Grand Prix in Solihull, England, on Saturday.

Bolas won the race in 3:40.91 and finished a half-second ahead of Miller, who ran a season-best 3:41.41 to grab the runner-up spot. The duo were the only Americans in the 12-man field.

For Miller, the performance came on the heels of another runner-up finish in his professional debut July 3 in Cork, Ireland. There, he clocked in at 8:02.89 to finish a close second to Australian Ben St. Laurence in the 3,000 meters at the 59th annual Cork City Sports meet.

The pair plan to run at least two more races on their European swing, beginning with the Folksam Grand Prix stop in Karlstad, Sweden, on Thursday. They also are planning to run in the Morton Mile Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, on July 21.

Miller finished his career at Wisconsin as an eight-time All-American after claiming a seventh-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.

Bolas, who held off Miller to win the Big Ten title in May, went on to finish fourth at the NCAA championships and collect the fourth All-America award of his career.

Summer League Update: Surgery for Butch

• NBA Summer League   |   NBA TV Schedule  |   ESPN3.com

Brian Butch's road to the NBA may have taken a detour, but the former Wisconsin standout is at least on the road to recovery.

After leaving the Denver Nuggets' NBA Summer League game Saturday on a stretcher, Butch underwent successful surgery Tuesday in Denver to repair a ruptured left patella tendon.

The team says a timetable for his return to action has not been set. It's a setback for Butch, who signed the the Nuggets in April after a great rookie year in the NBA Development League.

Butch averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds in 39 games with the Bakersfield Jam last season. He also was named MVP of the 2010 NBADL All-Star Game before signing with Denver.

Butch also was off to a strong start to the summer, having scored eight points in 21 minutes against Dallas on July 9, an 88-70 win for the Nuggets. He added another six points in a 92-74 win over the Lakers on July 10. In his two appearances, Butch also averaged six rebounds and a block per game.

The Nuggets sit atop the Summer League standings at 4-0.

Former Wisconsin Badger Mike Richter, one of the schools most successful NHL and Olympic stars, was part of a group of 10 professional athletes to tour the Gulf Coast in a fishing boat on Tuesday.  

 

Here's a couple of stories so far on the trip...

Atlanta Journal Consitution

Bleacher Report

 

Richter, perhaps the most widely known, at least to Badger fans, was accompanied by Mike Alstott, the former Purdue fullback and NFLer, as well as current Boston Bruin Andrew Ference, tennis player Chanda Rubin, NASCAR's Leilani Munter and other Olympians and X Games athletes.

 

Richter, who was inducted into the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008, backstopped the New York Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup and was the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Most Valuable Player for Team USA's title. A three-time Olympian and NHL all-star, Richter spent 15 seasons in the NHL and has his number retired for the Rangers. All that came after his two years at Wisconsin, where he was named 1986 WCHA Freshman of the Year and All-WCHA second-team honors in 1987.

 

After his playing career ended, Richter completed his degree at Yale and at one point was rumored to be running for Congress, but he decided against a run. In his second career, he is part of a private equity firm called Environmental Capital Partners that invests in companies with a green tint.

 

Here's a video from April when Mike Richter made an appearance on Fox Business.

 

Here's an interview at the Winter Classic in Boston discussing his current passion.

 

Here's some video from more than two years ago during an NBC hockey broadcast.

Badger Kickoff 2010 in stores now

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We're less than a month away from the start of fall camp (August 9 to be exact), but Wisconsin fans can get a head start on the 2010 football season by picking up the inaugural Badger Kickoff 2010 at their local newsstands.

According to Maple Street Press, "Edited by Adam Hoge of Buckys5thQuarter.com, Badger Kickoff 2010 is 128 pages of the most in-depth and entertaining Badgers analysis available anywhere. From this year's team and its opponents, to recruits and strategy, and even looks back at the program's long and storied history, Badger Kickoff covers the team from every angle."

The magazine will be available at any chain in Wisconsin with a magazine rack, or it can be purchased online at MapleStreetPress.com. For more information, including a table of contents, visit the link.

Wisconsin is one of only nine schools that has its own guide of this kind, joining Nebraska, Notre Dame, Michigan, Texas, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee and Alabama.

More on the new NCAA format

Houston, we have a format

2011_NCAA_Final_Four_Logo.jpgThe April announcement of the revamped structure for the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament answered a lot of questions -- and quelled a good deal of anxiety among college basketball fans -- about the future of the tournament.

The last lingering question was answered Monday with an announcement from the NCAA of just how the new, 68-team bracket would be structured.

With four teams being added to the field, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball committee entertained several options for how to squeeze those new spots into the bracket.

In the end, they settled on a plan that features four first-round games comprised of eight teams looking to play their way into the second round.

Lorenz playing solid with NSC Minnesota Stars

Former Badger Scott Lorenz has successfully made the step to the next level after completing his soccer career with Wisconsin, earning a place on the NSC Minnesota Stars, a professional soccer team competing in the 12-team USSF Division 2 Pro League in 2010.

 

Butch injured as he and Hughes make NBA Summer League debuts

The NBA Summer League has begun in Las Vegas and two of the league's five former Badgers have suited up in the early going. Through the first two days of competition, the results as far as UW fans are concerned are mostly disappointing. Here are the notables:

MOST CRUSHING DEVELOPMENT: After starting the first two games and performing well for the Nuggets, C Brian Butch suffered a crushing injury that could keep him off the court for quite some time. Butch was taken off the court on a stretcher Saturday night after injuring his left knee. The Nuggets released the following statement:

Nuggets C Brian Butch dislocated his left patella during the third quarter of today's 92-74 summer league win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Butch will return to Denver on Monday and will be examined by Nuggets Team Physician, Dr. Steve Traina.

On Friday, Butch scored 8 points and grabbed 4 boards while adding a block and a steal in 20 minutes of Denver's 88-70 win over Dallas. Prior to the injury on Saturday, Butch tallied 6 points, 8 rebounds and two blocks in 14 minutes on the Nuggets 92-74 win over the Lakers.

GETTING HIS FEET WET: In his first action as a professional, Rockets rookie Trevon Hughes dished out 2 assists in 5 minutes of Friday's 100-82 win over Phoenix. He did not get in during Houston's 87-78 win over Dallas on Saturday.

UP NEXT: Marcus Landry and the Knicks begin their season Sunday when they take on the Butch-less Nuggets at 3 p.m. on NBA TV. Joe Krabbenhoft also looks to get his first action Sunday as his Blazers tangle with Trevon Hughes and the Rockets at 5 p.m. on NBA TV.

Complete UW in NBA Summer League schedule/info

Howe travels to Azerbaijan

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Representing the U.S. national team, Wisconsin's Andrew Howe traveled to Baku-Azerbaijan on July 5. The defending 2010 NCAA champion is attending a training camp before the country hosts the Final Golden Grand Prix international wrestling tournament July 16-18.

Wrestlers from all over the world including Iran and Russia will compete in the three day tournament. Two representatives from each national team will wrestle in the international competition.

Badgers place six in ESPN's Top 25 Big Ten rankings

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Over the last month or so at ESPN.com, Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg has been counting down the top 25 players in the Big Ten. The countdown ended today with Iowa's Adrian Clayborn coming in at No. 1. But fear not Badger fans as UW was well represented. The Badgers had six players in Rittenberg's rankings, tying with Ohio State for the most of any school.

ON WISCONSIN