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May 2011 Archives

Where in the world is Jon Leuer?

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At the very least, former Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer is getting a great tour of the United States. At the very best, he's turning some heads and positioning himself as a first-round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Leuer_practice.jpgWith the draft about one month away (June 23 in Newark, N.J.), Leuer is on a whirlwind tour training and working out in front of scouts from all 30 NBA franchises. Leuer began his NBA boot camp with private training in Chicago and Los Angeles, before heading back to Chicago for the NBA pre-draft combine on May 19-20.

In front of scouts and general managers from every club, Leuer went through a series of drills, interviews and tests. Of the 60 players in attendance, Leuer measured as the tallest, at 6-foot-11.5 inches with shoes on (6-10 in socks) and 223.2 pounds.

Here were Leuer's other measurements and test scores:

Wingspan - 7'0"
Body fat - 5.4%
Hand length - 8.8"
Hand width - 9.8"
Standing vertical - 29.5"
Max vertical - 36.5"
Bench Press (225 lb.) - 14 reps
Lane agility - 10.82 seconds
Modified lane agility - 5.34 seconds
3/4 court sprint - 3.36 seconds

Leuer posted the best time among post players (10th-lowest time overall) in the lane agility drill at 10.82 seconds. In addition, only 12 of the other 59 players posted more reps in the 225-pound bench press than Leuer's 14.

ESPN Insider Chad Ford's was among those impressed with Leuer at the NBA combine. Ford tweeted "Jon Leuer tested as a much better athlete than you'd think. 36.5" vert. 10.82 lane agility. 14 reps on bench. Not bad for a 6' 11.5" guy."

During ESPN's telecast of the combine, analyst Len Elmore had positive things to say about Leuer.

"He is an extraordinarily skilled guy for a guy his size, particularly on the perimeter," said Elmore, who was part of the broadcast team that covered UW's Sweet 16 game against Butler. "He handles it, goes to the basket strong and certainly shoots it with range ... this is a guy who has shown time and time again he knows how to score. And he knows also how to be able to play some defense on the perimeter despite being 6-10 ... I think he's got some skill and I think he is worth a strong look in the first round."

VIDEO: Watch Bucks announcer Jim Paschke's interview with Leuer at the combine

After the combine, Leuer has been travelling back and forth from individual team workouts, auditioning for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves. The reports again seem to point to scouts being surprised by Leuer's athleticism and ability to play on the perimeter.

"One of the things I've been hearing after the workouts is that I'm more athletic than teams thought," Leuer told Minnesota media after his workout with the Timberwolves. "I know I can shoot it. That's always been one of my strengths as a big man."

ESPN.com currently has Leuer rated as the 11th-best power forward and listed as a "first-round bubble pick."

Leuer figures he has somewhere between 10-20 more workouts on the schedule, including the Boston Celtics on June 1. The tour continues...

Lucas at Large: Where are they Now? Tim Krumrie

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Tim Krumrie, a consensus All-American in 1981, was one of 79 players on the 2011 Football Bowl Subdivision ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame. A three-time first team All-Big Ten nose guard, Krumrie is the third-leading tackler in school history with 444. What's he doing now?

Krumrie_Tim_Photo.jpgAfter banging on a bunch of doors and getting the same answer - "Come back some other time" - Tim Krumrie was discouraged about finding work again as a National Football League assistant coach.

His timing couldn't have been worse, either, with the NFL shutting down in March.

"I was disappointed because I had so much experience and been around the league for so long," said Krumrie, who had toiled in the NFL for 27 consecutive years as a player (12) and coach (15).

That streak came to an unceremonious ending following the 2009 season when his contract as a defensive line coach was not renewed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Krumrie was hoping to catch on with another NFL team in 2010. But after a number of nibbles nothing materialized. "That's football," he said. "It's nobody's fault. It happens."

Tim and his wife Cheryl sold their home in Kansas City and moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., where they had been residing during the off-season.

Without a 24/7 football commitment, Krumrie got to focus on other things in life, including his passion for physical fitness. On most days, he ran five to eight miles and/or biked 25-30 miles.

