UW Health Sports Medicine 

Men's hoops starts its 2010-11 climb

IMG_9785_sm.jpgThe 2010-11 school year has begun on the campus of UW-Madison, and with it, some action within the Badger basketball program. With workouts, The Hill and vacancies on the staff, it's been an eventful start.

Tuesday marked the first day of individual workouts for the players. NCAA rules allow for the student athletes to work with coaches on fundamentals in small groups. When I stopped by the Nicholas-Johnson Pavilion to see how things were going, senior Jon Leuer, sophomore Mike Bruesewitz and freshmen Duje Dukan and Josh Gasser were working on taking one dribble into a 10-foot jumper while assistant coach Gary Close whacked them across the arm and chest with a large foam club.

From what I saw, Leuer looked smooth (as always) and brushed off the "contact" from Close like a fly at a BBQ... shoo. Bruesewitz was still sporting the giant, red curly hair-do and the two freshmen were just trying not to screw up. Ah, the first day of school.

IMG_9780_sm.jpgAnother first this week was the inaugural running of The Hill for 2010 on Thursday. All 17 players ran eight repetitions up and down the Elver Park hill setting an impressive pace for this early in the season. The four freshmen (including 6-10 Evan Anderson and his size 20-something feet) seemed unfazed by the steep workout.

First day at The Hill photo gallery

I asked one of the newcomers, Ben Brust, how it went and he said, "Not too bad, but I came out over the summer and ran six reps just to test it out." Savvy freshmen this year, apparently.

Finally, Bo Ryan and his staff have been busy trying to replace a few valuable figures on the Badger bench. Assistant coach Howard Moore has moved on to be the head coach at Illinois-Chicago and Ryan could be close to hiring his replacement.

Wisconsin video coordinator Matt Ryan followed Moore to UIC to serve as the Director of Basketball Operations. Lastly, the Badgers' Director of Basketball Operations, Joe Robinson, moved on to explore different opportunities within the sporting world.

That's three integral pieces of a bench staff that consists of only six members to begin with. The potential influence of new blood is exciting, but the three newcomers will have big shoes to fill. Evan Anderson-sized shoes.