Bo Ryan reacts to playing UNC in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

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When the Big Ten Conference announced the pairings for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Tuesday, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan did not have to go far to hear the Badgers' draw. Ryan and the conference's other 11 head coaches have been in Chicago this week at the Big Ten meetings.

2010_BT.ACC.jpgRyan was pleased to find out that Wisconsin will face North Carolina in the 2011 Big Ten/ACC Challenge (Nov. 30 in Chapel Hill, N.C.). In between sessions at the Big Ten meetings, Ryan weighed in on what it means to take one of college basketball's blue bloods.

"Being pitted against North Carolina, one of the more storied programs in all of college basketball, is exciting," Ryan said. "We get a chance to match up against a very good program in a venue that is a great place to play.

"That's why they call it the Big Ten/ACC Challenge because you're always going to be challenged and this will be quite a test. North Carolina could very possibly be the No. 1 team in the nation when we play them."

Ryan's Badgers have won each of their last six games against ACC foes, including "Challenge" wins over Virginia Tech, Duke and NC State in each of the last three seasons.

"I think being paired with North Carolina shows respect for our players and our program and what we've accomplished," Ryan added. "Having this game on our schedule stays in line with what we try to do in putting together a competitive non-conference schedule and prepares us for the always difficult Big Ten."

UW's trip to the Dean Dome rounds out a 2011-12 non-conference schedule that is also highlighted by playing in the Chicago Invitational Tournament and hosting both Marquette and UNLV.

Krueger and Massei combine to capture top play

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Anyone who was in attendance for Friday night's game at Goodman Diamond knew it was likely going to happen, but on Sunday it was confirmed by the Big Ten Network's Diamond Report.

Jennifer Krueger and Mary Massei recorded back-to-back spectacular diving catches against Ohio State to earn the Diamond Report's top play for the week.

In the Badgers' 11-3, six-inning win, OSU's Karisa Medrano led off the third by hitting a sinking liner to center field. Krueger raced in and made a diving catch on her stomach to rob Medrano of a base hit. Not to be outdone, one batter later Massei made a diving catch to her right in foul territory in left field to retire Melissa Rennie.

It's the third time this season the Badgers have been featured on the show's weekly countdown. On April 11, Meghan McIntosh was recognized as the No. 5 play for her 13-strikeout, shutout performance against North Dakota in game two of a doubleheader. On May 1, Stephanie Peace's diving catch against Michigan earned the No. 3 play of the week.

Watch the catches made by Krueger and Massei below.


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team_NU_2011.jpgIn today's blog entry, head coach Yvette Healy writes about her goals for the team's final four games of the season. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates throughout the season.


That's the goal right now.

We have four Big Ten games left. Our record is 27-22, 6-10 in the Big Ten. We still could get over 30 wins this season and register 10 Big Ten wins. That's a tall order with Purdue and Ohio State left to play, but it's possible. What an accomplishment that would be for this group, 30:10.

There are only five teams that have reached the 30 win mark in school history, and only two teams have ever finished the Big Ten season at or above .500 in Big Ten play. We're chasing history right now and have the chance to be one of the most successful softball teams to ever play for Wisconsin.

We have a lot of youth on the field with freshman and sophomores pitching and playing key positions. We split a tough series with Green Bay last night as our team balances end-of-year papers, tests and finals. Last night was one of our few times this year that we got beat by a team with a worse RPI than us. You never want to see that happen. To have a successful year you have to win all of the winnable games and steal a few key victories from teams that are ranked.

My wish for this group of young women is simple: play hungry every game, battle and refuse to lose. Yes we have a long season that spans four months and 56 games, but if you want to build a legacy, you can't take one pitch, one at-bat, one inning or one game for granted. You have to fight, scratch and claw to get every run, every out, and every win possible. If you have a chance to score runs in the first inning, you have to take it!

You must refuse to lose any battle. These games, these at-bats and these seasons are precious. Every one of these opportunities is a chance to see how we match up, and it's a chance to win. I hope every member of this team remembers nights like last night to motivate them at the end of this season and all summer long as they train for next year. Ninety percent of our lives are spent working, preparing and training for our challenges. When we get those few golden opportunities to compete and win and accomplish something special, we have to embrace it.

The softball program here at Wisconsin has made some huge strides this season, winning 27 games and earning the respect of top programs and coaches. We still have a huge leap to make in terms of ownership, leadership, accountability and pride. We've worked hard all year to start to build something special, to make a little history and earn a few small accomplishments. Now I want this group to battle ferociously to protect what we've worked for and to really accomplish something noteworthy down the stretch to make this season memorable.

30:10 would be an amazing thing. With four games to go, we could still reach that 30-win plateau. It's going to take each and every member of the Badger softball team to finish 2011 with 30:10. We'll need some amazing pitching, superb defense, timely offense and key hits to pull it off. We'll need to dive, steal, squeeze and defense to make it happen.

Let's finish strong and make history, together.

2011 NFL Draft notes

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With the 2011 NFL Draft in the books, let's take a look at some of the more impressive notes for the Badgers:

• With J.J. Watt going No. 11 to Houston and Gabe Carimi at No. 29 to Chicago, UW was one of just five schools in the country to have multiple first-round picks (Alabama, Auburn, Colorado, Missouri, Wisconsin).

• It was the fourth time in school history and first time since 2001 UW has had multiple first-round selections.

• Wisconsin and Alabama were the only two schools in the country with at least three players drafted among the top 50 (Watt, Carimi and Lance Kendricks).

• Wisconsin's four players taken in the top 75 tied Alabama and North Carolina for the most of any school in the country (Watt, Carimi, Kendricks and John Moffitt).

• The Badgers had four players taken among the top 75 picks for just the second time in school history, matching the 1985 draft.

• UW had four players taken in the first three rounds for the first time since 2001.
Wisconsin's five total draft picks were the most since 2006 (Watt, Carimi, Kendricks, Moffitt and Bill Nagy).

• Wisconsin and Florida were the only two schools in the country with multiple offensive linemen selected (both had three).

• It was just the fourth time in school history and the first time since 1988 UW has had at least three offensive linemen drafted in the same year.

• Wisconsin has had 10 first-round picks in the 2000s, tied for second-most in the Big Ten.

Peace recognized by Big Ten Network's Diamond Report

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For the second time this season, a member of the Wisconsin softball team has been highlighted by the Big Ten Network's Diamond Report for having one of the top performances of the previous week.

On April 11, Meghan McIntosh was recognized for her 13-strikeout, shutout performance against North Dakota in game two of a doubleheader.

Now, Stephanie Peace is being recognized for a great play she made in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Michigan. With the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning, Peace dove to her right and made a great diving stab of Caitlin Blanchard's line drive to save at least one run.

Peace's catch went down as the No. 3 play of the week, as can be seen below.

Lucas at Large: Providing a spark

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Mary Massei's perseverance has manifested itself in many ways for the Wisconsin softball team which has rallied around her presence as a "spark-plug" and a "catalyst" at the top of the order.

For starters, the spunky freshman is back in the lineup after missing 14 games; the result of an outfield collision with a teammate that left Massei with a black-eye and three facial fractures.

Since returning, Massei has nine hits in 22 at-bats, including going 5-for-7 in a two-game series against Illinois. Most recently, her three-run homer sealed the Badgers doubleheader sweep at Iowa.

"When she was gone, we definitely missed her presence," said UW coach Yvette Healy.  "Other people stepped up and we still had some quality wins. But she brings another elite bat to the lineup.

"And that makes every other hitter stronger. Mary is a little spark-plug. Somebody has to be the catalyst and embrace doing that and she's that type of kid. People want to cheer for her."

That's due in large part to Massei overcoming thyroid cancer to play for the Badgers. After learning she was cancer free in December, she enrolled at the UW in January.

Given her resiliency, it should be pretty easy for Massei to shake off Saturday's loss to Michigan.